July 9, 2010

Food Friday: Walnuts and the link between good sleep!!!!

So when I was doing my undergraduate degree, my professor Andy Anderson, would always tell us "women" to eat a handful of walnuts a day and it would cure our "womanly problems," he would always tell us that if we did anything better for our health, eating walnuts would be the very best.

So, I decided to figure out why...

Walnuts contain a good amount of MELATONIN, a hormone that protects cells from oxidative damage and AIDS IN NORMAL SLEEP PATTERNS.

Walnuts have have the highest level of omega-3 fats compared to any other nut.   A one-ounce serving contains 2.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acid, providing TWO-HUNDRED PERCENT of the recommended daily value.  Omega-3 acids are also excellent for raising HDL cholesterol.  Now a discussion regarding HDL/LDL/triglyceride cholesterol is a whole other post, but to make a long story short.  When trying to reduce cholesterol in MEN, reducing LDL cholesterol is the best way to avoid a heart attack and sclerosis of the arteries.  But, in WOMEN, RAISING HDL CHOLESTEROL IS THE BEST WAY TO AVOID SCARRING OF YOUR ARTERIES AND A HEART ATTACK.

Walnuts are also a good source of B vitamins (which are associated with high energy levels), especially thiamine b6, folic acid, and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium and copper.  They are also an great source of gamma-tocopherol, a type of vitamin E which is helpful in fighting BREAST, prostate, and colon cancer.  They are also rich in antioxidants and anticarcinogenic properties.

Petrified walnut shells had been found in Southwestern France dating back more than eight thousand years.  There are even inscriptions found on clay tablets speaking of walnut groves in Mesopotamia as far back as 2000 BC. Many ancient cultures considered walnuts "brain food" because they looked like "little brains." In Asia students would munch on walnuts to improve their recall, and they believed that walnuts could help fight amnesia, treat pain and aide in digestion.

Some other benefits of consuming walnuts:
  1. WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: they have been found to reduce overeating. Though they are high in fat (like ALL nuts) they have not been found to cause weight gain.
  2. SLEEP: walnuts contain MELATONIN which is a powerful antioxidant, which is essential for sleep.  Researchers found that adding walnuts to the diet increased blood levels of melatonin 3-fold.
  3. DIABETES: walnuts may improve insulin resistance in those with type 2 diabetes.

P.S. remember that although nuts are REALLY good for you, they are HIGH in calories.  So do not overeat them.


Brooklynne and Steve said...

Totally remember Andy Anderson!!! ha ha....great post Kim! I love all these fun facts!

Brooklynne and Steve said...

Totally remember Andy Anderson!! Love these fun facts you bring up in your posts!

Renae said...

Wonderful knowledge..thank you!


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