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Diet October 2018

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Walnuts are one among the several kinds of tree nuts available. Commonly known as “Akhrot” in Hindi, their major growing areas in the country are Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. English walnut is the most commonly available and most delicious amongst all the ones available. There’s a strange irony here - the walnut known as “English Walnut” is said to be originated in India and was known as the Persian walnut. 

Majority of the studies suggest that a daily intake of about 7 – 8 pieces of whole walnuts have significant health benefits. A food with low GI, they are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids, copper and biotin among several other nutrients. They have a huge positive impact on cardiovascular health, metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity, reduction of inflammation, helping in weight management etc. Perhaps since it looks like the brain, traditionally it has been attributed to having immense benefits as a brain food.

I’ll list below some of the important health benefits of walnuts.

1. Heart healthy: Walnuts are full of nutrients like Vitamin E and polyphenols, beneficial to the optimum functioning of the heart. These nutrients help in reducing the blood pressure with daily consumption of walnuts. The omega 3 fatty acids present in walnuts help with the lowering of bad cholesterol called LDL. Studies suggest that diets high in walnuts improved lipid profiles and may also reduce the toxin load and inflammation in the system.  

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2. Diabetic friendly: Walnuts have a low GI, meaning that they are diabetic friendly nuts. Studies show that even a relatively small amount of daily intake of walnuts helps in decreasing fasting blood sugar levels. People suffering from Type 2 diabetes have very often heart related issues and since walnuts do have a positive impact on heart health, they are more so beneficial to diabetics.

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3. Weight management: Even though walnuts are dense in calories, they can be planned in to a well-balanced diet. Not only do they help in controlling the appetite, studies also show that not all the calories from it may be absorbed by the body. Some researches also suggest that substituting unhealthy foods with a small quantity of nuts helps in reducing body fat percentage. Walnuts also helps in improving the body’s metabolism.

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4. Counters early aging: Walnuts are a powerhouse of antioxidants and fall into the category of richest antioxidant foods. Free radicals present in the body speed up the age related deterioration of the body. Anti-oxidants fight these free radicals or the toxins present in the body. Walnuts have several unique antioxidants present which also help in maintaining skin and hair health. Large studies have shown that including walnuts in the diet regularly, lowers the risk of physical deterioration.

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Apart from the health benefits mentioned above, walnuts play a vital role in several other ways. The polyphenols present in them help fight inflammation in the body thereby reducing the chances of Alzheimer’s disease as well as several kinds of cancer. Many studies have shown strong, positive benefits in cases of cancer. Since there is a significant amount of fiber present, they also help in relieving constipation.  The good bacteria present in our gut works with polyphenols in the walnuts to reduce inflammation. Regular intake of walnut also promotes good gut health. Studies have shown that eating walnuts regularly has a positive impact on sperm health and motility. They are also of immense help in people suffering from sleep deprivation.

So, starting adding this delicious nut to your meals for that extra crunch, flavor and of course, nourishment!

Reader’s Questions:

Q: Hello ma’am, I read your articles regularly. Thank you for providing such informative reading.  It has helped my awareness a lot. I wanted to know if papaya can be had during pregnancy? Thank you. 

                                                                                                                                                                                            - Mr. Ram Jha.

A: Hello Mr. Jha, thank you for the kind words. I’m glad that you enjoy reading my articles.

Its’ advisable to avoid unripe papaya during pregnancy. Research shows that ripe papaya does not pose any risk in pregnancy. 

We at My Powai are now taking our reader’s queries related to Diet & Nutrition, which Ms. Nisha Singh will reply to in our forthcoming issues. 

You can send your questions at: dietnutrition.queries@gmail.com

(The writer is a gold medalist in Food & Nutrition with more than 12 years experience. She manages various ailments through lifestyle and dietary modifications and specializes in weight loss & management. She practices at   102, Crystal Center, Raheja Vihar, Powai or Smile Craft, 23, Annapurna Industrial estate, Opp. CCD, Ghatkopar East. For appointments: 022 2857 6537 Email: singhnisha@gmail.com)