Walnuts used to be viewed as unhealthy due to their high fat and calorie content, but in recent history we have found this assumption to be completely false. Packed with healthy essential fats, antioxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, protein and fiber, walnuts are a veritable super food. These tree nuts have negligible sodium, are cholesterol free and are unique in the fact that they contain polyunsaturated fats instead of monounsaturated fats (basically the type of fat is healthier than in other nuts).
The health benefits of walnuts that result from their impressive content resume are many. Let’s discuss a handful of the benefits of walnuts you might not already know.
1. Improve your memory.
Walnuts contain the essential fatty acids omega-3 and 6. These may help improve memory and cognitive function.
2. Prevent depression.
Having an overall healthy diet can help with depression, but studies have shown having low systemic levels of omega-3 can be especially harmful. This makes sense since omega fatty acids are good for the brain! Walnuts have plenty of omega-3 to help in the prevention of depression.
3. Improve sperm quality.
Trying to get pregnant? Make sure your guy is taking a handful of walnuts each day as one of the benefits of walnuts is improved sperm vitality and motility. It also might help prevent sperm morphology, or abnormal sperm growth.
4. Grow healthy, strong hair and nails.
Walnuts are a great source of biotin, or vitamin B7, which is thought to help hair and nails grow stronger and longer, as well as prevent hair loss. Vitamin E can also help give your hair and nails a healthy shine.
5. Help prevent prostate and breast cancer.
Walnuts have the highest amount of antioxidants in the nut family. Due to this boost of antioxidants, walnuts have been proven to help slow the growth of both prostate and breast cancers.
6. Improve motor function.
Those handy omega-3 fatty acids do wonders for the brain, including improving motor function when taken in a moderate amount.
7. Great for the skin.
Consuming walnuts helps the skin look younger and healthier due to the powerful antioxidant, vitamin E. You can also use walnut oil topically for protection against dry skin. Who doesn’t want younger, healthier and more supple-looking skin?
8. Help prevent heart disease.
Studies in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and Israel all concluded that two to three servings of walnuts a day decreased cholesterol levels enough to lower the risk of coronary heart disease. If you have heart disease in your family, you might want to consider stocking up on this healthy nut!
9. Aid in weight management.
It is that time of year when many decide they have indulged too much over the holidays and need to drop some pounds. In addition to all of the other health benefits of walnuts, this nut can be a great tool in weight management. Walnuts contain loads of fiber, protein and fat that all help you feel fuller longer.
These nuts are certainly a better option than most low calorie snacks or vending machine items. There is no risk of a sugar spike or crash with walnuts! Take a few portioned bags of walnuts with you to work to eat as a snack when you are feeling tempted to head to the vending machine for a candy bar. Your body will thank you later!
10. Give yourself an energy boost.
One of the immediate benefits of walnuts is that they contain a lot of B vitamins, which can boost your energy. This definitely goes along with the weight management factor. When you are energized, you are more likely to get moving! Try walnuts on yogurt as an afternoon pick-me-up or a preworkout snack.
Word of caution:
Too much of a good thing can be bad; consuming too many walnuts is thought to cause kidney stones due to their oxalate content. About 1.5 ounces a day seems to be the best amount.