Walnuts are very nutritious food and provide healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are indeed good for health. The most common variety of walnut is the English walnut.
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Walnuts do have higher antioxidant activity and this activity is due to vitamin E, melatonin and plant compounds called polyphenols, which are particularly high in the papery skin of walnuts.
A preliminary, small study in healthy adults does show that eating a walnut-rich meal does prevent oxidative damage of “bad” LDL cholesterol after eating, whereas a refined-fat meal does not.
Oxidized LDL is rather prone to build up in one’s arteries thus causing atherosclerosis.
2. Super Plant Source of Omega-3s
Walnuts are indeed significantly higher in omega-3 fat than any other nut. Omega-3 fat from plants that do include walnuts, is indeed called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It is an essential fat.
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.
The polyphenols in walnuts can help fight this oxidative stress and inflammation. A subgroup of polyphenols called ellagitannins may be especially involved.
Beneficial bacteria can indeed convert ellagitannins into compounds that are called urolithins, which do protect one against inflammation.
ALA omega-3 fat, magnesium and the amino acid arginine in walnuts may also decrease inflammation.
4. Promotes a Healthy Gut
Walnuts promote good health as they contain health-promoting bacteria and other microbes.
One knows that unhealthy composition of one’s microbiota can also contribute to inflammation and also the disease in one’s gut and elsewhere in one’s body, thus increasing the risk of obesity, heart disease as well as cancer.
A walnut also contains bacteria that produce butyrate, a fat that nourishes one’s gut and promotes gut health.
5. May Reduce Risk of Certain Cancers
Eating walnuts can reduce one can risk of certain cancers that include including breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.
Walnuts are indeed rich in the polyphenol ellagitannins. Certain gut microbes can convert these to compounds called urolithins.
Urolithins can indeed have anti-inflammatory properties in one’s gut, and eating walnuts does help protect against colorectal cancer. Urolithins’ anti-inflammatory actions could also help protect against other cancers.
Urolithins have hormone-like properties that do enable them to block hormone receptors in one’s body. This may also help reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers, specifically breast and prostate cancers.
6. Supports Weight Control
Walnuts are indeed calorie dense, but studies do suggest that the energy absorbed from them is 21% lower than one would expect based on their nutrients.
Eating walnuts can also control one’s appetite. Walnuts are good for brain health too.
7. May Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes and Lower One Risk
Observational studies do suggest that one reason walnuts are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes is that they do help control weight. Excess weight does increase the risk of high blood sugar and diabetes.
One can think of having consumed 1 tablespoon of cold-pressed walnut oil a day for 3 months while continuing their usual diabetes medication as well as balanced diet, which results in an 8% decrease in fasting blood sugar.
8. May Help Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is no doubt a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Some studies do suggest that eating walnuts may also help lower blood pressure, that includes people with high blood pressure and also in healthy people who are under stress.
This suggests that nuts may of course slightly improve the blood pressure benefits of a heart-healthy diet.
9. Supports Healthy Aging
As you age, good physical functioning is essential for maintaining one’s mobility and independence.
One thing that may help maintain one’s physical abilities is healthy eating habits.
Walnuts may be high in calories but contain essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, fats and plant compounds that may help support good physical functioning as you age.
10. Supports Good Brain Function
Nutrients in walnuts include polyunsaturated fat, polyphenols, and vitamin E, that may help reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in one’s brain.
One will have better brain function, that includes faster processing speed, more mental flexibility and also better memory.
11. Supports Male Reproductive Health
Typical Western diets are and these lead to reduced sperm function.
Eating walnuts may help support sperm health and male fertility.
Animal research does indicate that eating walnuts may also help protect sperm by reducing oxidative damage in their membranes.
12. Improves Blood Fats
Elevated levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides have long been linked to an increased heart disease risk.
Regular eating of walnuts does show a decrease in cholesterol levels.
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