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Amazing Benefits Of Walnut (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Amazing Benefits Of Walnut (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Walnuts have been found in the diet of humans for more than 8000 years and walnut trees can live for hundreds of years. Some trees in France are thought to be more than 300 years old. They have an interesting history and the benefits of walnut are abundant. They are harvested and then dried. It’s important that they aren’t over dried or kept for too long as this decreases their quality.

They are very versatile and can be eaten alone, in salads and in a variety of other raw or cooked dishes. They can be enjoyed as they are, sweetened or seasoned. They can even be ground finely and used as a substitute for flour – this is called Walnut Meal.

There have been recent concerns about the fat content in walnuts as well as fear surrounding nut allergies, which can be serious problems, particularly for children. However, risks aside, the benefits of walnut are surprising and if there are no adverse risks, they can be enjoyed not only for pleasure, but for health and well being.

Here are some benefits of walnut, which may surprise you:

1. Walnuts make you look and feel great

Although walnuts do contain an abundance of calories, they don’t necessarily need to be avoided. In fact, coupled with a balanced diet of nutritious food, they can contribute to weight loss because their density can make you feel fuller quicker. This means they make a great snack, just a handful is enough. They are also rich in antioxidant vitamins and nutrients that can help with hair strength and shine; as well as clear and glowing skin. They contain Biotin or Vitamin B7, which helps maintain hair, nails and skin.

2. Walnuts can help you to relax

The hormone Melatonin is produced in the body by the pineal gland. It helps to regulate sleep and its production is affected by light. The amount of Melatonin we produce decreases as we age and that is why we experience sleep disturbances as we get older.

Walnuts are a good source of Melatonin and research has shown that consuming walnuts will increase the level of Melatonin in the body and causes an antioxidant effect in the blood. This means that eating walnuts as part of your balanced diet may help you to relax and sleep better. The benefit of walnut in this regard is that it may promote the general reduction of stress.

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3. Walnuts keep your heart, blood and brain healthy

Walnuts promote good heart health. As well as containing a high level of antioxidants to balance the negative impact of free radicals; walnuts are full of omega 3 fatty acids.

“(Omega 3 fatty acids) are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They also bind to receptors in cells that regulate genetic function. Likely due to these effects, omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions.” Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health

Because consuming walnuts reduces bad cholesterol, investigations have shown that this can improve the health of our veins and blood, reducing the risk of type 2 Diabetes. Studies show that including walnuts in a healthy diet assists blood vessels to dilate and prevents clots and blockages that can cause heart attack and stroke among other diseases. A clinical trial published in the American Diabetes Association website concluded that:

“A walnut-enriched ad libitum diet improves endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in type 2 diabetic individuals, suggesting a potential reduction in overall cardiac risk.” David L. Katz et al.

Similarly, research on mice has shown that eating walnuts can prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. Mice that were denied walnuts showed reductions in learning, memory and cognitive function. Mice that were fed a diet including walnuts showed evidence of the opposite.

In this instance, the antioxidants present in the walnuts reduced inflammation and degeneration of the brain. There was a counteracting effect on certain proteins that create plaques on the vessels in the brain, which can cause them to constrict and contributes to the onset of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

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4. Walnuts can reduce the risk of cancer

Studies have shown that the benefit of walnut includes reducing the risk of both pancreatic and breast cancer. Once again, the antioxidants, vitamins and fatty acids in walnuts have a preventative effect on the degeneration of cells in the body that may become cancerous.

5. Walnuts help us at conception through to old age

Eating walnuts during pregnancy can provide the mother with the desirable fatty acids that lower cholesterol. Research cited by Wiley Blackwell, also shows that the fatty acids in walnut may help reduce the risk of the baby developing allergies by enhancing the formation of the gut and improving the way it responds to bacteria and foreign substances.

It makes the gut more porous and allows new substances to pass through it and into the blood stream more easily. This triggers the production of antibodies through the baby’s immune response. Another benefit of walnut is that it can improve sperm quality in healthy men aged between 21 – 35.

Given all the amazing properties of walnuts, initially at conception and to keep us healthy throughout our lives, it is safe to say that it is a food that should be included in a healthy and balanced diet. With its ability to reduce the risk of so many illnesses, some of them fatal, it’s safe to say that walnut contributes to longevity and a high life expectancy.

Here are some excellent recipes to try.

Maple Walnut Pecan Pie

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    California Cherry and Walnut Salad

    shutterstock_70784197

      Walnut Crusted Chicken Breasts

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        Raw Walnut Pate

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        walnut pate

          Photo credit: therawtarian.com

          Maple Candied Walnuts

          candied walnuts

            Photo credit: walnuts.org

            Featured photo credit: Zheltyshev via shutterstock.com

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            Diane Koopman

            Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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            Last Updated on September 10, 2019

            7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

            7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

            Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

            Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

            This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

            One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

            Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

            Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

            1. Gratitude

            Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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            The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

            Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

            So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

            Gratitude-Quotes

              2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

              This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

              For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

              What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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              Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

              3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

              This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

              Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

              An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

              Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

              write down goals

                4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

                According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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                There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

                5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

                Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

                Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

                6. Rise Earlier

                The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

                For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

                So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

                Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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                7. Listen to Uplifting Music

                Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

                Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

                It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

                Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

                More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

                Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
                [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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