It’s about high time Americans show their body some much-needed TLC, and walnuts are an excellent place to start. While all nuts have helpful nutrients, walnuts lead the pack, boasting vitamin E, manganese, copper, and omega-3 fatty acids. These are all vital in maintaining a healthy body.
A study in the Journal of Nutrition and Cancer even found that consuming walnuts may lower the risk of breast cancer. But that’s not all; the health benefits of walnuts include controlling high blood pressure, boosting cognitive function and mental health, and reducing stress. So, why aren’t you snacking on some walnuts right now? They pack a fantastic nutritious punch and taste great on all sorts of dishes.
Walnuts for Heart Health
Did you know that walnuts are considered a superfood? That’s because they contain healthy fats, vitamins, antioxidants, protein, fiber, and trace minerals. These elements help with digestion, circulation, and feeling full, not to overindulge.
Not to mention that walnuts are low in sodium, are free of cholesterol, and contain polyunsaturated or good fats instead of monounsaturated fats. That means while they’ve gotten a bad rap in the past for being considered fatty, walnuts are actually just the right kind of fat needed to keep your heart and health right on track.
Plus, walnuts contain essential fatty acids like arachidonic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and linoleic acid recommended to keep your heart strong. According to a new study in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, eating walnuts also lower LDL cholesterol, the bad type of cholesterol, while raising HDL cholesterol levels, the good kind. That’s excellent news for individuals battling high blood pressure.
Unfortunately, high blood pressure leads to both heart disease and stroke, the leading cause of death in the U.S. Yet, high blood pressure is both treatable and preventable. The American Heart Association has even certified walnuts as a heart-healthy food. Making walnuts, just what the doctor ordered.
Brain Boosting Properties of Walnuts
Walnuts not only do a body good, but they can also improve your mental health. The thing is, walnuts contain omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are optimal in helping to improve memory and cognitive function. So, whether you’re aging or just forgetful sometimes, grabbing a handful of walnuts can help fire up those synapses.
They also contain selenium and iodine, which are known to help brain function. But these nutrients can not only help to improve your memory, but they can also help treat cognitive disorders such as epilepsy and dementia. Because walnuts have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, they help protect cells and fight inflammation. A study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease indicates that walnuts may be beneficial in reducing risk, delaying the onset, and slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s.
So, if a friend or loved one starts to deteriorate, recommending a diet that includes walnuts can be a thoughtful suggestion.
Walnuts and Wellness
The brain also manages our stress levels and moods, such as depression and anxiety. Since omega 3 fatty acids are great for brain function, it makes sense that walnuts can also help fight off depression and anxiety.
When your body doesn’t get enough omega 3 fatty acids, you can become irritable, hyperactive, and even experience unexplained tantrums. Some pediatricians have said that adding walnuts to a child’s diet can help with uncontrollable mood swings or fits, typical for any young person undergoing hormonal or age-related changes. Others have claimed that walnuts can even aid in treating symptoms of PTSD.
Researchers continue to unlock all the health benefits of walnuts. Most studies note that eating at least a quarter of a cup a day of walnuts can lead to a healthy body and mind while fighting off the risk of numerous diseases. There’s much more work to be done to show how the simple walnut can contribute to a healthier and happier way of life.