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10 Surprising Benefits of Walnuts You May Not Know About

10 Surprising Benefits of Walnuts You May Not Know About

Walnuts used to be viewed as unhealthy due to their high fat and calorie content, but in recent history we have found this assumption to be completely false. Packed with healthy essential fats, antioxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, protein and fiber, walnuts are a veritable super food. These tree nuts have negligible sodium, are cholesterol free and are unique in the fact that they contain polyunsaturated fats instead of monounsaturated fats (basically the type of fat is healthier than in other nuts).

The health benefits of walnuts that result from their impressive content resume are many. Let’s discuss a handful of the benefits of walnuts you might not already know.

1. Improve your memory.

Walnuts contain the essential fatty acids omega-3 and 6. These may help improve memory and cognitive function.

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2. Prevent depression.

Having an overall healthy diet can help with depression, but studies have shown having low systemic levels of omega-3 can be especially harmful. This makes sense since omega fatty acids are good for the brain! Walnuts have plenty of omega-3 to help in the prevention of depression.

3. Improve sperm quality.

Trying to get pregnant? Make sure your guy is taking a handful of walnuts each day as one of the benefits of walnuts is improved sperm vitality and motility. It also might help prevent sperm morphology, or abnormal sperm growth.

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walnuts benefits

    4. Grow healthy, strong hair and nails.

    Walnuts are a great source of biotin, or vitamin B7, which is thought to help hair and nails grow stronger and longer, as well as prevent hair loss. Vitamin E can also help give your hair and nails a healthy shine.

    5. Help prevent prostate and breast cancer.

    Walnuts have the highest amount of antioxidants in the nut family. Due to this boost of antioxidants, walnuts have been proven to help slow the growth of both prostate and breast cancers.

    6. Improve motor function.

    Those handy omega-3 fatty acids do wonders for the brain, including improving motor function when taken in a moderate amount.

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    7. Great for the skin.

    Consuming walnuts helps the skin look younger and healthier due to the powerful antioxidant, vitamin E. You can also use walnut oil topically for protection against dry skin. Who doesn’t want younger, healthier and more supple-looking skin?

    8. Help prevent heart disease.

    Studies in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and Israel all concluded that two to three servings of walnuts a day decreased cholesterol levels enough to lower the risk of coronary heart disease. If you have heart disease in your family, you might want to consider stocking up on this healthy nut!

    9. Aid in weight management.

    It is that time of year when many decide they have indulged too much over the holidays and need to drop some pounds. In addition to all of the other health benefits of walnuts, this nut can be a great tool in weight management. Walnuts contain loads of fiber, protein and fat that all help you feel fuller longer.

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    These nuts are certainly a better option than most low calorie snacks or vending machine items. There is no risk of a sugar spike or crash with walnuts! Take a few portioned bags of walnuts with you to work to eat as a snack when you are feeling tempted to head to the vending machine for a candy bar. Your body will thank you later!

    10. Give yourself an energy boost.

    One of the immediate benefits of walnuts is that they contain a lot of B vitamins, which can boost your energy. This definitely goes along with the weight management factor. When you are energized, you are more likely to get moving! Try walnuts on yogurt as an afternoon pick-me-up or a preworkout snack.

    Word of caution:

    Too much of a good thing can be bad; consuming too many walnuts is thought to cause kidney stones due to their oxalate content. About 1.5 ounces a day seems to be the best amount.

    See also: 10 Foods You Need to Include in Your Diet This Year

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    Amanda DeWitt

    Writer. Photographer. Instagrammer. Future Educator.

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    Last Updated on May 22, 2019

    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

    There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

    One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

    In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

    Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

    1. Cat Camel Stretch

    Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

    Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

    Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

    Here’s a video to guide you through:

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    2. Go for a Walk or a Run

    This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

    Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

    The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

    Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

    Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

    3. Jumping Jacks

    Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

    Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

    4. Abductor Side Lifts

    Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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    Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

    5. Balancing Table Pose

    This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

    Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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      6. Leg Squats

      Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

      Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

      The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

      7. Push Ups

      You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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      An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

      Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

      This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

      8. Bicycle Crunches

      There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

      Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

      9. Lunges

      Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

      Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

      This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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      10. Bicep Curls

      You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

      Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

      Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

      Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

      Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

      These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

      You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

      Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

      More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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