The impact of walnuts on your brain and health
Updated: Apr 27
Don't you find it extremely fascinating that Walnuts resemble the shape of the human brain? You should also know that walnuts are considered one of the best foods towards the health of the brain!
According to a recent randomized clinical trial, the WAHA study (The Walnuts and Healthy Aging), there are some rather promising results with respects to cognitive decline and walnut consumption. This study assessed a 2 year cognitive progress of individuals who consumed 60 grams of walnuts per day, as well as a control group who did not,
Most people are under the impression that the consumption of walnuts on a daily basis, will promote weight gain, due to the high amounts of fat present in the food.
Walnuts are one of the most fascinating foods you can find. From the skin of the walnut, to the consumption of the nut itself, walnuts have one of the most amazing nutritional benefits out of any nuts. Here are some of the beneficiary compounds/nutrients walnuts contain:
Phenols are compounds that have been found to have cancer preventing properties, as well as a strong anti-oxidant content, known for their free-radicle fighting powers. Free radicles are formed due to the natural process of aging, stress, pollution, radiation, as well as an exposure to a diet high in trans and saturated fats, like processed meats, some processed foods, some peanut/almond butters, sweets like doughnuts, muffins and pies.
The phenols are found in the skin of walnuts. Soaking them will actually remove this layer, however I believe that soaking is an individual choice. I enjoy soaking my nuts in water (at the end of the post, I will let you know how long you need to soak each nut for), but if you like to consume the skin, there is not a whole lot of problems with that.
Speaking of soaking, WHY SOAK?
1. The skin of the walnuts (or most nuts) contain enzyme inhibitors. This is a natural tactic for the nut itself to protect itself. Soaking the nuts will neutralize these enzyme inhibitors. *Enzyme inhibitors may be problematic for people who have chronic digestive issues. *
2. Another good reason to soak nuts is to remove physic acids. Think of physic acid as a wall that blocks the absorption of some of the most essential minerals such as Zinc, Iron, Calcium, Copper and Magnesium, by attaching to them in the digestive tract, and blocking their absorption. This is why diets high in unfermented / un-soaked grains and nuts leads to mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
3. Better taste? This is such a personal choice. I love how refreshing nuts taste after soaking! I feel like I can chew them better, and scientifically speaking, soaking nuts will enable us to digest/consume them easier.
2. Vitamin E:
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that plays the role of an antioxidant in the body. Vitamin E helps to slow down aging, balance/lower high cholesterol levels, fight free radicles, repair damaged skin, thicken hair, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Walnuts are loaded in Vitamin E, which means consuming walnuts may help towards a lower more ideal (bad) cholesterol levels, heart disease, and aging.
3. Omega 3 fatty acids:
Walnuts are an excellent source of Omega 3 FA, which acts as an anti-inflammatory substance. These Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA's) are known for their heart healthy benefits. Walnuts are not the only MUFA's either. You can also try an unrefined cold pressed walnut oil to drizzle over your salads and dishes.
MUFA's decrease the risk of breast cancer, aid in weight loss, lower bad cholesterol levels, lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, and help reduce abdominal adiposity.
Walnuts are loaded with Omega 3's, and in addition to the above benefits, Omega 3's have unbelievable brain boosting properties.
In a randomized control trial, consumption of walnuts showed to have a lower rate of cognitive decline. Read the study here.
In another study called the WAHA study, showed that a regular walnut consumption delayed the onset of age-related cognitive impairment. Read the study here.
4. Heart Healthy:
Walnuts have cardiovascular and circulatory benefits. This is something that has been a great interest in research for years.
> Walnuts decrease LDL-C and Total-C (bad cholesterol)
> Improve endothelial cell function (improve barrier functionality within the cells)
> Decrease maximum platelets aggregation rate (lowers the platelets clumping together, which could form a thrombus AKA blood cloth)
> Decrease platelette activation
> Decrease C-reactive proteins (these are markers for inflammation. A high CRP =
inflammation. Walnuts help lower inflammation basically!)
> Decrease inflammation by lowering inflammatory substances such as TNF-a
Best time to eat nuts: Anytime or in the morning with your oatmeal
Soaking Walnuts and other nuts in water:
Walnuts> Soak for 8 hours
Almonds > Soak for 12 hours
Pecans > Soak for 8 hours
Cashews > Soak for 6 hours
Hazelnuts > Soak for 8 hours
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