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Walnuts provide healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and that’s just the beginning of how they can help your health.
Walnuts Health Benefits
In fact, there is so much interest in this nut that for the past 50 years, scientists and industry experts have convened annually at the University of California, Davis, for a walnut conference that discusses the latest research on walnut health. .
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This activity comes from vitamin E, melatonin, and plant compounds called polyphenols, which are particularly high in the papery skin of walnuts (
A small preliminary study in healthy adults showed that eating a meal rich in nuts prevented oxidative damage to “bad” LDL cholesterol after eating, while a meal rich in refined fats did not (
Summary Walnuts are an excellent source of antioxidants that can help fight oxidative damage in your body, including damage due to “bad” LDL cholesterol, which promotes atherosclerosis.
Walnuts are significantly higher in omega-3 fats than any other nut, providing 2.5 grams per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving (6,
How Many Walnuts Should You Eat In A Day?
The omega-3 fat from plants, including walnuts, is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It is an essential fat, which means you must get it from your diet.
According to the Institute of Medicine, the adequate intake for ALA is 1.6 to 1.1. grams per day for men and women respectively. A single serving of walnuts meets that guideline (
Observational studies have shown that every gram of ALA you consume per day reduces your risk of dying from heart disease by 10% (
Summary Walnuts are a good source of the plant form of omega-3 fat, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
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Inflammation is at the root of many diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer, and can be caused by oxidative stress.
The polyphenols in walnuts can help fight this oxidative stress and inflammation. A subgroup of polyphenols called ellagitannins may be especially involved (
Ellagitannins are converted by beneficial bacteria in the gut into compounds called urolithins, which have been found to protect against inflammation (
Summary Several plant compounds and nutrients in walnuts may help decrease inflammation, which is a key culprit in many chronic diseases.
Walnuts May Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease Says Study: Know 5 Other Health Benefits Of This Amazing Dry Fruit
Studies suggest that if your gut is rich in health-promoting bacteria and other microbes (your gut microbiota), you’re more likely to have a healthy gut and overall good health.
An unhealthy composition of your microbiota can contribute to inflammation and disease in your gut and elsewhere in your body, increasing your risk of obesity, heart disease, and cancer (
What you eat can significantly influence the composition of your microbiota. Eating nuts can be a way to support the health of your microbiota and your gut.
When 194 healthy adults ate 1.5 ounces (43 grams) of nuts every day for eight weeks, they had an increase in beneficial bacteria, compared to a period when they didn’t eat nuts (
Health Benefits Of Walnuts: Top Reasons To Eat The Healthiest
This included an increase in bacteria that produce butyrate, a fat that nourishes the gut and promotes gut health (
Summary Eating nuts not only nourishes you, but also the beneficial bacteria that live in your gut. This promotes the health of your gut and can help reduce your risk of disease.
Observational human, animal, and test-tube studies suggest that eating walnuts may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer (
As noted above, walnuts are rich in ellagitannin polyphenols. Certain gut microbes can convert them into compounds called urolithins (
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Urolithins may have anti-inflammatory properties in the gut, which may be one way that eating nuts helps protect against colorectal cancer. The anti-inflammatory actions of urolithins might also help protect against other types of cancer (
Additionally, urolithins have hormone-like properties that allow them to block hormone receptors in your body. This may help reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers, specifically breast and prostate cancers (
More human studies are needed to confirm the effects of eating walnuts on lowering the risk of these and other types of cancer, as well as to clarify any ways or mechanisms by which they may help.
Summary The polyphenols in walnuts may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. However, more human studies are needed to confirm this.
Can Walnut Consumption Benefit Brain Health?
Walnuts are calorie dense, but studies suggest that the energy absorbed from them is 21% lower than would be expected based on their nutrients (
In a well-controlled study of 10 obese people, drinking a shake made with about 1.75 ounces (48 grams) of nuts once a day for five days decreased appetite and hunger, compared with a calorie-matched placebo drink and nutrients (
Additionally, after five days of consuming the nut shakes, brain scans showed that the participants had increased activation in a brain region that helped them resist highly tempting food cues, such as cake and chips.
Although larger, longer-term studies are needed, this provides some initial insight into how walnuts may help control appetite and weight.
Benefits Of Walnuts And Its Side Effects
Summary Although they are high in calories, you may not absorb all of the calories in nuts. Plus, they can even help you control your appetite and hunger.
Observational studies suggest that one of the reasons walnuts are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes is that they help with weight control. Excess weight increases the risk of high blood sugar levels and diabetes (
In a controlled study of 100 people with type 2 diabetes, consuming 1 tablespoon of cold-pressed walnut oil daily for 3 months, while continuing their usual diabetes medication and a balanced diet, resulted in an 8-fold decrease in % fasting blood sugar (
Additionally, walnut oil users had about an 8% decrease in hemoglobin A1C (3-month average blood sugar). The control group showed no improvement in A1C or fasting blood sugar. Neither group had a change in their weight.
How To Select And Store Walnuts To Get Its Best Benefits
Summary Eating walnuts may help control type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of the disease, as the walnut may help control weight. Walnuts might also have more direct effects on blood sugar control.
Some studies suggest that eating walnuts may help lower blood pressure, even in people with high blood pressure and in healthy people when under stress. Other studies did not observe this effect (
Among other diets, the four-year PREDIMED study of approximately 7,500 adults at high risk for heart disease tested a Mediterranean diet supplemented with 1 ounce (28 grams) of mixed nuts daily, half of which were walnuts.
At the end of the study, people on the nut-enriched Mediterranean diet had a 0.65 mmHg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) than people on a similar heart-healthy control diet at that they were not given nuts (
Walnuts Health Benefits: What Is The Right Way To Eat Walnuts For Maximum Health Benefits
This suggests that walnuts may slightly enhance the blood pressure benefits of a heart-healthy diet. This is important, as small differences in blood pressure are thought to have a large impact on the risk of death from heart disease (
Summary Some studies suggest that eating 1 ounce (28 grams) of nuts daily, including walnuts, as part of a heart-healthy diet may help improve blood pressure.
In an observational study of more than 50,000 older women over 18 years, scientists found that those with the healthiest diets had a 13% lower risk of physical decline. Walnuts were among the foods that contributed the most to a healthy diet (
Although high in calories, walnuts are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, fats, and essential plant compounds that can help maintain good physical function as you age (
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Summary A healthy diet that includes nuts can help preserve physical function, such as walking, and self-care skills as you age.
It may be just a coincidence that a walnut shell looks like a tiny brain, but research suggests that this nut may be good for the mind (
Animal and test-tube studies found that nutrients in nuts, including polyunsaturated fats, polyphenols, and vitamin E, may help reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the brain (
In a 10-month study of Alzheimer’s disease, mice given 6 to 9 percent of their calories in the form of nuts (equal to 1 to 1.5 ounces or 28 to 45 grams daily in people) had significant improvements in learning abilities, memory, and anxiety reduction, compared to a nut-free control group (
Walnut Benefits + Side Effects
Observational studies in older adults have linked nut consumption to better brain function, including faster processing speed, more mental flexibility, and better memory (
Although these results are encouraging, more studies testing the effects of walnuts on brain function in humans are needed to draw firm conclusions.
Summary Walnuts contain nutrients that may help protect your brain from damaging inflammation and support good brain function as you age.
Typical Western diets, high in processed foods, sugar, and refined grains, have been linked to reduced sperm function (
Walnuts: Health Benefits, Nutrition, And Diet
When 117 healthy young men included 2.5 ounces (75 grams) of walnuts daily in their Western-style diet for three months, they had improved sperm shape, vitality and mobility, compared with men who ate no walnuts (
Animal research suggests that eating walnuts may help protect sperm by reducing oxidative damage to their membranes (
More studies are needed to confirm these benefits, but if you’re a man concerned about fertility, eating walnuts is an easy thing to try.
Elevated levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides have