12 Proven Health Benefits of Walnuts

Walnuts are an excellent source of critical nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. They are simple to include in your diet and contain healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. For the past 50 years, scientists and industry executives have gathered at the University of California, Davis, to discuss the most recent walnut health research. 

They are not only delicious, but they also have many health advantages. Incorporating walnuts into your daily diet can supply various nutrients while contributing to overall health.

Walnuts provide several health benefits, including improved heart health, increased brain function, and lower inflammation in the body. Furthermore, they are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help protect against chronic diseases and promote healthy aging. 

This blog post will look at the multiple advantages of eating walnuts daily. By integrating this tasty and nutritious nut into your diet, you can reap the benefits of increased heart health, improved cognitive function, lower inflammation, and protection against chronic diseases. Learn how incorporating nuts into your diet can improve overall health and lead a healthier lifestyle. 

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Here are 13 Health benefits of walnuts.

1. Rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants contained in walnuts include vitamin E, melatonin, and polyphenols found in their papery skin. A 2022 study discovered that eating walnuts can lower LDL cholesterol in healthy people over 60. This is significant because LDL cholesterol can accumulate in the arteries and cause atherosclerosis. Walnuts are a good source of antioxidants. (1,1)

2. A super plant source of omega-3s

Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), necessary for a balanced diet. The Institute of Medicine advises a daily consumption of 1.6 g for men and 1.1 g for women. A single serving of walnuts satisfies this recommendation. According to research, increasing ALA levels in the diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease and arrhythmia.(2,2,2)

3. Support weight management.

According to a 2016 study, walnuts are calorie-dense, yet the body absorbs 21% less energy than expected based on their contents. In a well-controlled study of ten obese people, drinking a smoothie with 1.75 ounces of walnuts once per day for five days reduced appetite and hunger compared to a placebo drink. Brain scans revealed greater activation in a brain area that aids in resisting tempting food cues. Although larger and longer-term trials are required, this study provides preliminary evidence that walnuts may help manage hunger and weight.

4. May decrease inflammation

Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer are just a few of the disorders that inflammation brought on by oxidative stress is associated with. Walnuts contain polyphenols, particularly ellagitannins, which gut bacteria can turn into urolithins, which help to reduce inflammation. Other plant components and nutrients in walnuts, such as ALA, omega-3 fats, magnesium, and arginine, may also help reduce inflammation, significantly contributing to many chronic diseases.

5. Support good brain function.

Walnuts may be good for the mind due to the minerals and antioxidants they contain, which may aid in the reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation. Its extract has been demonstrated in animal and human studies to relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and depression. In mice, walnut consumption has been associated with improved brain function, including memory, learning skills, motor development, and anxiety-related behavior.

More research is needed, however, to assess the impact of walnuts on human brain function. The nuts include nutrients that may protect the brain from inflammation and promote optimal brain function as we age.

6. It May help lower blood pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke. According to a 2019 study, they may help lower blood pressure, even in people with high blood pressure. A 2019 study looked at the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, which commonly contains walnuts and other nuts, and determined that it may help lower blood pressure in some people. According to this research, nuts may marginally boost the blood pressure advantages of a heart-healthy diet.

7. Promote a healthy gut

According to research, a healthy gut microbiota, which comprises good bacteria and microorganisms, is essential for overall health. A healthy gut microbiome helps lower inflammation and disease risk factors such as obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Eating walnuts can benefit both the microbiota and gut health.

According to a 2018 study, 194 healthy individuals who ate 1.5 oz of walnuts daily for eight weeks had an increase in beneficial bacteria, including those that produce butyrate, a lipid that nourishes the stomach and supports gut health. Its consumption promotes gut flora and lowers the risk of obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

8. May reduce the risk of some cancers

Walnuts, which are high in polyphenols known as ellagitannins, may lower the risk of some malignancies, such as breast, prostate, and colon cancer. Gut microorganisms can convert these polyphenols into urolithins, which have anti-inflammatory qualities and can help protect against colorectal cancer.

Urolithins also have hormone-like attributes, which allow them to block hormone receptors in the body, potentially lowering the risk of hormone-related malignancies, particularly breast and prostate cancer. However, more human research is needed to thoroughly understand the effects of walnut consumption on this and other malignancies.

9. It may help manage and lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Because of their capacity to help manage weight, which raises the risk of high blood sugar and diabetes, walnuts have been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. In a 2016 study, 100 patients with type 2 diabetes ingested one tablespoon of cold-pressed walnut oil daily for three months while following their regular diet and medicines.

This led to an 8% reduction in fasting blood sugar and an 8% reduction in hemoglobin A1C. Other research suggests that eating walnuts may result in a slight improvement in blood glucose levels. It should be noted, however, that drinking walnut oil is not the same as eating whole walnuts. Overall, walnuts may aid with type 2 diabetes management and risk reduction via weight management.

10. Support healthy aging.

Maintaining strong physical functioning as you age is critical for mobility and freedom. According to research on nearly 50,000 women, those who ate the healthiest diets had a 13% decreased chance of physical impairment. Despite their high-calorie content, they are high in critical vitamins, minerals, fiber, lipids, and plant chemicals that may support excellent physical performance as you age. A balanced diet rich in walnuts may aid in preserving physical functions such as walking and self-care abilities.

11. Support reproductive health in people with sperm

Low sperm function has been linked to Western diets high in processed foods, sugar, and refined grains. A 2012 study discovered that eating 2.5 oz of walnuts daily as part of a Western-style diet for three months increased sperm morphology, vitality, and motility in healthy young men. According to animal studies, walnuts may protect sperm by preventing oxidative damage in their membranes. More research is needed to understand these benefits fully, but frequent walnut consumption may help mitigate the adverse effects of poor dietary habits on sperm quality.

12. Improve blood fat levels.

According to a 2017 study, frequent walnut eating can considerably lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are connected to an increased risk of heart disease. The study discovered that eating 1.5 oz of walnuts daily for eight weeks reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by 5% and apolipoprotein B, a critical risk factor for heart disease, by 6%. Eating walnuts daily may help reduce these risk factors.

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 Available 

You can purchase raw walnuts in the baking aisle, roasted walnuts in the nut aisle, and cold-pressed walnut oil in the specialty oils area of any supermarket store. Use the following conversion to convert serving sizes: 1 ounce of shelled walnuts = 28 g = 1/4 cup = 12–14 halves = 1 modest bunch.

USE: Tips for Including Walnuts in a Healthy Diet

Add roasted and raw walnuts to your kitchen basics and experiment with them in new ways to enhance your walnut consumption. Toss a handful of walnuts into salads in place of croutons, or top a veggie stir-fry. Mix chopped walnuts into pancakes, muffins, or quick breads for added health advantages.

Mix chopped nuts into unsweetened yogurt or porridge with fresh fruit to add natural sweetness. To reduce meat consumption, substitute chopped nuts for 12-pound ground beef in chili, tacos, or spaghetti sauce. Crush walnuts for recipes like Walnut-Rosemary Crusted Salmon.

Salads, dips, breads, scones, fish or chicken coatings, porridge or yogurt, wraps or pita sandwiches, roasted or chopped on pasta or veggies, or as an oil in a vinaigrette dressing can all employ walnuts. Before adding walnuts to dishes for guests, be sure no one is allergic to them.

Conclusion

Nutritionists recommend having walnuts in your daily diet unless you have a dietary allergy or intolerance. There are numerous benefits of eating walnuts, ranging from a recent study highlighting the role walnuts play in gastrointestinal health to long-standing evaluations demonstrating heart health, cognitive health, and mood benefits.

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