Walnuts are one of the most popular nuts which aid in a healthy lifestyle. This delicious nut is a powerhouse of fiber, protein, fatty acid, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
These macronutrients and micronutrients play an important role in the prevention of several diseases. Moreover, the essential nutrient combination of walnuts can provide several benefits like
- Healthy heart function
- Smooth bowel movement
- Brain development
- Blood sugar control
- Reduction of high blood pressure
In this article, we will see what are the major walnuts benefits.
Walnuts contain an optimal composition of bioactive nutrients. Clinical and experimental studies have shown and proven several beneficial effects of walnut micronutrients.
Walnuts are packed with Alpha-linolenic acid. Alpha-linolenic acid is able to protect microglial cells from inflammation. Moreover, it is able to lower fatal myocardial infarction rates (1).
On the other hand, the Phytosterols components of walnuts are well known for their cholesterol-lowering benefit. Because of Phytosterols, walnuts are considered among the best heart-friendly nuts.
Also, walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. It can improve blood lipids and reduce other cardiovascular disease risk factors. Short-term trials have shown that high-walnut-enriched diets can decrease total and LDL cholesterol (2).
Furthermore, the nonsodium minerals of walnuts can aid in maintaining cardiometabolic health. Moreover, the component of walnuts acts as an anti-cancer agent.
Walnuts Polyphenols Benefits
Walnuts are a rich source of bioactive compounds like polyphenols. In fact, walnuts are considered one of the most important sources of polyphenols. Pedunculagin is the major polyphenol component of walnuts which is an ellagitannin.
Ellagitannin is very beneficial for health. It provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Several studies have claimed that ellagitannins can play an important role in (3)
- Reducing the risk of cancer
- Prevention of cardiovascular diseases
- Get rid of neurodegenerative diseases
Walnuts Benefits Over Oxidative Stress And Neuroinflammation
Oxidative stress and neuroinflammation play important roles in the aging process, and brain disorders like mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, walnuts have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Studies have shown that walnuts can reduce oxidative stress by reducing free radical levels. The same study also showed that walnuts can reduce oxidative damage to lipids and proteins by boosting antioxidant defense (4).
Furthermore, it is also observed that daily 1-2 oz consumption of walnuts can improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of dementia promoting factors like:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
In fact, regular consumption of walnuts is able to improve memory, learning skills, motor coordination, and anxiety-related behavior. All of these brain benefits make walnuts one of the best nuts to maintain a healthy brain function.
Rich Source of Dietary Fiber
Walnuts are a rich source of dietary fiber. A 100-gram serving of walnuts contains 6.7 grams of dietary fiber (5). This dietary fiber is an essential macronutrient to maintain healthy gut function.
High consumption of dietary fiber acts as a laxative to prevent constipation. According to the studies, fiber can increase stool frequency, and able to soften stool consistency (6).
Another study has shown that dietary fiber intake can increase stool frequency in patients with bowel problems or constipation (7). That’s why walnuts are good for constipation.
On the other hand, regular consumption of fiber-rich foods can help to lose weight. According to studies, dietary fiber intake can aid in weight loss and it is independent of the consumption of macronutrients and calories(8).
Because of this, walnuts are considered among the best nuts for weight loss.
Furthermore, the high fiber component of walnuts can prevent gallstones. Studies have shown that a fiber-rich diet can prevent gallstone disease (9).
Moreover, the dietary fiber component of walnuts can have a beneficial effect on some other diseases also. It is observed that a high fiber diet can (10)
- Prevent type 2 diabetes
- Reduce fasting blood sugar concentration
- Decrease HbA1c percentage for type 2 diabetics
Other Benefits of Walnuts
Walnuts are a good source of micronutrients like magnesium, unsaturated fatty acid, and potassium. All of these micronutrients are able to maintain a healthy and disease-free life.
Walnuts contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. According to studies, unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fatty acids(PUFAs) can be able to replace saturated fats to reduce coronary heart disease(CHD) risk (11).
Also, dietary unsaturated fat can increases HDL metabolic pathways and it may reverse cholesterol transport (12).
On the other hand, the magnesium component of walnuts aids in smooth bowel movement. Furthermore, the magnesium mineral is associated with protection against major CV risk factors, including MetS, T2D, and hypertension/BP, as well as against stroke and total CVDs (13).
The inverse association between magnesium intake and hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance is proven by studies (13).
Furthermore, walnuts contain the most important electrolyte aka potassium. Potassium[rich walnuts can boost several health functions and prevent numerous health disorders.
Consumption of foods rich in potassium can lower blood pressure in individuals with both raised blood pressure and average population blood pressure (14). Also, potassium intake is able to reduce cardiovascular disease mortality.
On the other hand, regular consumption of potassium-rich walnuts may provide the following health benefits:
- Prevention or slowing the progression of renal disease
- Risk reduction of kidney stones
- Decreasing the risk of osteoporosis
- Prevention of diabetes
- Maintaining healthy heart function
Walnuts are very popular nuts like almonds and peanuts. This nut is a nutrient powerhouse and because of this walnuts are able to provide numerous health benefits. It is a great source of both macronutrients and micronutrients.
These nutrients aid in the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, brain diseases, etc. In fact, regular consumption of walnuts helps to maintain a healthy life and it is proven by scientific studies.