Walnuts: The Healing Nut

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

We have heard about the health benefits of walnuts for quite a few years now.

Every year it seems that there are more and more health benefits being discovered about this potent nut.

However, some people continue to avoid nuts, including walnuts, due to the higher calorie and fat content.

But, here I will tell you why you should never avoid the walnut (unless you are allergic, of course!).

Healing Properties of Walnuts

  • Reduced cardiovascular disease due to the potent form (alpha-tocopherol) of vitamin E found in walnuts. This is also a result of the heart healthy omega-3 fats called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).

    1 oz. serving of walnuts = 2.5 grams of ALA
    This will get converted to EPA and DHA to use to reduce body inflammation and lower cholesterol.
  • Reduced blood pressure due to the excellent source of manganese and copper. Walnuts also contain potassium, magnesium, and calcium which may help to lower blood pressure.
  • Improved health with type 2 diabetes: By better managing heart disease risk factors, you can better manage diabetes.
  • Reduced cancer risk due to the rare antioxidants found only in walnuts (quinone juglone). Other antioxidants found in walnuts are rare, and only found in a few foods. Quinone juglone may be able to kill cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue unharmed.
  • Improved mood due to the higher concentration of omega-3 fats.
  • Improved hair and skin due to the healthy fats.
  • Increased male fertility: A recent study has shown increased sperm count (and less chromosomal abnormalities) in men that is due to the high concentration of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids).
  • Possible increased bone strength due to increased bone turnover.

But, What About the Calories?

Strong and reliable research has consistently proven that a diet that includes nuts daily will result in a longer, healthier life. It has been shown that those who eat nuts usually weigh less than those who avoid nuts altogether.

Notable reports from WHFoods.com: on a daily average, tree nut eaters take in 5 grams more fiber, 260 milligrams more potassium, 73 more milligrams of calcium, 95 more milligrams of magnesium, 3.7 milligrams more vitamin E, and 157 milligrams less sodium.

1-oz-serving-walnuts

One Ounce Serving

Perhaps this is because nuts help to keep us full and satisfied and we unconsciously eat less of other foods. As few as 4 walnuts per day will help improve your health!

A 1 oz. (14 halves) serving of English walnuts contains:

  • 185 Calories
  • 18.5g Fat
  • 3.9g Carbs
  • 4.3g Protein

What do you think, do you eat walnuts or will you start adding them to your healthy diet?

7 Comments

  1. Ryan

    The rate of conversion from ALA to DHA/EPA is incredibly dismal. ALA should not be counted on as a source of Omega-3.

    Reply
  2. New SuperHuman

    This is exactly what we should eat everyday. It’s also very healthy for our brain. It helps intestines move actively so that it’s a very healthy food to solve constipation.

    Reply
  3. Jim

    Nuts have become my morning snack food of choice… IT’s true that when you measure calorie amounts it can be a surprise, but the health benefits outweigh that completely.

    Reply
  4. Garrett

    I love walnuts and eat them on a regular basis. I always keep a container of crushed walnuts to add to salads or on top of whole grain waffles along with ricotta cheese and fresh berries. As for gaining weight, nuts are a regular part of my diet, and I haven’t had that problem. Moderation in high fat foods (even healthy ones!), exercise and a generally clean diet offset any weight gain.

    Reply
  5. Pater Rolf Hermann Lingen

    Every day, I eat about 20g of walnuts and 50g of hemp nuts. Sure, that is a lot of fat, and my fat intake does not stop here: Also daily intakes are linseed oil and soy.
    Nevertheless, it indeed helped me to gain weight *and* reduce my waist circumference. So I see no reason to change the high nut intake.

    Reply
  6. Dan

    I eat about 4 ounces of nuts, two tablespoons each of ground flaxseed and peanut butter most days. This includes pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds and brazil nuts. These don’t make me gain weight. They help my cholesterol and I hope the pumpkin seeds and brazil nuts will also help my enlarged prostate.

    Reply
  7. Spectra

    I eat an embarrassing amount of nuts. Something like 2 or 3 servings a day, I think. However, I limit the other fats in my diet and my cholesterol numbers are always fantastic. I don’t think I’ll be giving up nuts any time soon, that’s for sure.

    Reply