Why walnuts are a great go-to choice

Chopped walnuts

In addition to their versatility, walnuts are healthy food. They are full of beneficial vitamins and minerals that promote overall health. Below are some of the benefits of these delicious nuts:

Walnuts are High in Protein

Protein is one of three macronutrients your body needs to thrive (carbohydrates and fats are the other two). Incorporating protein into your diet not only helps your body rebuild its tissues, but it also triggers feelings of satiety. This means that you will not be reaching for an unhealthy snack just an hour after your meal.

Walnuts are an excellent source of protein, containing 4 grams of protein per ounce (Self Nutrition Data, n.d.). Although walnuts are not a complete protein, they contain many of the essential amino acids your body requires. The protein in walnuts is broken down into these component amino acids, which are then used to support physiological processes such as muscle repair.

Walnuts are a Vegan Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have gained considerable attention in the past few decades for their role in cardiovascular functioning. Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids lowers your risk of heart disease, arthritis, and certain types of cancer (Erlich, 2015). Additionally, Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with an anti-inflammatory response in the body. Given their high concentration in the brain, they may also support cognitive health and protect against dementia.

Your body cannot synthesize omega-3 fatty acids on its own, meaning that you must get these healthy fats through your diet. Some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish, which makes it challenging for vegetarians or vegans to get enough. Walnuts are an excellent vegan source of omega-3 fatty acids. In particular, they are full of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which can be converted into two other beneficial forms of omega-3s, DHA and EPA.

Walnuts Contain High Amounts of Fiber

Dietary fiber helps your body maintain gastrointestinal regularity, promotes stable blood sugar, and maintains healthy cholesterol levels (Mayo Clinic, 2015). Walnuts are a great way to bump up your fiber intake. Just one ounce of walnuts contains 1.9 grams of fiber, putting you one step closer to reaching your daily goal.

Walnuts are High in Phosphorus

Phosphorus exists through the human body as a major structural element in bones and cellular membranes. Getting enough phosphorus promotes strong bones and teeth, particularly when consumed with a source of calcium. Walnuts contain 97 mg of phosphorus per serving (10% of the Daily Value (DV) for the mineral) as well as 27 mg of calcium, making them a smart snack selection for supporting bone health.

Bioavailable Vitamin B6

Sometimes, it is not just the amount of a vitamin or mineral you receive, but how well it can be used. Certain vitamins, such as vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) can be more difficult for your body to absorb in their typical forms. Many fruits, vegetables, and grains are high in vitamin B6, but it exists in a glycosylated form (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2015). This makes it difficult for your body to take up and use the vitamin, reducing its bioavailability.

Although walnuts do not contain as much vitamin B6 as some other foods, the form the vitamin takes is more readily absorbed by the body. Thus, walnuts are an excellent way to get enough of the vitamin B6 you need (WH Foods, 2014). Each ounce of walnuts contains 0.2 micrograms of vitamin B6, representing 8% of the DV for the nutrient. Getting enough of this vitamin is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, cognitive impairment, and other chronic health problems (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2015).

Courtesy: nuts.com

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