I happen to love walnuts on my salads, or even in a small bowl of cottage cheese with sliced peaches….I’m hungry already! Walnuts are not only a great additional crunch for any meal, but eating walnuts daily can benefit your body in ways you may not have even known. Let’s dive in and talk a bit more about the amazing benefits of walnuts!
The 7 Amazing Benefits Of Walnuts
1. Helps Fight Cancer
Walnuts have been known to help reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer when eaten regularly. One specific study showed that mice, who ate the human equivalent of 2.4 ounces of whole walnuts for 18 weeks, had significantly reduced and slower growing prostate tumors than the control group who consumed the same amount of fat, but from different sources.
The whole walnut diet reduced prostate cancer growth overall by 30 to 40 percent! Another study done on mice showed that the human equivalent of only two handfuls of walnuts per day had cut breast cancer risk by half. Half! Not only that, but it also slowed tumor growth by a whopping 50 percent as well. I’d say that’s a pretty good reason to start eating walnuts!
2. Promotes A Healthy Heart
Walnuts contain a very important amino acid called l-arginine, which happens to offer multiple vascular benefits to people suffering from heart disease, or even those who have an increased risk for heart disease based on different cardiac risk factors. L-arginine helps the heart by relaxing and dilating the arteries, which can help those who suffer from different cardiac issues.
Walnuts are also high in the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may help prevent the formation of blood clots. Research has shown that people who eat a diet rich in ALA are less likely to have a fatal heart attack, and also have an almost 50 percent reduced risk of sudden cardiac death. Only four walnuts a day has shown to drastically raise the heart healthy ALA levels in the blood, thus supporting healthy cholesterol levels as well.
Just be warned that if you happen to have herpes, walnuts may aggravate recurrences and breakouts due to the high levels of arginine, which can deplete the amino acid l-lysine, an amino acid that keeps herpes breakouts at bay.
3. Powerful Antioxidants
If you’re trying to eat healthy and take care of your body, you probably already know that antioxidants are crucial for your health and how fast your cells age. Luckily, walnuts happen to contain several uniquely powerful antioxidants that aren’t commonly found in most other foods. These unique antioxidants include quinone, juglone, the flavonal morin, and the tannin tellimagrandin.
These antioxidants are so powerful at taking down free-radicals (the stuff that makes us prematurely age), that many researchers have called them simply “remarkable”. Research has also shown that the polyphenols in walnuts may actually help prevent chemically induced liver damage. Researchers have said:
Nuts are high in polyphenol antioxidants which by binding to lipoproteins would inhibit oxidative processes that lead to atherosclerosis in vivo. In human supplementation studies nuts have been shown to improve the lipid profile, increase endothelial function and reduce inflammation, all without causing weight gain.
4. Helps Control Weight
Speaking of weight, eating healthy portions of walnuts and nuts per day can actually help you maintain an ideal weight over time. Not only can eating nuts and walnuts help control cravings, one study showed that those who ate a diet that included nuts lost about 1.4 extra pounds on average and half an inch from their waists. Umm…sign me up, please!
5. Improves Reproductive Health In Men
Another lesser known benefit of walnuts is their ability to help with male fertility issues. It has been shown that men who consume about a half cup of walnuts a day, their sperm count, quality, vitality, motility, and morphology was significantly increased.
6. Boosts Brain Health
Walnuts contain a ton of different neuroprotective compounds that help boost and support a healthy brain including vitamin E, folate, melatonin, and omega-3 fats. One study has found that high antioxidant foods like walnuts “can decrease the enhanced vulnerability to oxidative stress that occurs in aging”, “increase health span”, and also “enhance cognitive and motor function in aging”.
7. Aid In Diabetes Control
Individuals with type-2 diabetes who ate one-quarter cup of walnuts per day showed significant reductions in their fasting insulin levels compared to those who did not. That should definitely say something about the power of walnuts!
How You Should You Eat Walnuts
Walnuts are best eaten raw or roasted, but don’t just eat any ol’ walnut! First, you want to ensure that your walnuts are organic, non-irradiated, and raw, which you should be able to find at any good health food store. Look for walnuts that are either still in the shell, or at least have their skins still intact. The skin is what holds up to 90 percent of all the antioxidants found in walnuts, so even though it may taste slightly bitter, it’s one of the healthiest parts of the nut.
Another thing you want to look for in walnuts, or any nut for that matter, is that they are sprouted. Sprouted nuts contain much more nutrients than unsprouted ones, and also contain much less phytic acid, which is damaging to your teeth, bones, and overall health. You can either soak and sprout your own walnuts, or simply purchase them from one of my favorite organic retailers, Blue Mountain Organics.
Avoid anything that appears shriveled, smells rancid, or that you can’t confirm if it’s fresh or not. Store walnuts in an airtight container either in your refrigerator or freezer, and add to all types of foods, or blend into smoothies for a healthy snack!
Do you eat walnuts on a regular basis? Have you noticed any health benefits from eating them? Share your thoughts below!