The ancient Romans believed that Gods feasted on walnuts and the Latin term for walnut, ‘Juglan regia’ literally translates into ‘royal nuts of the Jupiter.’ Perhaps, the Romans were the first people to figure out the potential of this super nut. Besides, walnuts also happen to be a favorite snack of many, and there’s nothing like a handful of crunchy walnuts when you are craving for a quick snack. Nuts have always had a bad reputation for being high-fat and high-calorie food. But the amazing benefit that comes with the nuts like walnuts makes it one of the best snacks you can opt for at any hour of the day.
Walnuts in improving your overall bone health
The good thing in eating these nuts is that these are full of healthy fats, fiber, and proteins that fill you up. Naturally, the nuts are a much healthy alternative to junk food like chips, cold drinks, and similar carbohydrate foods. Delving a bit more into the scientific facts, walnuts are nothing short of a nutritional powerhouse. Just a quarter cup of the walnuts can give you more than two grams of omega-3 fats, which makes up about 95% of the recommended amount daily. In comparison, four ounces of a fish like Salmon, which is held as one of the best sources of Omega-3, can only give you 85% and that is just a brief glimpse into the walnut health benefits.
In the past couple of years, a lot of research has proven the benefits of EFAs (essential fatty acids) beyond doubt. The EFAs are not just known for their anti-inflammatory effects, but it has also shown great results in improving cardiovascular health, skin and hair condition, cognitive functions, thyroid, and adrenal activity, blood pressure, and also blood clotting.
To be more specific, among the EFAs, Omega-3 fatty acids have certain qualities that apply specifically to bone health. The top four benefits from Omega-3 fatty acids are:
- Increase in calcium absorption
- Reduction in urinary excretion
- The rise in calcium deposition in the bones
- Improvement of bone strength by enhanced collagen synthesis
Walnuts have also shown inhibition of osteoclast and increase in osteoblast activities. Osteoblasts are the cells for reabsorbing bones while osteoclasts are the cells that help with the formation of bones.
The mineral storehouse called walnuts
Walnuts are an exceptional source of the foundation minerals like manganese, copper, and boron. These are trace minerals that you need in just minute amounts, but you can face serious health problems if you lack these.
Boron is helpful in the metabolism of bones and increase in Vitamin D because the level of calcium and magnesium in urine excretion grows. Copper is an active part of the enzyme that helps in the production of connective tissue proteins like elastin and collagen. Elastin and collagen help in the maintenance and development of skin, blood vessels, bones, and joints. It is specifically associated with an increase in bone mineral density and a lowered risk of osteoporosis. Without having the sufficient levels of copper, the body will not be able to replace the collagen or connective tissue that makes the bone’s building blocks. Thus, severe joint dysfunctions are common in people lacking the proper levels of copper in the body.
Manganese synthesizes the connective tissues of bones and cartilage by enabling then absorption of calcium into the bones. When combined with minerals like copper and calcium, manganese also helps in the prevention of osteoporosis. You can always get all of these minerals from health supplements but the supplements at most times have excessive quantities of the minerals in them. So, getting the minerals naturally through diet is one of the best ways to contribute to bone health.
The right consumption of the walnuts
With all the incredible qualities associated with walnuts, it is naturally tempting to eat handfuls of it at any time of the day. As amazing as it sounds, you only need four walnuts in the day to increase the levels of omega-3 in your blood. The good thing is that there are multiple ways for you to enjoy walnuts.
You can chop up a few walnuts to spread it over the salads or morning cereals. Toasting walnuts bring out a nice flavor to the nuts. But make sure you toast the nuts at 160-170 degrees for not more than fifteen minutes as any temperature higher than that is going to destroy the omega-3 fatty acid. Toast the nuts before chopping to preserve the nutrients further. You can also add ground walnuts to pancake, cake or muffin mixes or to your pasta sauce for getting an added texture.
Walnuts also make for a fantastic dip, and you just need to puree the nuts in the food processor with black beans or lentils. Add the spices and herbs of your choice while it is processing and just add a little bit of flax or olive oil to get the desired consistency.
It is also important to store the nuts right and if you are planning to refrigerate it, make sure that the temperature does not go above 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below zero degrees Fahrenheit. If you are planning to store the nuts at room temperature, freeze the walnuts first at zero degrees Fahrenheit or less than that in order to kill pests. Walnuts stay fresh for more than a year if you store it right.