Walnuts provide healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals — and that’s just the beginning of how they may support your health.
Here are 12 science-based health benefits of walnuts.
1. Rich in Antioxidants- Walnuts have higher antioxidant activity than any other common nut
2. Super Plant Source of Omega-3s Walnuts are significantly higher in omega-3 fat than any other nut, providing 2.5 grams per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving .
Omega-3 fat from plants, including walnuts, is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It’s an essential fat, meaning you have to get it from your diet.
3. May Decrease Inflammation -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.
4. Promotes a Healthy Gut 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 good overall 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.
5. May Reduce Risk of Some Cancers Test-tube, animal and human observational studies suggest that eating walnuts may reduce your risk of certain cancers, including breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.
As noted earlier, walnuts are rich in the polyphenol ellagitannins. Certain gut microbes can convert these to compounds called urolithins.
6. Supports Weight Control-Walnuts are calorie dense, but studies suggest that the energy absorbed from them is 21% lower than would be expected based on their nutrients.
7. May Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes and Lower Your Risk-Observational studies suggest that one reason walnuts are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes is that they help control weight. Excess weight increases your risk of high blood sugar and diabetes.
8. May Help Lower Blood Pressure-High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Some studies suggest that eating walnuts may help lower blood pressure, including in people with high blood pressure and in healthy people when under stress. Other studies did not observe this effect.
9. Supports Healthy Aging-As you age, good physical functioning is essential for maintaining your mobility and independence.
10. Supports Good Brain Function-It may be just a coincidence that the shell of a walnut looks like a tiny brain, but research suggests that this nut may indeed be good for your mind.
11. Supports Male Reproductive Health-Typical Western diets — high in processed foods, sugar and refined grains — have been linked to reduced sperm function. Eating walnuts may help support sperm health and male fertility.
12. Improves Blood Fats- Elevated levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides have long been linked to an increased heart disease risk. Regularly eating walnuts has been consistently shown to decrease cholesterol levels.