Have you ever noticed that a walnut resembles the human brain? According to ancient wisdom, this is more than just a coincidence. Considering that one of the main benefits of walnut nutrition is its ability to support your most important organ, the brain, walnuts have been scientifically proven to be a true “brain food” and one of the healthiest nuts that exist.
What are the health benefits of walnuts?
Walnuts may contain a decent amount of calories, but they are also high in healthy fats, antioxidants, and minerals. According to studies, eating walnuts can help improve your mood because they contain one of the highest amounts of omega-3 fats of any nut. In addition to the remarkable effects omega-3 foods can have on your mind, they’re also known to promote heart health and fight heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels and reducing the buildup of dangerous plaque in your arteries. A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating 20g of walnuts daily, in addition to a healthy diet, promotes positive changes in gut health and reduces the risk of heart disease in obese adults.
Walnuts can also be a great tool for weight management. According to some studies, eating a few nuts, or four to six halves, before meals decreases feelings of hunger and may encourage people to eat less later in the day. And believe it or not, that’s not all that nut nutrition has to offer.
1. It can help fight depression
The omega-3s found in walnuts contribute to optimal brain function on many levels. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been biologically proven to contribute to depression, as well as a host of other cognitive and behavioral disorders. Why? It makes perfect sense that walnuts could be a natural remedy for depression, as the essential fats are used directly to create the outer membranes of cells and help neurotransmitter function. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the formation of the flexible and fluid outer membrane of cells, which gives them the ability to communicate with each other. It is a crucial element in allowing “good” neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, to move in and out of cells. If your diet doesn’t contain enough of the right fats, neurotransmitter function suffers, and many people experience the effects in the form of increased anxiety, chronic stress, food cravings, fatigue, and mood swings.
Convincing studies link the consumption of large amounts of omega-3 fats, usually in the form of wild fish and some nuts, for example, with lower rates of depression and psychiatric disorders. Controlled clinical trials investigating the effects of omega-3s on depression and heart disease prevention are still underway at several major research centers. It seems that the more we learn about how these special fatty acids work, the more we realize that their benefits are impressive, but most people are deficient and can’t afford them.
2. Helps improve brain health and preserve the memory
Nuts are considered by many to be a superfood that can help slow aging. Walnut benefits for the brain include supporting memory and thought to process. Many of the populations that suffer from a higher incidence of depression due to a lack of essential omega-3s are also victims of cognitive decline. These include age-related conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other memory disorders. Recent studies show promising benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in elderly patients at risk not only for the cognitive decline but also for depression.
3. Helps in heart health
There is a strong link between the higher nut and omega-3 intake and better heart health. According to numerous studies, nut nutrition benefits cardiovascular health by keeping arteries clear, improving circulation, balancing cholesterol levels, and reducing disease-causing inflammation.
A recent 2019 study found that replacing saturated fat with nuts improved blood pressure levels in obese adults with cardiovascular risk. Study participants simply added 20g of walnuts to their healthy diet and showed a reduced risk of heart disease.
The researchers believe that the fatty acid composition of the nuts, including their content of ALA, fiber, and other bioactive compounds, improved the participants’ gut health and thus had a positive impact on their heart health. This study contributes to the understanding that changes in gut bacteria can have a significant impact on the health of other important body systems.
4. Supports the immune system and may help prevent cancer
Thanks to being an excellent anti-inflammatory food that contains antioxidant polyphenols, eating walnuts is beneficial for immune function and may even help prevent the formation of cancer. Some research shows that walnuts should be part of a diet to help support cancer treatment.
In 2013, researchers investigated whether a standard walnut-enriched mouse diet reduced the establishment and growth of human prostate cancer cells. They found that the walnut-enriched diet significantly reduced the number of tumors and their growth and that the average final tumor size in animals fed the walnut diet was about a quarter of the average prostate tumor size in mice. the control diet.
5. A satiating snack that promotes weight loss
Are nuts good for weight loss? Yes. Although they are a high-calorie food (like all nuts), nuts are effective at suppressing hunger. They are nutrient-dense foods, meaning you get plenty of vitamins, minerals, and essential fats when you eat them, all for a relatively small percentage of your daily calories. Walnuts also have compounds that help burn belly fat because they are full of fatty acids and protein. Both help you feel full. This is important to reduce cravings, especially for sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Although nuts are high in calories, clinical dietary studies show that nut consumption does not result in net body weight gain when consumed as a replacement meal. When it lacks the fatty acids, protein, fiber, or other essential nutrients found in nuts, it is much more difficult for the body to maintain a stable weight, control blood sugar, regulate insulin and appetite, and balance cholesterol.
While sugary snacks can be considered metabolism-killing foods, a serving of nuts (about a quarter cup) eaten between or with meals can help balance blood sugar levels, improve cognitive function, and help you avoid overeating afterward. Keep in mind that walnuts act as a natural appetite suppressant, but it might be best to try replacing walnuts with other high-fat foods that don’t provide as many benefits.
6. Improve reproductive health and help growth and development
Walnuts are rich in essential minerals. They contain protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and potassium. So if you have low potassium levels, for example, walnuts can increase your levels. All of these are crucial for brain and body development, which is why pregnant women, new mothers, and young children (once they can safely tolerate nuts) are encouraged to consume nuts regularly. The manganese found in walnuts, in particular, is an essential mineral for growth, reproductive health, the skeletal system, wound healing, and brain development. It is also necessary for the maintenance of a healthy metabolism, as well as for the digestion and utilization of dietary carbohydrates that promote muscle and tissue growth.
7. A great way to increase children’s omega-3 intake
Many health experts recommend giving walnuts to children as a nutritious, brain-boosting snack. They can also be a natural treatment for ADHD and other developmental issues. Several studies show increased attention, reduced behavior problems, and fewer ADHD-related symptoms in school-age children when they take omega-3 fat supplements or eat plenty of omega-3s from food.
Since it’s difficult to get many kids to eat wild fish regularly, finding ways to include some nuts in their meals is a great way to naturally provide them with omega-3s that support their physical and mental health.
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