Have you underestimated that health benefits of walnuts? In fact, the walnut is one of the healthiest nuts around.
For one thing, compared to all other nuts, walnuts contain the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. The type of omega-3s found in foods like walnuts and chia seeds is called ALA or alpha-linolenic acid. Along with healthy fats, walnuts also contain manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin B6, folate, and thiamine.
All these nutrients support the body in many ways. In particular, health benefits of walnuts include the ability to fight depression, help prevent cancer, and improve the health of the brain, the heart, and the reproductive system. So, you see, it’s a potent little nut!
Health Benefits of Walnuts
1. Help Fight Depression
First, the health benefits of walnuts include the ability to help fight depression, thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids they contain. Omega-3 benefits include the ability to work as a natural remedy for depression. Essential fatty acids are used to aid in neurotransmitter function. Research has shown that low levels of omega-3 fats can contribute to depression, as well as behavioral and cognitive disorders. Omega-3’s play a crucial role in allowing the movement of neurotransmitters in the brain that promote good feelings, such as dopamine and serotonin, suggesting that the essential fats may help naturally treat depression. (1)
2. Improve Brain Health
It follows that the health benefits of walnuts also improve brain health. The omega-3 fats in walnuts act as a superfood to help slow aging and prevent age-related disorders. Higher levels of omega-3’s can reduce the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments. Research has shown that the health benefits of walnuts include enhanced neurotransmitter function and protection against damage in the brain. Studies suggest that walnuts and other omega-3 foods may work as an Alzheimer’s natural treatment method. (2)
3. Improve Heart Health
Next, health benefits of walnuts include improved heart health. Studies have shown a link between high nut and omega-3 consumption and improved heart health. Healthy fats work to keep the arteries clear, improve circulation, lower inflammation and balance cholesterol levels. Research has shown that walnut consumption can lead to lower blood pressure, better insulin control and improved heart health.
4. Help Prevent Cancer
Are you surprised by this? Well, with all the nutrients packed in, maybe we shouldn’t be. The health benefits of walnuts even include the ability to help prevent cancer. For example, the polyphenol antioxidants in walnuts help fight inflammation and strengthen the immune system to prevent cancerous cells from forming. In addition, a 2013 animal study suggests that walnut supplementation may be able to reduce the growth of human prostate cancer cells. (3)
5. Support Weight Loss
But aren’t nuts fattening? No, not when part of a balanced diet. Yes, the health benefits of walnuts include the ability to support weight loss because walnuts are nutrient-dense. For one thing, the protein, fat, and fiber they contain helps promote a feeling of satiety after a meal, which can help prevent snacking and overeating. And the fatty acids in walnuts help burn belly fat and give the metabolism a natural boost.
6. Improve Reproductive Health
While walnuts support so many systems of the body, it makes sense that the health benefits of walnuts improve reproductive health. You see, walnuts contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients play an important role in developing a healthy brain and body. Manganese specifically supports reproductive health, wound healing, and brain development.
7. Provide the Body With Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Finally, walnuts provide the body with omega-3 fatty acids. You may wonder why this is its own category, since the omega-3s figure prominently in other areas. Well, the typical American diet is heavily weighted with omega-6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, omega-6s can create inflammation, so we need to eat more omega-3s to create balance. Also, they’re a great snack choice for children to help boost brain health. Studies suggest that omega-3 foods like walnuts and flax seeds may serve as a natural ADHD treatment.