22 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Walnuts

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Walnuts are classified as nuts that come from the oldest tree in the world: the walnut tree.

Not only do they have hard, outer shells that are extremely difficult to open, but walnuts also provide profound health benefits for your body.

There are some of the many benefits that offered by walnuts.

 

Walnuts Improve Your Artery Function

Your body’s arteries are part of your circulatory system, which is responsible for circulating blood from your heart and then transporting it to the rest of your body.

They are classified as specialized blood vessels.

Because of their specific function, arteries play a vital role in ensuring that all the parts of your body are receiving a correct amount of healthy blood (1).

Sometimes the health of your arteries is compromised, depending on your diet.

For instance, eating some foods can cause your arteries to clog, swell, inflame and even to stop functioning altogether.

Consequently, you are advised to avoid foods that worsen the health of your arteries, including canned vegetables, fried chicken, beef jerky, ice cream, tomato sauce, white rice and others (2).

Aside from avoiding these types foods, you can also increase the amount of foods that strengthen the function of your arteries.

More specifically, walnuts have the ability to improve the function of your arteries.

This is because walnuts can reduce the amount of cholesterol in your body to less than 5%.

This is beneficial because cholesterol is responsible for collecting on the walls of your arteries, preventing them from functioning fully (3).

You’re advised to consume a handful of walnuts during every meal in order to benefit from the nuts.

 

Walnuts Contain Antioxidants

Antioxidants are specialized chemicals that are responsible for preventing oxidation from occurring in your body.

More specifically, antioxidants are capable of preventing certain compounds from damaging nutrients that your body needs for energy.

Some examples of antioxidants that you’re probably familiar with are vitamin C, vitamin E, phenols, and flavonoids (4).

Antioxidants are beneficial for your body’s health.

However, your body only produces a certain amount of these chemicals.

Therefore, you can still allow your body to benefit from having antioxidants, by consuming foods that contain them.

For instance, walnuts are a plant-based food that contain large amounts of antioxidants.

In fact, walnuts are responsible for supplying more antioxidants than any other naturally grown nut.

 

Walnuts Improve Your Mood

Walnuts have the capability of improving your mood, because they provide an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are capable of affecting our mood, because they act as natural antidepressants.

More specifically, an omega-3 fatty acid present in fish, called eicosapentaenoic acid, is capable of acting as a natural antidepressant.

Our nervous system is comprised mostly of healthy fats that allow the system to transport signals of thoughts, emotions, feelings and commands to our bodies.

By keeping up with the amount of fatty acids that our diets need, we are giving our nervous systems the necessary energy  to properly transport and organize our feelings, emotions and thoughts.

Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is why they have the capability of improving your mood.

You can consume walnuts as many times a day as you like.

However, you are advised to eat them at least once a day with a meal.

Most people choose to eat a grain bar for breakfast that contains walnuts in order to improve their mood and also to provide a good source of energy to last them throughout the day (7).

 

Walnuts are Anti-inflammatory

Inflammation occurs in your body as a result of an injury or other type of damage that affects the condition of your body.

More specifically, inflammation involves an over-production of white blood cells in the area of your body that has experienced damage.

This can be painful and can even lead to other types of infections, disorders, or diseases, if not taken care of properly (8).

To treat inflammation in your body, you can consume certain foods that are capable of reducing the inflammation.

For instance, walnuts contain anti-inflammatory properties that decrease the amount of inflammation that occurs as a result of damage in your body.

Walnuts contain phytonutrients, polyphenolic compounds, and phyto-chemicals that all have the ability to contribute to the reduction of inflammation.

 

Walnuts are Beneficial for Pregnant Women

As mentioned previously, walnuts contain a large amount of fatty acids.

Therefore, they can be beneficial for pregnant women because a diet rich in fatty acids is recommended by many doctors.

Fatty acids not only help the health of the mother during pregnancy, but they also help prevent the baby from developing certain food allergies (9).

Walnuts also have the ability to improve the baby’s brain and neurological function, while they are in the mother’s womb.

This can help the baby further develop healthy brain function as they continue to grow older.

Lastly, walnuts also have the ability to increase the chance of proper, healthy development of the baby in general.

 

Walnuts Have Vitamins and Magnesium

Vitamins and minerals are compounds that are responsible for providing your body with the correct nutrients to grow and develop.

Magnesium is classified as a mineral that’s vital in order for your body to function.

This is because it regulates your body’s blood pressure.

Both vitamins and magnesium are important components in making sure that your body functions properly and at a healthy rate.

Walnuts contain a certain number of specific vitamins and minerals that benefit  your body, including vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B.

They also contain magnesium, which is beneficial for maintaining nerve function, muscle function and  improving your heart health (11).

 

Walnuts Reduce the Signs of Aging

As we grow older, the risk for our developing an age-related disease, disorder, or sickness increases dramatically.

This is because our bodies aren’t as strong and nor as  able to combat certain diseases, as they were when we were younger.

As a result, age-related diseases have the ability to affect older individuals more than younger people.

In fact, according to a 2017 Alzheimer’s report, more than 44 million people have either Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia-related disorder (12).

Alzheimer’s disease is a disorder that’s extremely common in people over the age of 60.

It is a disease in which your memory’s function is severely impaired.

Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related diseases can negatively affect your mental state and mental functions.

Walnuts have the ability to reduce the risk of developing age-related diseases, because they are capable of improving brain function.

Since memory perception is located in our brains, by increasing the function of and strengthening our brains, we are delaying and even preventing the occurrence of age-related diseases (13).

 

Walnuts Reduce the Risk for Diabetes

Diabetes is a disorder in which your pancreas’ production of insulin is negatively affected.

Insulin is a specific hormone found in the pancreas that regulates and maintains the amount of sugar in your body.

Diabetics produce either too little insulin, or the way that their body produces it, is problematic.

Walnuts have the ability to reduce the risk for individuals developing type 2 diabetes because they improve the quality of your diet as well as your health.

More specifically, walnuts have the improve your cardio-metabolic health, which is associated with individuals that have type 2 diabetes.

Usually, individuals that have type 2 diabetes have a high blood-sugar content and are required to regulate the intake of sugar in their diet (14).

Walnuts have the ability to help you control your type 2 diabetes, because they improve the function of your blood vessels as well as your cholesterol levels.

This is beneficial because people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes often have unhealthy cholesterol levels, in addition to poor-functioning blood vessels.

Daily consumption of walnuts will help to avoid weight gain, which is a major concern of diabetics (15).

 

Walnuts Improve your Brain Function

Walnuts have the ability to improve certain brain functions, including your brain’s ability to process things quicker, have a better memory, and have more mental flexibility.

Many studies have discovered that consuming walnuts daily dramatically improves these specific functions of your brain (16).

More specifically, walnuts contain a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which have the ability to improve the cognitive ability of adults, in addition to preventing future cognitive wear.

Given the positive effects that omega-3 fatty acids have on the brain, you’re advised to consume a certain amount of them daily.

Consuming a handful of walnuts daily provides you with the daily recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

 

Walnuts Help Epileptic People

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that involves random interruptions of certain neurological functions, such as interrupted consciousness, convulsions and sensory perceptions.

More specifically, this disorder causes the brain’s nerve function to be interrupted, resulting in frequent seizures (18).

Individuals with epilepsy are also known to have low magnesium levels. As mentioned previously, walnuts contain many vitamins and minerals, including magnesium.

By consuming walnuts, individuals with epilepsy can increase the level of magnesium in their bodies.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that their seizures will decrease, but having low magnesium in your body can still negatively impact your health.

 

Walnuts Improve the Quality of Your Sleep

Walnuts have the ability to improve the quality of your sleep because they contain small amounts of melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone that is responsible for forming melanin, which is associated with wakefulness.

More specifically, melatonin is responsible for controlling your daily wake and sleep cycles (19).

Walnuts contain the hormone melatonin, which could result in you sleeping better.

Walnuts contain anywhere from 2.5 grams to 4.5 nanograms of melatonin.

You should soak walnuts in water before consuming them at bedtime.

You can also add them to food that you’ve already prepared.

You can also just eat them raw out of their shells.

 

Walnuts are Beneficial to Bone Health

Our bones are made from calcium tissue, as well as specialized bone cells.

They also contain amounts of bone marrow.

Walnuts are beneficial for the health of our bones because they increase the amount of calcium that’s both deposited and absorbed in our bodies.

Walnuts reduce the amount of calcium that’s urinated throughout excretion.

Walnuts also contain a component known as boron, which is beneficial for promoting bone health because it increases the metabolism of your bones.

As mentioned previously, walnuts also contain magnesium.

Magnesium is helpful for encouraging bone health because it promotes the production of connective tissues that are in both bone tissue and cartilage.

Magnesium also prevents osteoporosis, which is the weakening of bones (22).

 

Walnuts Reduce Cardiovascular Disease

In cardiovascular disease, your heart has a number of impairments, ranging from damaged blood vessels and clogged arteries, to blood clots.

There are several types of heart disease, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and cardiac arrest.

Overall, more than 600,000 individuals die each year in the United States because of some type of heart disease.

Consuming walnuts is beneficial for your heart health because they contain unsaturated fatty acids that.

These unsaturated fatty acids are instrumental in promoting the health of your heart’s function,  as well as your heart’s strength.

Walnuts can also reduce  your body’s cholesterol levels, which also promotes heart health (23).

 

Walnuts Help Combat Prostate Cancer

Walnuts contain compounds called tocopherols.

They are known for their fat-solubility as well as their antioxidant properties.

Not only are tocopherols beneficial for everyone’s overall health, but they also have the ability to prevent men from developing prostate cancer.

They also promote men’s vascular health (24).

According to a 2013 study, walnuts benefit patients with prostate cancer due to both their omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin E content.

More specific to prostate cancer, consuming walnuts over a long period of time can prevent prostate cancer.

This is because walnuts have the ability to prevent the formation of tumors, reduce the size of tumors and decrease the growth rate of tumors in men’s prostate (25).

 

Walnuts Reduce the Need for a Cholecystectomy

A cholecystectomy is an operation that involves the removal, in surgery, of the gall bladder.

Your gallbladder is responsible for holding bile and assisting in your body’s digestion of of both fats and vitamins.

Individuals may be required to undergo a cholecystectomy, if they have experienced either gallstones or other type of issue that is preventing their gall bladder from functioning properly and producing bile to breakdown fats and vitamins (26).

Walnuts reduce the risk that you need to remove your gall bladder because they promote gall bladder health.

Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that are capable of promoting the gall bladder health.

By promoting the health of your gall bladder, walnuts reduce the need for a future cholecystectomies (27).

 

Walnuts Improve the Quality of Your Hair

Walnuts have the ability to improve the quality and health of your hair.

This is because they contain various vitamins and nutrients that help encourage the growth of healthy hair.

Walnuts contain potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids and omega-9 fatty acids.

All of these compounds are beneficial for promoting and maintaining the health of your hair.

Walnuts are also capable of preventing hair loss,  since they help stimulate your hair follicles.

Walnuts also have the capability of benefiting your hair through a variety of methods, including consuming walnuts raw from their shell, consuming food that’s been prepared with walnuts in it and applying walnut oil directly to your hair.

Walnut oil is beneficial for promoting the growth of your hair, because it helps keep your hair hydrated and moisturized.

It also prevents certain bacteria and infections from negatively affecting your hair.

In addition to improving your overall hair health, walnuts can also help to maintain the color of your hair.

They can reduce the symptoms associated with the natural aging process.

Walnuts help you to maintain the color of your hair as you start to age, since your hair naturally starts to lose its color and whiten with age.

 

Walnuts Prevent Breast Cancer

Consuming walnuts daily has the potential to reduce the symptoms of breast cancer.

They also prevent the overall development of breast cancer for women.

According to Breastcancer.org, approximately 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at least once in their lifetime.

This is problematic because the death rates associated with the disease are higher for breast cancer, than any other type of cancer.

As mentioned previously with the development of prostate cancer, walnuts help prevent and reduce the development of cancer since they reduce the growth of  tumors.

This helps to prevent the spread as well as the severity of the cancer.

Walnuts contain large amounts of beneficial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that promote our bodies’ health in many ways.

This includes nutrients like antioxidants, phytonutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Phytonutrients are especially beneficial for fighting breast cancer because they bind to the receptors and slow the growth of breast cancer cells.

 

Walnuts Benefit Your Digestive System

Your digestive system is responsible for digesting the food that you eat.

This involves extracting the important nutrients and energy components that your body can use.

After your body receives all of the nutrients in the food you consumed,  your digestive system is then responsible for creating waste out of what is left from your food.

Bacteria that are located in your stomach have the potential to causing major health problems, they are not regulated properly.

The consumption of walnuts has the ability to manage the amount of bacteria that is present in your gut.

Having adequate healthy  bacteria in your stomach improves your digestive health.

It can also boost your brain health and promote weight loss.

Beneficial bacteria in your stomach promote the healthy functioning of the digestive system (29).

When your gut has too much bad bacteria, it can lead to problematic diseases, disorders, and inflammation in your body.

Consuming walnuts is beneficial in maintaining a healthy stomach because they help regulate and eliminate excess bacteria.

They also increase the amount of bacteria in your stomach that’s good for your health, like butyrates, microbes, and other beneficial bacteria.

 

Walnuts Increase the Production of Sperm

Studies done by UCLA researchers have shown that the daily consumption of walnuts  can improve the qualities of men’s sperm, such as the sperm’s motility, vitality and morphology.

Motility is the amount of sperm that are moving forward. Vitality is the amount of sperm that are active and alive.

Morphology is the amount of sperm that are shaped as they normally should be.

Since consuming walnuts contributes to all of these qualities, it can be said that walnuts improve the sperm count for men.

Walnuts also contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to promote the function of sperm membranes.

Since walnut consumption increases the production of sperm by men, they also increase the chance of a woman getting pregnant, since the male’s sperm count increases drastically after consuming walnuts.

 

Walnuts Reduce the Risk of Pancreatic and Ovarian Cancers

As mentioned previously with both prostate cancer as well as breast cancer, the consumption of walnuts can eliminate the growth of tumors.

Therefore, it can also reduce the risk of individuals developing pancreatic and ovarian cancer.

The pancreas is the organ responsible for converting the food that you consume into energy that your body can use throughout the day.

The pancreas is also involved in the digestive processes, as well as the regulation of your body’s blood sugar content.

Ovaries are organs that are a part of the female’s reproductive system.

They are responsible for the production of certain hormones as well as the process of menstruation.

When either of these vital organs starts to develop a cancerous tumor, your body could be severely and negatively affected.

Individuals that develop pancreatic or ovarian cancer can die.

In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, more than 45,000 people will die of pancreatic cancer in the United States in 2019.

In addition, the risk of dying from ovarian cancer is 1 in 108 (30).

Walnuts have the ability to reduce the risk of a person developing either pancreatic and ovarian cancer.

They can also reduce the growth of tumors, if someone has already been diagnosed with pancreatic or ovarian cancer.

In order to  to prevent pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or prostate cancer, you should consume walnuts with at least one of your meals every day.

 

Walnuts Help You Manage a Healthy Weight

Walnuts have the ability to help you manage your weight because they contain practically no calories.

When they are consumed in even large amounts, they help you to not only maintain a healthy weight, but also prevent you from gaining any new weight.

One of the reasons why walnuts help you to maintain a healthy weight, is because they give you long-acting energy which helps to control your appetite.

Eating a handful of walnuts each day, also helps you to lose weight because they contain omega-3 fatty acids.

These acids not only reduce your risk of obtaining diabetes or obesity, but they also reduce your appetite.

Scientific research has shown that walnuts allow our brains to see and interpret images of fattening food differently, thus controlling our appetite and cravings for such food (31).

 

Walnuts Help Lower Your Blood Pressure

Commonly associated with heart disease, high blood pressure affects many Americans today.

In fact, according to the American Heart Association, more than 103 million Americans have high blood pressure, as of January 2018.

For reference, that’s almost half the number of adults in the United States.

Approximately 79,000 people died in 2015 because of high blood pressure (32).

Your blood pressure is classified as the pressure of the blood in your circulatory system.

Having a healthy blood pressure affects the way that your heart functions.

A healthy blood pressure reading measures 120 over 80.

Included in the measurement of your blood pressure is the rate of your heart beat, in addition to the elasticity of your arterial walls.

There are usually no symptoms associated with high blood pressure.

However, if it goes untreated for la ong period of time, it can potentially lead to severe heart issues, including heart disease or even a stroke (33).

People that have high blood pressure are diagnosed with it because their blood pressure reading was 140 over 90 or even more over a consistent period of time.

High blood pressure has an adverse effect on the health of your heart.

This is because it requires that your heart, in addition to all of the heart’s functional components around it, work too hard to pump blood.

When your heart is working too hard, it increases your risk for heart disease, a stroke, or other severe heart condition (34).

Consuming walnuts has the ability to help you lower your blood pressure and increase the health of your heart.

This is because they can increase the flow of your blood in your circulatory system.

Walnuts may also be beneficial for maintaining a healthy blood pressure, because they contain many beneficial vitamins, nutrients, and compounds, such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, fiber, and other healthy fats.

They benefit the health of your heart, as well as your entire body.

Walnuts can provide your body with a wide variety of health benefits.

It not only has the ability to cure some diseases, like cancer, but it can also improve other problems associated with your health, such as weight loss and hair growth.

Consuming a handful of walnuts each day has  can provide your body with a large number of nutrients and other health benefits.

Therefore, you should consider fitting them into your diet today!

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