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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 September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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