Are Walnuts Good For You? - 9 Amazing Walnut Health benefits

 

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?

mixed unshelled nutsNuts 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!

californian walnuts in shells

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

unpaired electrons

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

sunbathig in bikini

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

stethoscope

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

map of the human brain

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 .

 

7. DIABETES

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.

 

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Stefanie Taylor

I have studied nutrition for many years, and have since discovered that a plant based diet has been the most beneficial to my health and body. I have more energy and zest for life than I have ever had and this website is dedicated to helping others who wish to know more, and start out on this lifestyle.

19 Comments

asmithxu · 17/01/2018 at 6:56 pm

It is great to learn about all of the health benefits of walnuts because I really enjoy them. I have actually been trying to increase my omega-3s with minimal supplements so it is great to know that walnuts are a great source of those.

I also didn’t know that most of the nutrients were in the skins. Usually I get the walnuts that are already crushed so many of the skins are gone. I’ll definitely have to check out the California walnuts. Thanks for the great suggestion.

How many walnuts should you eat to start expecting some benefits?

    Stefanie Taylor · 18/01/2018 at 12:01 pm

    Hi there, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I learned a lot myself whilst researching this. I think a small handful a day would be sufficient to get all the great benefits. Just make sure you add them to your daily calorie/fat intake. You can use any walnuts for these benefits, but I just personally prefer the juicy Californian ones.

Teresa · 17/01/2018 at 9:41 pm

Wow they certainly are a very nutritious food! The list is quite extensive and I really like the fact that it can help with sleep. Having struggled with broken sleep for a while now, I would definitely give this a try. In fact, I’m going to add it to my morning porridge from now on!
Thanks for this in depth article that I am surely to bookmark.

    Stefanie Taylor · 18/01/2018 at 1:40 pm

    Hi Teresa, I am happy I have inspired you to try walnuts. They really are great aren’t they? I’m sorry you are having trouble sleeping. I too had this problem for a long time so I do have a couple of tips for you that helped me combat it for good if you’re interested.

    1. Don’t drink caffeine or take B-vitamin or multivitamin supplements after 3pm.

    2. Cut your sugar intake down as much as possible (this one worked for me big time).

    3. Don’t use mobile phones or computers at least 2 hours before bed because they wire you.

    4. Turn your phone onto airplane mode at night, especially if you keep it in your room.

    5. Take good quality magnesium supplements (not magnesium oxide).

    6. Keep blood sugar as stable as possible all day Low Glycemic Food List

    7.5htp is a great supplement that can help sleep but not to be taken long term.

    Hope these help You, please let me know how you get on. 

Stacy · 18/01/2018 at 10:25 am

What interesting blog! I did not realize that walnuts were so high in antioxidants. The fat from nuts is a great hunger suppressor. As a personal trainer I often recommend nuts as a dietary tool for folks trying to lose weight. Getting clients off sugar can be difficult, but I find that a little handful of nuts during the day a couple times a day provides the satiation necessary to keep to diet goals. I typically recommend almonds, but after reading your blog will add walnuts to that list.

    Stefanie Taylor · 18/01/2018 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Stacy, that’s great you’re a personal trainer as I do sports nutrition for the clients of a P.T. friend of mine and I always recommend nuts too. Another fantastic thing that I have recently discovered is turmeric paste. It truly is a super food. I have started recommending it to my clients as it is satiating, and as turmeric is a massive anti inflammatory it stops muscle aches and pains after sports AND people are commenting to me about how much energy they have. This is a side effect I wasn’t eleven expecting. I am going to leave a link to the recipe which is at the end of the post. I really would live for you to try it out and see what you think!

    Turmeric Benefits and Side Effects – Homemade Turmeric Paste

Jojo · 18/01/2018 at 11:28 am

Wow, I knew nuts are good for you but I did not know that walnuts were THAT GOOD for your health. I find them really tasty and it would be easy to get into the habit of eating them every day.
Are there other nuts that you would recommend as well?

    Stefanie Taylor · 18/01/2018 at 11:44 am

    Hi Jojo, thanks for your comment. Yes walnuts are a fabulous addition to your site for sure. I think it’s good to eat an array of different nuts as they all have fantastic qualities. Especially good are Brazil nuts as they are full of selenium. In fact you can get your daily quota in just two nuts and this will help boost mood and keep hair and skin healthy. Almonds are another great, nutrient rich nut that are great for snacking on and they are full of magnesium and calcium. But the nut I eat most of, which is technically a legume, Is peanuts and sugar free peanut butter as they are cheap and high in protein and resveratrol, which is anti aging. Hope this helps, and get the nuts in.

Lace · 20/01/2018 at 10:43 pm

Wow, seems there’s every reason to get munching walnuts! Other than just eating them as they are could you recommend some yummy ways to incorporate them into ones diet? I’d be keen to get them in but don’t particularly like plain walnuts. Cheers!

    Stefanie Taylor · 22/01/2018 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Lace, yes you can do lots of things with walnuts including throwing a handful into a smoothie. I would always recommend eating them raw to keep all those lovely nutritious oils in tact. Something I regularly use them in is as a raw cheesecake base, or a crumb to go with a dessert. Simply whizz them in a food processor with the same amount of dates and you get a lovely crumb base for anything you want. You could also just chop them up and add to homemade granola or on top of your breakfast cereal in the morning. Hope this helps.

Jackie · 20/01/2018 at 11:02 pm

I think walnuts are my favorite nut. I love them because of their taste, texture and nutritional profile. This year I started to wean myself from dairy by making nut milk and butters. I’ve mostly stuck to cashew and almond, but after reading your post, I thought oh, wow! I should try making walnut milk! Have you ever tried walnut milk? Just curious how it turned out if so. Thanks for your post. I enjoyed it.

    Stefanie Taylor · 22/01/2018 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Jackie, I am really glad you enjoyed my post. It’s really great that you are turning to a more plant based way of eating as it just makes you feel so much healthier. You know, I have tried every type of nut milk going, and have made many of my own but I have never tried, nor have I seen anywhere, walnut milk. How bizarre…I wonder if maybe there is a reason for that. I may actually just try and make some of my own and see how it turns out. What harm can it do hey? 

    Stefanie Taylor · 22/01/2018 at 6:12 pm

    Hi Jackie, walnuts are my favorite nut too! They are so delicious, but I’m fussy with them and only like the Californian ones as they always taste so much fresher and less astringent to me. And no, I have never come across walnut milk oddly enough, and I say this because I always use nut milks of all different kinds and have never come across walnut. I think that may be a challenge for me to try and make my own hey? I can only imagine it would be delicious.

Maurice Jackson · 21/01/2018 at 2:45 am

I was drawn to this post by its title. See I know that nuts, in general, are good for you. However, I never knew the enormity of the benefits. I do eat a lot of walnuts but never the skin. Thanks for the heads up.

    Stefanie Taylor · 22/01/2018 at 5:44 pm

    Hi Maurice, glad you have found this post informative, and it looks like it was just for you. At least now you can start eating those nutritious skins. If the reason you don’t eat them is simply because you don’t like them then you could always try soaking them for a couple of hours first. This really changes their texture, flavour and also activates their enzymes making them easier to digest and absorb nutrients out of.

Vince · 21/01/2018 at 10:23 am

I love eating walnuts and I even love them more now that they have so many great health benefits.
In your opinion, can you eat too many nuts? I eat about 2-3 handfuls every day but I was told by someone that it’s too much.

    Stefanie Taylor · 22/01/2018 at 5:40 pm

    Hi Vince, yes I’ve started eating walnuts every day too since I researched this article. I think that you should carry on eating 2-3 handfuls a day of nuts, especially if you are eating a healthy diet that isn’t full of other nasty, unhealthy fats. Nuts are full of protein and loads of other nutrients and antioxidants so I would only cut down on them if they start to make you gain weight. Other than that I would say crack on…no pun intended!

sarah · 21/01/2018 at 1:37 pm

Great, Thank you so so much for sharing such great information with all of us, indeed walnut has a lot of health benefits and you have explained this really well. This article is a “Must Read” for everybody. Mostly people don’t know these benefits in such details as you have explained.

    Stefanie Taylor · 22/01/2018 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Sarah, yes even I was surprised about how fantastic walnuts where for health when I started researching this. I couldn’t believe the facts I was uncovering and this is why I love nutrition so much. It really can be life changing just to add a few things into your diet that can have so many benefits. I think we’re all going to be on a walnut rampage now ha ha.

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