Health Benefits of Walnuts

Walnuts whole and cracked open - Pixabay

Most of us acknowledge that eating a healthy diet is the best way to infuse our body with the nutrients, vitamins and minerals we need to thrive. Fruits, vegetables, healthy grains are totally accepted, but when nuts or seeds are mentioned, many refuse to include them in their diet for fear of packing on the pork. But, each nut or seed is unique and has its own benefits and nutritional value and they can have a positive effect on our health. Let’s take walnuts for example. Here are a few ways these nuts have a positive influence on our health.

Walnuts kind of resemble the two halves of a brain in appearance. They have a mild, earthy, and sometimes bitter taste along with a creamy texture. They’re rich in omega-3 fats, protein, and fiber. Walnuts are also high in potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, selenium, and vitamins E and some B vitamins. And, they also contain high levels of antioxidants in comparison to a multitude of other foods.

While some fats like artificial trans fats and saturated fats are bad for you, unsaturated fats like those found in walnuts are good for you. Walnuts are about 65% fat, but ironically they will not make you gain weight. But, importantly, they have a lot of health benefits you may not even be aware of.

Research has shown that an increase in omega-3’s had a positive effect on our brains. It reduced inflammation and lessened feelings of depression. When our brain is functioning optimally, our mood and spirit will automatically lift.

Memory, cognitive function, concentration, and information processing have improved and sped up when people consume walnuts consistently — especially age-related. A study found that even an ounce of walnuts every day can have an effect on our longevity.

Rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – a plant-based omega 3, walnuts help us our cholesterol and blood pressure levels balanced and reduce dangerous plaque building within the arteries. All of which affect our hearts. They may also lower your chances of developing a blood clot which can lead a to heart attack. Ask your doctor about adding a modest amount of these healthy nuts into your diet.

Walnuts are high in saturated fats. They’re great as an appetite suppressant thanks to the omega 3 fatty acids and plant sterols. Eating a small handful will make you feel full and help with weight loss.

Even though walnuts are an awesome healthy fat option, it’s important to remember that portion control is everything. We don’t want to sit down and eat a pound of them every day. Six walnuts a day is a balanced portion and they can be eaten alone or included in your sweet and savory meals. Throw them in your salad or smoothie, add them in cookies, pestos, sauces, chutneys and so much more!