Walnuts Are Extremely Healthy. Here’s Why!

Let’s go nuts for walnuts.

Photo by Wouter Supardi Salari on Unsplash

Who doesn’t like nuts?

Well, not everyone is fond of nuts but I think we can all agree that nuts are nutritious and healthy for us.

Nuts are good sources of fiber and protein and with so many to choose from, nuts appeal to every taste and desire.

Walnuts are part of the tree nuts family which also includes almonds, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc.

Fun Fact: Tree nuts (which includes walnuts) are actually seeds of fruit-bearing trees. That means walnuts are not true nuts but rather seeds.

As you will find out in this story, walnuts are considered to be one of the healthiest nuts available.

The health benefits of walnuts are:

  • They are rich in omega-3s and antioxidants.
  • It lowers cholesterol and improves heart health.
  • It improves brain function and supports brain health.
  • It promotes a healthy gut and improves digestive health.

They are rich in omega-3s and antioxidants.

Out of all the nuts, walnuts are the highest in omega-3 fat than any other nut.

For a 1-ounce serving, walnuts provide 2.5 grams of omega-3.

Why is omega-3 so important?

Omega-3 contains both DHA & EPA which are essential nutrients for the body. The body can’t make essential nutrients so it must be acquired from eating omega-3 rich food.

Omega-3s form integral parts of the cell membranes of cells and this affects the function of cell receptors that are present in the membrane.

Because of this, getting adequate amounts of omega-3 have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, eye disease, etc. They can help alleviate inflammation and neutralize free radicals in the body.

A research study showed that each gram of ALA you eat per day lowers the risk of dying from heart disease by 10%.

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Additionally, walnuts have higher antioxidant levels than any other nut.

Antioxidants are extremely important for the body and become even more important as we age.

Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals which are unstable molecules that have unpaired electrons. Due to this instability, these free radicals steal electrons from other cells which causes damage and can result in disease.

Normal metabolic processes routinely produce free radicals but cigarette smoke, exposure to high radiation, air pollution, etc. can accelerate their growth.

Antioxidants neutralize and stop the free radical chain reaction which helps limit and stop the spread of damage.

Researchers have found that walnuts have almost twice as many antioxidants as almonds, pistachios, peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, etc. Additionally, antioxidants in walnuts are 4 to 15 times more potent than in vitamin E. Vitamin E is itself a powerful antioxidant so this shows how walnuts have outstanding antioxidant levels.

It lowers cholesterol and improves heart health.

Walnuts are especially helpful in lowering cholesterol and decreasing blood pressure both of which improve heart health.

Walnuts have the highest concentration of omega-3s out of any nut and omega-3 is particularly known of its role in improving heart health.

Omega-3 helps lower total cholesterol levels and triglycerides while also having an anti-inflammatory effect on the body which helps reduce the occurrence of atherosclerotic plaque.

In a recent study that involved 194 healthy adults, eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts daily for eight weeks led to a 5% decrease in total cholesterol, 5% decrease in LDL cholesterol and 5% decrease in triglycerides compared to not eating walnuts at all.

As stated before, walnuts have some of the highest amount and quality of antioxidants than other nuts. Antioxidants can help reduce the damage of free radicals on blood vessel walls while also preventing the changes that turn cholesterol molecules in the blood into atherosclerotic plaques.

Because of these antioxidant levels, walnuts are some of the best nuts for improving heart health.

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It improves brain function and supports brain health.

Almonds are known to improve brain health and cognitive function mainly because it is rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the brain thus reducing cognitive decline and improving brain health.

Walnuts have the highest amount and quality of antioxidants of any nut and it should not be a surprise that walnuts are also excellent for brain health just like almonds.

Not only this, walnuts also have the highest amount of omega-3s out of any nut. They are significantly high in DHA which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid.

DHA is the main type of omega-3 fat found in the brain. Additionally, omega-3 is naturally anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant effects which encourages growth of new brain cells, suppresses inflammation and free radicals in the brain, and leads to less deterioration over time.

Photo by Josh Riemer on Unsplash

It promotes a healthy gut and improves digestive health.

There are trillions of bacteria in our gut microbiome that serve to digest food, protect against pathogens, promote overall well-being, etc. Our gut bacteria are tied with the risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, etc. which essentially means having a healthy and good gut microbiome helps reduce the risk of major diseases.

A study that involved 18 participants fed one group either 42 grams of walnuts or no walnuts at all over two 3-week periods. At the end of the study, the walnut intake increased levels of three main bacteria: Faecalibacterium, Roseburia, and Clostridium. These 3 bacteria produce a byproduct called butyrate which has been shown to potentially improve colon health.

This study also revealed that people who consumed walnuts had a decrease in secondary bile acids. Secondary bile acids have been shown to contribute to colon cancer. These acids damage cells within the gastrointestinal tract and can lead to disease over time.

By having a decrease in secondary bile acids, the gastrointestinal system stays far more healthier and less toxic.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Final Thoughts

Walnuts are considered to be one of the healthiest nuts on this planet.

Along with having some of the highest omega-3s out of any nut, walnuts also have some of the highest amount and quality of antioxidants.

Getting an adequate supply of antioxidants and omega-3 has been shown to keep the body healthy and protected.

To get started, make sure you soak some walnuts in the morning. After a few hours, they will be ready to eat. By soaking walnuts, nutritional inhibitors and other waste substances get eliminated.

Stop reading this story now and go eat some walnuts!

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References:

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Samir S.

Samir S.

Writing to Inform, Educate, & Teach | Obsessed with Health & Wellness | https://samir-s.medium.com/subscribe