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10 Surprising Benefits of Walnuts You May Not Know About

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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.

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    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 January 27, 2022

    5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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    5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

    Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

    “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

    Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

    Food is a universal necessity.

    It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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    Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

    Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

    Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

    Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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    The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

    Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

    This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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    Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

    Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

    Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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    So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

    Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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