If you aren’t already geared and well-oriented to a well-balanced and healthy diet, you probably don’t even think about nuts.
Even the people I know who claim to love nuts don’t eat them regularly. And that’s pretty unfortunate, especially considering the huge range of health benefits they contain.
Yes, they’re high in calories, but if you can fit them into your meal plan, they’re a great way to add more nutrients to your diet.
If you read on, you’ll soon see why you might want to include walnuts in your diet more regularly.
1. Vitamin E
2. Heart Health
Of all the nuts, walnuts are right at the top when it comes to benefits for your heart.
Some people might find this a bit odd if they’re just looking at the nutrition profile of walnuts, and nuts in general, on paper. After all, nuts contain the highest total fat content of all natural plant foods after vegetable oils.
But those fats are actually pretty great for you.
Most of the fat content in walnuts is made up of unsaturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats, including the extremely heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Like most vegetables and plant products, walnuts have a very low sodium content with a significant amount of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which together are associated with protection against hypertension (high blood pressure), insulin resistance, and overall cardiovascular risk.
3. Fights Cancer
I’ve already mentioned the serious benefit the nutrients in walnuts have for fighting against chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. They’re highly relevant here; these are the two risks that, when combined, pose the most serious threat for the development of different forms of cancer.
While walnuts’ link to fighting cancer has not yet been fully established, you should still consider having them around to reap whatever benefits you can from eating them.
4. High In Protein
If you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or someone who simply wants to include higher levels of protein in your diet, walnuts may be the perfect solution.
A single serving of walnuts (around one quarter cup or 12 to 14 walnuts) contains 4 grams of protein, making them an effective, protein-heavy snack.
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
As I mentioned earlier, walnuts have some pretty great fats in them, including the famous omega-3 alpha linolenic acid.
Regular consumption of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to a lot of important effects on physiological processes, such as:
- Reduction of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, and lower blood pressure
- Reduction of inflammation throughout the body
- Treatment for depression and age-related mental decline
We can’t get omega-3s from any natural processes within our bodies, so we have to get them from regular consumption of foods that contain omega-3s. And walnuts are an excellent source, providing 2.3 grams per ounce. That’s nearly 100% of the recommended daily value of omega-3s.
A recent study has shown that only 5.5% of all adults aged 19 to 50 consume tree nuts of any kind. The benefits of nuts are tremendous, yet people tend to forget about or entirely avoid them.
It’s time for walnuts to get an image makeover. Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick some up and enjoy the health benefits.