11 Surprising Reasons to Eat More Walnuts

People rarely ever give walnuts much consideration, favoring instead exotic superfoods from around the globe. Before you turn to foods with a massive environmental footprint because they have travelled many miles to get to your local store, you might want to reconsider walnuts.

Few foods have as many healing properties as walnuts. Here are some of the best reasons to eat more walnuts.

1. Boost Brain Health

Walnuts can give your brain a boost, particularly if you eat them along with their skins. Thatís because, according to research in theJournal of Nutrition, walnuts contain natural polyphenolic compounds, which are natural antioxidants that destroy free radicals that might otherwise damage the brain. The study found that polyphenolic compounds reduce brain inflammation, improve signals between brain cells, and increase the generation of brain and nerve cells, making them an all-around great brain food. About 90 percent of the phenolics are found in the skins of the walnuts, so donít remove them even if many chefs or cooking sites state otherwise. Note: the skin is not the same as the hard shells, which need to be removed.

11 Surprising Reasons to Eat More Walnuts

2. Heal Joints

Rich in anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids, walnuts can help lubricate the joints to help keep them healthy.

3. Reduce Your Colon Cancer Risk

Adding even one ounce of raw, unsalted walnuts to your daily diet significantly cuts your colon cancer risk, according to research. Thatís because walnuts are both anti-inflammatory and act like probiotics in the intestines to ensure a healthy gut, which in turn protects against cancer.

4. Serious Nutrition Boost

One quarter cup of walnuts contains 2700 mg of Omega 3s, which is more than most other foods that contain these powerful, anti-inflammatory and healing fats.

5. Microbiome Transformer

Research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that walnuts can transform the microbiome. A microbiome is the sum of all the microbes that reside in or on our bodies. Every person or other living beings have a microbiome that is a unique signature of that particular being. In other words, no two people have the same microbiome. It is like our microbial fingerprint. The study found that walnut consumption increased gut bacteria, which in turn secreted butyrate, which is linked to improved bowel health and reduced gut inflammation.

6. Diabetes Aid

Because of the microbiome benefits discovered in the Journal of Nutrition study, researchers found that the increased gut health resulted in improved blood sugar levels and may have additional benefits for diabetics.

7. Heart Healer

Walnuts, like many foods, contain plentiful amounts of vitamin E; however, they are unique in that their vitamin E content is in the form of gamma-tocopherol, rather than alpha-tocopherol, which is superior for heart health.

8. Reverse Damage from Heart Attacks

In addition to their heart-healing vitamin E, walnuts contain high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation in the blood vessels. Research in the medical journal Circulation found that Omega 3 fatty acids can even help to heal the heart and reverse some of the damage caused by a heart attack.

9. Reduce the Risk of Death from Heart Disease

Another study found that a healthy diet can reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by nearly half. The study scientists found that a low intake of nuts and seeds was the leading dietary risk factor for death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), accounting for 11.6 percent of deaths due to CVD. And, as youíve learned, walnuts are superior choices because they are rich in gamma-tocopherols and Omega 3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation throughout the body, including within the arteries.

10. Reduce Pain and Inflammation

Because walnuts contain plentiful amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids that decrease pain and inflammation they are a great addition to a daily diet to help reduce your pain levels. They work by addressing the source of the pain so you wonít likely notice immediate results. Stick with them on a daily basis to reap the rewards.

11. Promote Eye Health

High in vitamin E and a source of the eye-healing nutrient rutin, eating more walnuts can be a great way to protect your eyes against harmful free radicals.

How to Get More Walnuts in Your Diet

Whenever I tell people to eat more walnuts, most inevitably tell me they canít stand them. And, as a former walnut-hater, I understand. However, I learned that my hatred of walnuts was actually my distaste for the bitter, rancid ones found in most grocery stores, not fresh walnuts found in the refrigerator section of stores. Fresh walnuts have a sweet flavor and buttery texture that is nothing like their rancid counterparts.

Fresh, raw walnuts make a great addition to salads, atop yogurt or bowl of fruit, chopped and added to quinoa or rice salads, or chopped and added to previously-cooked vegetable dishes. You can add a handful of walnuts to smoothies or even make a fermented cheese from them by soaking a cup of walnuts in half a cup of water, along with the contents of a capsule of probiotics, and leave them overnight to culture. Then, blend them with any flavor additions and a bit of coconut oil until it forms a smooth cheese. And, of course you can just snack on a handful of walnuts on their own or tossed in a little walnut oil and spices, or eaten alongside dried fruit.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, preserving, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter Worldís Healthiest News and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life. Follow her work.

 

78 comments

Anna R
Anna R4 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Ellie L
Ellie L9 days ago

tyfs

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Melanie S

The walnut rules!

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Carole R
Carole R25 days ago

Wow ... behold the mighty walnut!

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Thomas M
Thomas M25 days ago

tyfs

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Richard B
Richard B26 days ago

thank you

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Kathy K
Kathy K27 days ago

Thanks.

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Angeles Madrazo
Angeles Madrazo27 days ago

Good info.Thank you

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitney28 days ago

Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitney28 days ago

Love walnuts Thank you for caring and sharing

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