Walnuts are a big feature in my plant based diet, mainly as they are so rich in those omega 3 fatty acids that help keep hormones and mood stable, and your brain sharp and focused. But are walnuts good for you? Read on for the 9 amazing walnut health benefits that will have you seeing this nut in a whole new light.
ARE WALNUTS GOOD FOR YOU?
Nuts of all kinds are mother nature’s perfect food for us; they are packed full of plant protein, healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, and are abundant in LOTS of vitamins and minerals.
Although often overlooked in the modern diet, nuts are actually something we have been chomping down on since the beginning of time when their amazing properties helped give us the strength and muscle power to fight off saber toothed tigers – so a food just doesn’t get more caveman than that!
Californian Walnuts are the Best!
They really are the perfect, natural and wholesome food for us.
My personal favorite type are the Californian walnuts, they are by far the biggest and tastiest, and they’re at their best when they look plump (see picture) and not dried up and shriveled. They are highly perishable and go rancid quickly so should always be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
For best results buy organic and raw where possible, and ALWAYS eat the skins as this is where 90% of all their nutrients and antioxidants lie.
9 AMAZING WALNUT HEALTH BENEFITS
1. UNIQUE ANTIOXIDANT PROFILE
Yep, walnuts contain unique antioxidants that are only available in a couple of other foods. And why do we need antioxidants? Why to keep us young of course – antioxidants are vital for a healthy body and mind, mainly because they repair the damage done by those DNA damaging free radicals that accelerate the aging process.
The antioxidants found in walnuts have powerful and remarkable free radical scavenging abilities, and their polyphenols can even help prevent the liver damage caused by chemicals or drugs.
2. GLOWING SKIN
The high levels of B Vitamins and antioxidants in walnuts that help them to be free radical scavenging superstars will also boost your complexion, giving your skin a glow, and making them a fantastic anti aging food also.
Eating walnuts alongside other super foods, especially a high quality green super food powder, will not only enhance their abilities even more, but also give you many other benefits that aren’t even on this list.
3. WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
Walnuts although high in fat, are satiating, and being satiated will stop you from craving sugar and other junk foods. In fact feeling satiated for a long time after a meal is the BIGGEST factor in weight loss and weight maintenance.
Add to this the fact that the omega fats, fiber, and antioxidants in walnuts make them a low GI food that will help keep blood sugar under control, makes them a great weight loss food. Make sure to eat them only in moderation instead of your usual snacks.
Keeping sugar levels under control with a low GIycemic diet will keep you fuller for longer and reduce your risk of many diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart attack, stroke and many cancers. Find out more on swapping your diet to a low GI diet simply and easily in my post ‘changing to a low GI diet’ where you will find easy steps and top tips on how to make that change for life.
4. REDUCED RISK OF CANCER
New and exciting research on walnuts has discovered eating 68 grams (2 handfuls) of walnuts a day significantly lowers your risk of breast and prostate cancer, and reduces prostate cancer growth by 30-40%. The same study on mice showed that 2 handfuls a day also halved breast cancer risk and slowed down the growth of existing tumors.
5. HEALTHY HEART
Walnuts contain l-arginine which is an amino acid well-known for its vascular health benefits. The walnut’s high amounts of anti inflammatory omega 3 alpha-linolenic fats (ALA) may help stop the formation of pathalogical blood clots. And those who eat a diet high in ALA are also not as likely to suffer a fatal heart attack, AND have a 50% lowered chance of sudden cardiac death.
The good news here is that you only need to have 4 walnuts a day to raise significantly your blood levels of ALA. Walnuts also keep your cholesterol levels healthy which is another factor in heart disease.
6. BRAIN HEALTH
Walnuts contain vitamin E, melatonin, folate, and many antioxidants, all of which are neuroprotective compounds that keep the brain healthy and reduce symptoms of mental illness such as depression and anxiety. Its vitamin E and flavenols also help to destroy the free radicals that cause dementia in the first place .
These fantastic nuts can be a great help to those with diabetes as their fats have been shown to improve metabolic parameters and significantly reduce fasting insulin levels. These results were found after eating just half a cup of walnuts a day – which is roughly a large handful.
8. HELPS SLEEP
Walnuts contain a compound called melatonin which is the sleep hormone our bodies produce in the pineal gland to regulate sleep and wake cycles.
We already produce this hormone naturally, but sometimes not enough as our natural cycles can be out of rhythm; often due to electromagnetic waves radiating from mobile phones, wifi, internet, light pollution, and a million other of those modern day stressors that mess with our natural circadian rhythms.
The melatonin in walnuts can help give blood melatonin levels the boost they need to induce sleep naturally. And if you do happen to be struggling with sleep then it may be wise to turn off your internet connection and mobile phones at night which may help also.
9. SPERM QUALITY
If you want your man to boost his sperm quality, vitality, mobility and morphology then get him eating 75 grams of walnuts a day and see the magic happen. This is due to their high levels of omega 3’s and 6’s which sperm love.
Not only that, but they are an easy and convenient snack to take out or eat on the go, so you can easily slip them into his lunchbox.