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All You Need To Know About Walnuts And Their Numerous Health Benefits

Walnuts, the tree nuts that are brain-shaped, are rounded, single-seeded stone fruits that come from the walnut tree, most commonly used for the meat after fully ripening. There are two most common types of walnuts that are grown for their seeds:

  • The Persian or English walnut – originated in Persia
  • The black walnut – originated in eastern North America


Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Walnuts are available in two forms: in their shells, or shelled. All walnuts can be consumed as they are – raw, toasted, or pickled, or as part of muesli, or as an ingredient of a dish. Walnut cake, walnut pie, pickled walnuts, in brownies, and even as ice cream toppings.

Suggested read: All the amazing health benefits of the superfood, Chia seeds

Why eat walnuts

Walnuts look like the human brain, and it might not just be coincidence either. It makes sense because one of the biggest health benefits of walnuts is its ability to boost your brain. It might even be crowned as a leader among all nuts too, for all the numerous beneficial nutrients that it is packed with. Apart from your brain, walnuts also help improve your mood, thanks to the high content of omega-3 fatty acids that it contains.

These beneficial fatty acids also help promote heart health because it fights heart disease by reducing triglyceride levels and lowers dangerous plaque formation in the blood vessels. What’s more, walnuts also help in weight management, by making you feel fuller for longer periods of time, thereby cutting off snacking, causing you to eat less later in the day.

Walnuts nutritional facts

Walnuts are rich sources of many essential nutrients, that are highly beneficial for your health. As mentioned above, walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and these not only promote healthy heart and brain, they also help control inflammation, improve circulation, memory, thought processing, and control blood sugar as well.

About 100g of walnuts provides 654kcal of energy. It also contains:

  • 13g of carbohydrates
  • 7g of dietary fibers
  • 6g of sugars
  • 65g of fats
  • 15g of proteins
  • Vitamin B6 – 41% of daily value
  • Vitamin B1 – 30% of daily value
  • Folates – 25% of daily value
  • Vitamin B2 – 13% of daily value
  • Vitamin B5 – 11% of daily value
  • Vitamin E – 5% of daily value
  • Vitamin K – 3% of daily value
  • Vitamin C – 2% of daily value
  • Manganese – 163% of daily value
  • Phosphorous – 49% of daily value
  • Magnesium – 45% of daily value
  • Zinc – 33% of daily value
  • Iron – 22% of daily value
  • Calcium – 10% of daily value
  • Potassium – 9% of daily value

The kind of omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts is called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), while the kind found in salmon and other fist is EPA and DHA. From a health perspective, all three types of omega-3 fatty acids are essential to your body, which is why it’s important that you vary your diet and eat different kinds of foods.

Health benefits of walnuts

Let’s take a look at some of the most important health benefits of walnuts and why they should be a vital part of your dietary intake.

1. Walnuts help fight depression.

depressed woman_New_Love_Times

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Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been known to contribute to depression along with several other behavioral and cognitive disorders. So these are vital to support optimal brain function on a number of levels. Omega-3 fatty acids boost brain function by allowing the movement of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, the feel good chemicals, to flow into and out of cells. When there’s a deficiency of the right kind of fats in your diet, the neurotransmitter function suffers, causing many people to experience the rising feelings of chronic stress, cravings, anxiety, exhaustion, and mood swings. Hence, these fats are crucial in fighting depression and anxiety with the right nutrition.

2. Walnuts induce sleep.

The cycle of light and dark in the body is conveyed in the body through a compound called melatonin. This helps keep your sleep patterns on the level. And walnuts are full of these sleep-inducing compounds. The walnuts boost the synthesis of melatonin in the body, thereby helping induce sleep.

3. Walnuts prevent hair loss.

hair thinning_New_Love_Times

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Walnuts contain biotin, which is nothing but vitamin B7, that helps strengthen your hair, by reducing hair fall and improving hair growth.

4. Walnuts improve brain health.

Walnuts are a superfood that helps slow aging. As mentioned previously, omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts are important to support memory and thought processing. The same populations that are prone to depression due to a deficiency of vital omega-3 fatty acids, are also prone to cognitive decline and related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. So include walnuts in your dietary intake to keep these cognitive decline conditions at bay.

Suggested read: All the amazing health benefits of pistachios you never knew

5. Walnuts improve heart health.

health benefits of walnuts_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Walnuts boost heart health by keeping the blood vessels clear of plaque formation, improving circulation, balancing cholesterol levels, and reducing inflammation. This is again thanks to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that walnuts contain. Also, the presence of high amounts of antioxidants in these nuts helps keep your immune system functioning and healthy, thereby preventing the onset of many diseases.

6. Walnuts help fight cancer.

Walnuts prevent inflammation, while also containing powerful antioxidants like polyphenols. These help it boost the immune system, which thereby help prevent cancer formation. Some research has even shown that including walnuts in your diet acts like a natural cancer treatment.

Walnuts may help lower the risk of prostate and breast cancer. In one study, mice were fed a human equivalent of 2.4 ounces of whole walnuts for 18 weeks. These mice showed significantly smaller and slower-growing prostate tumors, than the control group of mice that were fed the same amount of fat from other sources. The whole walnuts in your diet help fight prostate cancer growth by 30 to 40 percent.

In another study, mice were fed the human equivalent of two handfuls of walnuts every day. It was found that this cut the breast cancer risk by half, and even slowed tumor growth by 50 percent too.

7. Walnuts help in weight management.

weight loss_New_Love_Times

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Walnuts are naturally nutrient-dense, thereby making them highly effective in alleviating hunger. When you consume walnuts, you’re essentially consuming many vital minerals, fats, and vitamins, but for a relatively small portion. Also, the proteins and vital fats contained in walnuts help burn belly fat, and make you feel fuller for longer periods of time. This feeling of being full is what helps curb snacking and food cravings.

Although walnuts are nutrient-dense, they don’t cause a net gain in body weight when consumed as a replacement food. A one-ounce serving of walnuts consumed between meals can help in balancing blood sugar, improving cognitive function, and even stopping you from overeating later on.

8. Walnuts improve reproductive health.

Walnuts are rich in many vital nutrients like proteins, fiber, and minerals like manganese, potassium, zinc, phosphorous, magnesium, and calcium. All of these nutrients are vital for a developing brain and body, and hence young children, new mothers, and expectant mothers all need to include walnuts in their regular diet.

Manganese is found in high quantities in walnuts, and they are essential for growth, reproductive health, healing of wounds, and brain development. It’s also vital for maintaining a healthy metabolism and to digest and utilize carbohydrates from food to support tissue and muscle development.

9. Walnuts help fight stress.

man stressed_New_Love_Times

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Walnuts are known to help fight stress. How? In a study, researchers found that making walnuts and walnut oil a part of your diet tended to lower both resting blood pressure and blood pressure responses to stress in the laboratory. Nutrients like antioxidants, fibers, and unsaturated fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acid are what give walnuts their stress-fighting capabilities.

10. Walnuts help you live longer.

A study has found that eating a handful of walnuts thrice a week helps you live longer. Researchers found that consuming walnuts regularly helps lower the risk of death by cancer by 40 percent and from cardiovascular disease by at least 55 percent.

11. Walnuts make your skin glow.

Being rich in vital B-vitamins and powerful antioxidants, walnuts help keep your skin safe from free radical damage, while also preventing wrinkles and early signs of aging. Consume walnuts regularly to enjoy glowing and wrinkle-free skin well into your middle age.

12. Walnuts boost sperm quality.

A study conducted by UCLA researchers found that consuming about 75g of walnuts every day improved the vitality, motility, and morphology of sperm in health men in the age group 21 to 35.

Suggested read: All the amazing health benefits of Brussels sprouts

13. Walnuts and diabetes.

The fats found in walnuts are known to improve metabolic parameters in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. A study found that overweight adults with type 2 diabetes who ate a quarter cup of walnuts every day showed significant reductions in fasting insulin levels when compared to those who did not. So if you have type 2 diabetes, or want to prevent developing it, make it a point to include walnuts in your dietary intake.

These are all the numerous health benefits of walnuts that you probably didn’t know. So wait no more, and include walnuts in your diet today – as a snack, in between meals, sprinkle them on your muesli, or eat them raw.

Featured image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Article Name
All The Numerous Health Benefits Of Walnuts
Walnuts are a superfood that contains high amounts of essential nutrients, making it a superfood. Here are all the health benefits of walnuts!
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg