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Nutritional Benefits of Walnuts That'll Make You Value Them More

Walnuts Nutritional Value
The nutritional value of walnuts lies mainly in the essential omega-3 fatty acids they possess. A short account of the nutrients present in this nut is given below.
Shashank Nakate
Last Updated: Apr 2, 2018
Quick Fact!
As per the research conducted by Joe Vinson, a chemistry professor from the University of Scranton, walnuts are far more nutritious than peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios, etc. The antioxidants present in walnuts are almost double that of above-mentioned nuts.

Walnut is known for its rich content of copper and manganese. Apart from these two nutrients, the nut offers many other benefits. Walnut is basically an ornamental plant species which belongs to the Juglandaceae family. There are 24 species of walnuts grouped under the genus, Juglans. The name, Juglans has originated from the Latin words, Jupiter glans. The term, 'Jupiter glans' can be translated as 'Jupiter's acorn' in English; it stands for the nut which is fit for God.

The nutritional value of walnuts exceeds that of many other nuts. Walnuts are loaded with antioxidants called polyphenols which stabilize the free radicals and thereby, reduce the damage caused by them.

Nutritional Value of Walnuts
Walnut is considered an important food source owing to the high content of omega-3 fatty acids. The fact that our body cannot manufacture such fatty acids makes the walnut an indispensable source for such nutrients. The daily requirement of omega-3 fatty acids can be fulfilled up to 90.8% with the intake of ¼ cup walnuts. These nuts are also rich in mono saturated fats. The fats present in walnuts are vegetable-based and their percentage is 60%. The carbohydrate content of walnuts is 10%.

Vitamins and Proteins
Walnuts contain essential proteins and vitamins needed for the development of our body. This nut is also rich in vitamin B and E; a high content of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is found in walnuts. Folate and beta-carotene are also present in high quantities. Walnut is also a rich source of proteins; it is known to contain high amount of proteins in comparison to eggs. The total protein content of walnuts is 24%. The different types of amino acids present in walnuts include the tryptophan, arginine, glutamate, aspartate, leucine, isoleucine, glycine, etc. Tryptophan is one of the building blocks in the process of protein biosynthesis. The percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids like alpha-linoleic acid in walnuts is higher in comparison to that of monounsaturated fatty acids. Alpha-linoleic acid plays an important role in building the membranes of brain cells; it also prevents the clotting of blood.

The manganese present in walnuts acts as a cofactor in the functioning of beneficial enzymes in our body. The major benefits offered by manganese are as follows: formation of bones, calcium absorption, formation of connective tissue, smooth functioning of thyroid glands, regulation of blood sugar, sex hormone function, etc.
Iron and Copper work together in the formation of red blood cells. Copper also helps in maintaining the health of blood vessels, immune system and nerves.
The minerals other than copper and manganese that are present in walnuts in high quantities include potassium, phosphorus and calcium. The iron content of walnuts helps in maintaining blood levels up to the mark.

The phytonutrients are considered as health boosters which protect the body from various diseases and health problems including heart diseases, cancers, etc. Walnuts contain an especially rare phytonutrient called quinone juglone; it helps in specifically destroying cancerous and pre-cancerous cells which can be harmful to the body.

In terms of phytonutrients, the walnuts contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, including more than a dozen phenolic acids, numerous tannins (especially ellagitannins, including tellimagrandins), and a wide variety of flavonoids. Tellimagrandin (basically a tannin), which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory by nature helps reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. The vitamin E composition of walnuts also deserves special mention because there is an unusual concentration of the gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E in this tree nut.

Major Nutritional Benefits of Walnuts
The ellagic acid present in walnuts is known for its antioxidant compounds. It proves to be of great help in supporting the immune system. This acid also possesses anti-cancer properties.
Monounsaturated fats present in walnuts are important from the point of keeping cardiovascular diseases at bay. The instances of heart attacks are also greatly reduced due to mono saturated fats.
The unsaturated fats present in walnuts contain low amounts of cholesterol; it prevents the clogging of arteries which may further prevent heart problems.

Black Walnuts Nutrition
The black walnut, commonly known as American walnut has the botanical name, Juglans nigra. These nuts provide balanced nutrition and also supply the body with enough energy & proteins. For those who work out regularly, black walnuts are an excellent source of energy. A single serving of 100 g black walnuts offer 618 k cal. of energy. These walnuts contain 24 g proteins per 100 g of weight. Vegetarians can use this as a means for cell growth and cell repair for the purpose of bodybuilding. The calcium present in black walnuts is useful for maintaining the health of teeth and bones. Every 100 g of walnuts contain 3 mg of iron; it helps in the transportation of oxygen.

Along with almonds, walnuts are considered as the best nuts in terms of nutrition. Information about the nutritional value of walnuts incorporates details pertaining to different components such as omega-3 essential fatty acids, proteins, minerals and carbohydrates. Including walnuts in the daily diet is therefore, good for health.