Health Benefits of Black Walnuts
|By Katie Webb, Staff Writer on Sunday, February 5, 2012|
|Many people grow up with black walnuts littering their backyard. Did you know these superfoods provide a number of health benefits?||
Walnuts are famous for being superfoods. Black walnuts, in particular, are packed with essential nutrients that provide a wide range of health benefits including enhanced cellular development, reduction of heart disease and prevention of cancer. Also known as Juglans nigra, this dark-colored nut originated from North America. Dating back to thousands of years ago, Native Americans as well as Romans considered it highly prized for its ability to treat intestinal problems and skin disorders. Here’s a close look at the nutritional content of black walnut and its benefits to health.
Black walnuts contain 0.16 mg of vitamin B6. That’s about eight percent of the recommended daily allowance. This vitamin is essential for the functioning of the red blood cells as well as the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Apart from vitamin B6, black walnuts also have vitamins E and K, folate, riboflavin and thiamine.
If the vitamin content is not that impressive for you, wait until you hear the amount of minerals black walnuts have. These are excellent sources of manganese, a mineral that’s also an antioxidant working to protect cells like the energy-producing mitochondria. This mineral plays a vital role in bone development, wound healing and proper metabolism. A serving of black walnuts supplies 1.1 mg, which is a staggering 54 percent of the recommended daily value. But that’s not all. Black walnuts also give you 143.6 mg of phosphorus, 56.3 mg of magnesium and 0.4 mg of copper. These minerals are critical for chemical reactions, energy production and nervous system function.
Although black walnuts do not contain all the amino acids to make them a complete protein, they’re a good source of the amino acid arginine. This specific amino acid enables the blood vessels to relax and as a result, it prevents hypertension, clogged arteries and heart diseases. Out of the 7 g of protein that walnuts have, 1 g of this is arginine.
The fats that come from most walnuts are actually healthy. Out of the 16.5 g of total fat content of black walnuts, only 0.9 g is saturated fat. The rest are essential fatty acids and unsaturated fats that can help fight the bad cholesterol and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Fatty acids, which are great for brain development and prevention of inflammation, can be found in great amounts in black walnuts. A serving has about .56 g of omega-3 (40 to 50 percent of recommended daily value) and 9.26 g of omega-6 (60 to 77 percent of recommended daily value).
As you probably know, antioxidants fight cellular damage brought about by free radicals. Free radicals are byproducts of metabolism that also cause premature aging and various health problems. Black walnuts contain numerous antioxidants like vitamin E, melatonin, manganese, selenium, ellagic acid and about 16 different polyphenols. All these help in the reduction of inflammation and prevention of cancer, heart problems and age-related diseases.
More Health Benefits
May help treat parasites and intestinal worms. Having a significant amount of natural tannins, black walnuts are capable of altering the pH of the intestine to make it more acidic, which helps kill off pesky parasites.
Can lower blood pressure. The presence of omega-3 fatty acids in black walnuts have been linked to the prevention of hypertension due to the fatty acids’ blood thinning capabilities. Omega-3 also inhibits the formation of plaque and prevents the hardening of the arteries.
Can help in diabetes management. With the omega-3 fatty acids keeping the level of bad cholesterol in check, black walnuts are effective in maintaining proper levels of sugar in the blood and in treating diabetes.
Can alleviate asthma. Since they are packed with omega-3 that reduces inflammation and promotes lung function, black walnuts can provide relief from asthma.
Obviously, black walnuts are essential for good health. It’s important to include them in your daily life either by consuming them in their natural form or taking in black walnut supplements.
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