Why It’s a Great Idea To Add Walnuts to Your Diet

You might be surprised to learn that for the past half-century, scientists and industry experts from around the world have gathered at the University of California, Davis, for a conference to discuss nothing other than walnuts.

Walnuts are packed with healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and researchers are continuing to learn about other ways they support health.

An article by Healthline discusses at least 13 benefits of eating walnuts, including its concentration of antioxidants, the most of any common nut. “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,” read the report.

For those looking for omega-3 fats, which may help reduce heart disease risk, walnuts are a great plant-based source. They also may decrease inflammation, the root of many chronic diseases. Other studies indicate that the polyphenols in walnuts may reduce your risk of certain cancers such as breast, prostate and colorectal. However, more human studies are needed to confirm this. These nuts shaped like a tiny brain conveniently help support good brain function.

New research also shows that walnuts promote a healthy gut. Here’s an excerpt from a recent MindBodyGreen article covering a recent report published in the Journal of Nutrition which found positive changes in gut bacteria when people ate walnuts.

“The study included 42 participants, between 30 and 65 years old, who were overweight or obese. Participants were assigned to three different diets, which they followed for six weeks. One diet included whole walnuts and the other two excluded them but maintained the same level of nutritional value from different sources. Each diet used walnuts or vegetable oil to replace saturated fats.

After analyzing stool samples at the end of six weeks, Kristina Petersen, Ph.D., said, ‘the walnut diet enriched a number of gut bacteria that have been associated with health benefits in the past.’

As one specific strain of bacteria (Eubacterium eligens) increased, blood pressure levels decreased. Another strain (Lachnospiraceae) reduced blood pressure and cholesterol. The other two diets had no effect on heart disease risk factors.”

Researchers indicated that replacing your snack with just two to three ounces of walnuts per day, or about a half cup of walnuts, could be a good way to improve gut health and reduce the risk of heart disease.