Walnuts are of the best nuts you can eat. And we don’t mean just for its wonderfully nutty flavor. It’s packed with excellent health benefits, plus it tastes fantastic. It fights against many diseases such as heart disease, cognitive diseases, and even cancer.
While it’s true that walnuts have one of the highest fat contents of all nuts (about 65% of it is fat), this is nothing to worry about. The fat in walnut is heart-healthy alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which is an omega-6 fatty acid. As long as you stay near the recommended daily amount of healthy fat, you’ll be okay eating these nuts.
Here are 15 reasons you should add walnuts to your menu.
Walnuts offer more value than just great taste–here’s what they can do for your body.
1. They contain more antioxidants than any other food.
Antioxidant is a term that people throw around quite often. These substances protect your cells from harm by free radicals (another word that people use without fully explaining). You can think of antioxidants as your cells’ bodyguards.
Free radicals are substances that come from harmful chemicals in the air, such as cigarettes’ smoke and other pollution. If free radicals build up in your body, they can do some severe damage, even as serious as death. You need as many antioxidants as you can get.
2. They have lots of folic acid.
Men and women need folic acid, but pregnant women need it the most. Pregnant women who have a folic acid deficiency can have babies with congenital disabilities. Eating them protects the mom’s and baby’s health.
Some studies have also shown that walnuts can increase the baby’s intelligence as it develops in the womb. While more research is needed on this topic, it still doesn’t hurt to give your baby the best chance possible.
3. They can improve your heart health.
Due to the high content of antioxidants and other nutrients, these nuts are a great cardiovascular booster. They can help to lower bad cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and improve blood circulation. In fact, the more you eat, the better.
It may seem contradictory that eating something with such a high-fat content is right for your heart. However, there has been significant research into omega-6 fatty acids, such as the one from study co-author Frank Hu of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It shows that consuming fatty acids reduces the risk of heart disease.
4. They are easy to carry around.
For some people, carrying around a quick snack is necessary, so they don’t go too long without eating. People with strict work schedules, specific diet plans, hypoglycemic issues, and more can benefit from having a healthy snack available. They can put the nuts in a sipper-top bag or some other small container and place them in a purse, pocket, or backpack.
Walnuts are an excellent bridge from one meal to the next. That goes into the following reason.
5. They help you to feel full.
Walnuts are the perfect snack between meals because you can eat a small amount and feel satiated till your next meal. The reason for this is that they contain a high amount of fiber per serving. Fiber is what makes you feel full.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that average adults eat around 25 grams of fiber each day. There are five grams of fiber per cup of these delicious nuts. To put this in perspective, there are only 1.9 grams of fiber per slice of wheat bread.
6. You can support local farmers.
Health benefits aren’t the only benefits of eating these nuts. This year, farms have been hit hard. Many farms have shut their doors for good because they didn’t have enough resources to survive the pandemic.
Buying goods from local farms will help boost the economy, not to mention the farmers! You’ll also be getting the freshest nuts you can get since they don’t have to go through the traveling process to make it to a store halfway across the country.
7. They can improve your memory.
Studies linking the nuts to memory improvement mostly focuses on the elderly. These studies show that foods that are rich in polyphenol improve verbal memory in older adults. This research indicates that the nuts can be used to fight off some effects from memory-related disorders. Walnuts have the most polyphenol of all nuts. They contain 1591.5 mg of polyphenol per 100 g of nuts.
There are a few studies done on the effects of the nuts on young adults’ cognitive performance. They show that the nuts have a small positive impact.
8. They make a great addition to salads.
If you want to spruce up a salad, toss in half a cup of the nuts to give it a crunch and a buttery taste. Apple walnut salads are immensely popular. The apple and walnut chunks give you a healthy dose of fiber, so even though you ate a salad, you’ll feel full for a while.
You can make a walnut salad with any of your favorite berries. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are all great choices. Top it off with some balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and you’ll have a healthy treat.
9. They improve fertility in men.
If you want your soldiers to march better or to keep marching strong, you should eat the nuts regularly. Sperm is made of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can be damaged by a process called lipid peroxidation. The nuts have a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids. They essentially protect sperm cells while also replenishing any lost polyunsaturated fatty acids.
If you’re trying to conceive, the nuts will protect the sperm and keep the baby healthy. The walnut seems to be a miracle food for reproduction.
10. They taste good.
What better reason to eat something besides a great taste? Sure, there may be a few people out there who don’t like walnuts, but the majority of people do. For nut lovers, the walnut tends to be a favorite.
In fact, the walnut is the third most consumed nut in the world. The taste can be described as rich, earthy, and a bit tangy. If nuts were comfort food, the walnut would be the ultimate comfort food.
11. They are a beauty enhancer.
The walnut has a ton of vitamins, and vitamin B7 is one of them. Also known as biotin, this vitamin is known to fight against hair loss, make hair grow longer and thicker, and give your hair and nails a beautiful shine. Consuming the nuts seem to work as well as many hair and skincare products on the market.
Biotin is sold as a supplement in many health foods stores. However, why spend money on a yucky pill when you can enjoy the occasional handful of nuts?
12. They can slow the growth of certain cancers.
The antioxidants are at it again. Antioxidants are known to be a defense against cancer growth. While they won’t completely prevent cancer from growing, they will impair it. Since the walnut is full of antioxidants, it’s no surprise that scientists say consuming them can slow cancer growth. It’s one of the best ways to get tons of antioxidants in your system fast.
13. They make your skin look fabulous.
Antioxidants have a number of benefits for your skin. They can help your skin look younger, feel softer, and appear smoother. They can fight against lines and wrinkles and reduce signs of sun damage.
Eating the nuts gives you a healthy dose of the antioxidants that your body can use for your skin. Walnut oil is another option. It’s great for dry skin.
14. They’ll help with weight management.
The nuts aren’t going to make you lose weight directly, but they will help you to stop overeating. All the antioxidants, fiber, protein, vitamins, and other nutrients contribute to the full feeling you get from the nuts. This will help stop cravings in its tracks. By keeping the nuts around you, you can grab them when you feel hungry and skip the unhealthy, sugary snacks.
15. They give you energy.
It seems everyone is in search of more energy these days. Energy supplements and drinks are popular, but they may have a terrible taste and a crazy crash later. Caffeine is popular but can leave you jittery. The walnut is the answer you’ve been looking for.
The nut is packed with B vitamins. These vitamins give you a lot of energy. In fact, B vitamins are sold as supplements in health food stores. However, eating walnuts can save you the expense of buying supplements and provide you with natural energy plus all the other benefits.
Final Thoughts on Adding Walnuts to Your Diet
There are 15 benefits on this list, but you probably got excited after reading just a few of them. It’s incredible that such a small nut can do so much. They truly live up to the name superfood. The best part is that walnuts are affordable, and you can find them almost anywhere. This availability means you have no excuse about adding them to your menu. It’s an addition to your menu that you certainly won’t regret.