The 7 Benefits of Walnuts

Sometimes, the best things for our health are the simplest things. Mother Nature made an almost perfect package when you look at nuts. Nuts have tons of protein, fiber, antioxidants, healthy fats, not to mention, vitamins and minerals.

While we are looking at the nutritional value of nuts, the walnut may very well be the boss when it comes to improving your health in a number of ways.

Walnuts are related to other tree nuts such as cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, and pistachios. Each one has its own nutritional value.

Although you may think that, because nuts have their own “packaging”, they don’t have an expiration date, so to speak, but that’s not the case. They are very perishable and their healthy fats can be damaged with very little effort. If you are buying shelled walnuts in bulk, don’t purchase those who smell bad or look as if they are dried up and shriveled. Store your walnuts in airtight containers in your frig or freezer. Walnuts make a great snack by themselves or you can add a handful in a salad or smoothie.

walnut and a cracked walnut isolated on the white background

Photo credit: bigstock

Just 7 walnuts, about one ounce of shelled nuts, are all it takes to get the following 7 shocking health benefits.


1.  Heart Health

For those suffering from heart disease, or increased risk for heart disease, walnuts can offer great vascular benefits because they contain an important amino acid l-arginine. They also contain omega-3 fat ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which is a natural anti-inflammatory and is important for the prevention of blood clots. Research studies show that a diet high in ALA is much less likely to have fatal heart attacks, with a nearly 50 percent lower risk level. Eating walnuts also increases healthy cholesterol levels.  All you need for all these heart healthy benefits are just four walnuts per day.

If you have herpes, you might want to avoid walnuts altogether, or at least limit them as they have high levels of arginine and can trigger an onset of herpes symptoms.


2. Cancer Fighting Compounds

Studies done with mice show that, when they ate the human equivalent of about two and a half ounces of walnuts over an 18 week period, the mice had much smaller, as well as slower growing prostate tumors than those who did not eat walnuts. This walnut diet also reduced the overall prostate cancer growth by as much as 40 percent. Another study that involved mice showed that eating walnuts cut the risk of developing breast cancer in half, as well as slowing the growth of tumors by 50 percent.


3. Powerful and Unusual Antioxidants

Antioxidants are vital to your health. They control how fast you age by fighting free radicals, which are the very basis of age-relateddecline. Walnuts contain several very powerful, yet unique antioxidants that are available in very few foods. These antioxidants are so powerful that researchers have gone as far as to call them “the remarkable 7.”

Research has shown that the polyphenols in walnuts can help prevent chemically-induced liver damage. These polyphenol antioxidants the oxidative processes that can lead to atherosclerosis. Read more why walnuts are among top 10 antioxidants.


4. Diabetes

Walnuts contain healthy fats that have been shown to help with the metabolic parameters for those suffering from type 2 diabetes. Adults who were both overweight and suffering from type 2 diabetes who ate a quarter cup of walnuts every day had huge reductions in fasting insulin levels compared to those who did not eat any walnuts. On top of that, this benefit occurred in only 3 months.


SEE ALSO: How Walnut Benefit Hair Growth

5. Brain Healthy

Walnuts have numerous compounds that can protect your brain such as folate, vitamin E, omega-3 fats, melatonin, and those great antioxidants. Research has shown that reasoning in young adults can be improved by eating walnuts. They can also decrease the vulnerability to the oxidative stress that happens during the aging process.


6. Improved Reproductive Health for Men

One of the best kept secrets about walnuts it how they affect male fertility. Men who ate a typically Western style diet added just 75 grams of walnuts daily and found that their sperm quality was vastly improved.


7. Weight Control

Not only is eating walnuts associated with an increased feeling of satiety after just three days but eating walnuts can help you maintain your ideal weight. Looking over 31 clinical trials, those who ate extra nuts lost more than 1.4 pounds and a half inch from their waist. Find out other foods to lose weight fast. 

Extra Tip:

You should eat the skin of the walnut. The outermost layer of a shelled walnut have a flaky or sometimes waxy coating that has a slightly bitter flavor but try to get used to it. More than 90 percent of the walnuts antioxidants are found in that skin, which means it’s super healthy to eat that part. Also, for the best impact on your health, always eat nuts that are raw and organic as opposed to irradiated or pasteurized.