Babble Health

Health and Fertility benefits of Walnuts plus recipes

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)

Walnuts are synonymous with the festive period- but with all their fantastic nutritional properties why not include them in your diet all year round?

Nuts are a key component of a Mediterranean Diet which has been shown to be one of the best diet types for supporting fertility. Furthermore, nuts are rich in good fats, plant proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which have been found to be beneficial for fertility.

Did you know that walnuts are the only nut that contain omega 3?

In fact, unlike most other nuts they are much richer in polyunsaturated fats than monounsaturated fats and this is where the omega 3 comes from in the form of Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA). Just one 30g portion of walnuts a day provides more than one day’s recommended intake. For those who don’t eat fish or fish oils – walnuts, flaxseed and soya are important sources.

Why are omega 3 fatty acids important to fertility?

*They help to regulate hormones.

*They may help to improve sperm quality.

*They are important for foetal brain development and lowering    unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels.

*Help regulate the inflammatory response – important in conditions such as PCOS and Endometriosis.

*Increase blood flow to the uterus.

*In a study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles – walnuts were found to be important in the formation of sperm membranes and sperm maturation.

What do walnuts contain nutritionally?

*They are a fantastic source of antioxidants – Antioxidants are great for fertility as they fight off toxins called free radicals which can damage our eggs and sperm membranes and DNA, so the more antioxidants that we can get from our diet, the better.

*They are an excellent source of protein – weight for weight walnuts contain as much protein as an egg.

*Great source of B vitamins and vitamin E

*Walnuts contain magnesium, which helps in the production of progesterone and increasing the blood supply to the uterus.

*They are also high in potassium which is important in regulating blood pressure.

*Walnuts contain a good amount of zinc – important in the production of many enzymes in the body as well as being important for sperm quality

*A good amount of iron which is important in the production of haemoglobin in the blood – this carries oxygen around the body and helps to provides a good blood supply to the uterus

*Walnuts are one of the few foods that contain serotonin – this is important in helping to lift mood and depression

Ways to incorporate more walnuts into your diet

*Sprinkle on porridge or enjoy with Greek yoghurt, berries and honey

*Grind in a food processor to make a walnut butter or pesto

*Great sprinkled on top of roasted veggies

*Tasty in a fertility salad with beetroot and sweet potatoes

*Make into dips/sauces

*Add to smoothies

Healthy Walnut pesto

Take a large handful of fresh basil, 4 oz of sun- dried tomatoes, 1 clove of garlic, 6oz of pre-soaked walnuts (for around 3 hours) and a good drizzle of olive oil. Blend the ingredients together in a food processor or using a hand- held blender and enjoy!

Fresh Fig, Walnut and Feta salad

*1 block of feta, cubed

*bag of salad leaves/watercress

*1 handful of fresh mint leaves

*100 g rocket leaves

*8 fresh figs, halved

*8 walnuts halved

*1 pomegranate, seeds and juice removed

*1 tbsp red wine vinegar

*2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Place salad leaves of your choice in a bowl with some rocket/water cress and sprinkle over the top the feta cheese, walnuts, mint, figs, pomegranate seeds , drizzle with vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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