ChiltanPure walnuts provide healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals — and that’s just the beginning of how they may support your health. In fact, there’s so much interest in this one nut that for the past 50 years, scientists and industry experts have gathered annually at the University of California, Davis, for a walnut conference discussing the latest walnut health research.
- Rich in antioxidants:
This activity comes from vitamin E, melatonin and plant compounds called polyphenols, which are particularly high in the papery skin of walnuts.
A preliminary, small study in healthy adults showed that eating a walnut-rich meal prevented oxidative damage of “bad” LDL cholesterol after eating, whereas a refined-fat meal didn’t.
That’s beneficial because oxidized LDL is prone to build up in your arteries, causing atherosclerosis.
2. Super plant source of omega 3s:
Walnuts are significantly higher in omega-3 fat than any other nut, providing 2.5 grams per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.
Omega-3 fat from plants, including walnuts, is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It’s an essential fat, meaning you have to get it from your diet.
According to the Institute of Medicine, adequate intake of ALA is 1.6 and 1.1. grams per day for men and women respectively. A single serving of walnuts meets that guideline.
Observational studies have shown that each gram of ALA you eat per day lowers your risk of dying from heart disease by 10%.
Inflammation is at the root of many diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, and can be caused by oxidative stress.
The polyphenols in walnuts can help fight this oxidative stress and inflammation. A subgroup of polyphenols called ellagitannins may be especially involved.
Beneficial bacteria in your gut convert ellagitannins to compounds called urolithins, which have been found to protect against inflammation
ALA omega-3 fat, magnesium and the amino acid arginine in walnuts may also decrease inflammation.
4.Promotes a healthy gut:
Studies suggest that if your gut is rich in health-promoting bacteria and other microbes (your gut microbiota), you’re more likely to have a healthy gut and good overall health.
An unhealthy composition of your microbiota can contribute to inflammation and disease in your gut and elsewhere in your body, increasing your risk of obesity, heart disease and cancer.
What you eat can significantly influence the makeup of your microbiota. Eating walnuts may be one way to support the health of your microbiota and your gut.
When 194 healthy adults ate 1.5 ounces (43 grams) of walnuts every day for eight weeks, they had an increase in beneficial bacteria, compared to a period of not eating walnuts.
This included an increase in bacteria that produce butyrate, a fat that nourishes your gut and promotes gut health.
5. Reduces risk of some cancer:
Test-tube, animal and human observational studies suggest that eating walnuts may reduce your risk of certain cancers, including breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.
As noted earlier, walnuts are rich in polyphenol ellagitannins. Certain gut microbes can convert these to compounds called urolithins.
Urolithins can have anti-inflammatory properties in your gut, which may be one way that eating walnuts help protect against colorectal cancer. Urolithins’ anti-inflammatory actions could also help protect against other cancers.
What’s more, urolithins have hormone-like properties that enable them to block hormone receptors in your body. This may help reduce your risk of hormone-related cancers, specifically breast and prostate cancers.
More human studies are needed to confirm the effects of eating walnuts on decreasing the risk of these and other cancers, as well as to clarify all the ways or mechanisms by which they may help.
The Bottom line:
Walnuts are exceptionally nutritious nuts. They have higher antioxidant activity and significantly more healthy omega-3 fats than any other common nut.
This rich nutrient profile contributes to the many health benefits associated with walnuts, such as reduced inflammation and improved heart disease risk factors.
Scientists are still uncovering the many ways that walnuts’ fibre and plant compounds, including polyphenols, may interact with your gut microbiota and contribute to your health.
It’s likely you’ll keep hearing more about walnuts in the years to come as more studies will research their beneficial health effects.
Still, there are plenty of reasons to include them in your diet already today.