Adding a healthy amount of walnuts to your diet can be extremely beneficial. From helping with your hair and skin health to improving your heart and brain health, there are a ton of reasons that you should be adding walnuts to your regular diet. Walnuts provide a ton of protective nutrients, all packed into a small little package.
In fact, a single one-ounce serving of walnuts will provide you with 4.8 g of protein, 7% of your dietary fiber, 11% of magnesium, 4% of iron, and 10% of vitamin B6. Providing your body with everything from omega 3 fatty acids to B vitamins, and more, these small and odd-shaped nuts are better for your health than you would even imagine. No matter what type of health ailment you are trying to avoid, walnuts are likely to help. Here are just fourteen of the great health benefits that walnuts provide.
1. Heart Health
Walnuts contain a component that is called ellagic acid. This works against fat that is accumulating inside of the arteries. When fat stays in the arteries it will begin to harden with time and then narrow the arteries. It can even rupture and completely block the flow of blood. This can cause a person to develop high blood pressure and may even cause a stroke or a heart attack.
Walnuts also contain omega 3 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation and also discourage the buildup of plaque in the arteries. These fatty acids can also improve the function of the arteries as they encourage the walls of the arteries to open, which can help to modulate blood pressure. Once again, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease. The AHA recommends eating walnuts as well as other foods that contain these fatty acids as a way to protect your heart.
Let’s face it, getting older kind of stinks. Along with aging there comes a host of health issues such as sore muscles and tired achy bodies. In addition, with aging comes wrinkles and other issues with the skin. Walnuts contain antioxidants such as flavonoids and polyphenolic compounds. These antioxidants can help to prevent unwanted damage to the cells within the body.
Damage to the cells is often caused by free radicals, which are reactive molecules. Not only can free radicals cause damage to your cells, they can cause many illnesses including cancer. It is important to make sure that you keep free radicals in check by consuming foods that are high in antioxidants such as walnuts. Eating walnuts can help to keep your cells healthy and working in the way that they should. By eating walnuts you can slow down the damage caused by free radicals, thus slowing down the aging process.
3. Slow Down Cancer
As mentioned, walnuts are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are an important part of the fight against cancer. When free radicals are left unchecked in the body they can cause damage to the cells. Essentially, free radicals will steal electrons from the atoms that surround them. This creates another free radical. This process can go on and on until the surrounding cells all become damaged. When this occurs, cancer may develop. Walnuts contain important antioxidants such as ellagitannin and ellagic acid.
Both of these can help to suppress the formation of some types of cancer, including colon cancer. Ellagic acid is believed to help kill off cancerous cells that may develop within the colon. While eating walnuts is not necessarily a cure for cancer, adding them to your diet can reduce your risk of developing some forms of the disease. Adding walnuts to your diet is a great way to help your body fight off unwanted diseases.
4. Improve the Quality of Sperm
It has been found that adding a simple half cup of walnuts to your diet can help to improve the overall quality of semen. Walnuts may improve the number of sperm that have a normal size and shape. In addition, walnuts can also improve the movement of the sperm as well as the ability to survive or the sperms vitality. One of the reasons that eating walnuts may improve the overall quality of the sperm is because walnuts will increase the omega 6 fatty acid levels in the body.
In addition, walnuts also increase the omega 3 fatty acids that are in the blood. Both of these are necessary in order to produce sperm that is healthy. If you are trying to get pregnant or if you are having difficulty with erections, eating walnuts may have a positive effect on your sex life. Add these to your diet and you will likely see an increase in your sperm.
5. Brain Health
As we age not only does the body start to deteriorate, but the brain does as well. Eating walnuts may actually slow down the deterioration of the brain as they may help to delay the onset as well as slow down the progression of diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease. Walnuts contain antioxidants that protect the nerves such as folate, vitamin E, and polyphenols.
Each of these helps to prevent damage to the nerves that may be caused by free radicals. Young adults can even see the effects of adding walnuts to their diet. Walnuts not only help to prevent damage to the nerves that may cause the loss of brain function as we age, but they also help to improve comprehension as well. For those that notice they have difficulty focusing and comprehending, eating some walnuts may just be the answer to improving these functions of the brain.
If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it is important to consider your diet. Adding walnuts to your current diet on a regular basis can actually help you control the disease. One study that was conducted found that adults who were overweight and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes saw a drop in their fasting insulin levels after eating just a quarter of a cup of walnuts each day for several months.
This shows that the body was using insulin as a way to control glucose levels more efficiently than it was before. Since diabetes and insulin resistance are both caused by inflammation, the protection against these health issues is thought to come from the anti-inflammatory agents that walnuts contain. If you are pre-diabetic, have a history of diabetes in your family, try adding a small number of walnuts to your diet each day as it can go a long way in helping control this disease.
7. Improve Sleep Quality
As you have seen from the list above, the benefits of adding walnuts to your diet are plentiful. These powerful nuts contain a ton of nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that the body needs in order to function properly. In addition, walnuts also contain melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is responsible for helping you sleep. In some studies that were conducted on animals, it was found that eating a handful of walnuts can actually raise the levels of melatonin in the blood.
Eating foods that are rich in melatonin can help you to fall asleep faster. In addition, it can help you to have better sleep as you will wake fewer times throughout the night. If you struggle with insomnia or just have difficulty going to sleep and staying asleep throughout the night, try eating some walnuts at bedtime. This can increase the melatonin levels in your blood and will likely help you get better rest through the night.
As mentioned previously, eating walnuts can help reduce inflammation. Arthritis is a disease that is caused by inflammation of the joints. Arthritis can affect the movement of the joints as the swelling that occurs can cause pain and difficulty moving areas of the body. When the joints become inflamed it can really make life miserable. Since walnuts contain omega 3 fatty acids, they can help to reduce this inflammation.
This reduction of inflammation can be proven in markers such as the c-reactive protein that is found after a person consumes walnuts. If you suffer from arthritis or other inflammation-related issues, try adding some walnuts to your diet. In addition, you may want to consider adding other foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids such as fish. Eating these foods can go a long way when it comes to helping control the pain that is associated with arthritis and inflammation of the joints.
9. Natural Antiperspirant
Do you have issues with sweat? Do you often find that you have sweat stains under your arms? Perhaps you simply smell bad no matter what type of deodorant that you are using. Eating walnuts may be able to help with this issue. The leaves of the walnut contain an organic substance called tannin. Tannin will react with proteins to cause a contracting effect.
This means that they can actually shrink the sweat glands, which in turn can reduce perspiration. Dried walnut leaves can be boiled in water to make a decoction. This can then be used as an antiperspirant wash. Use this wash on the areas of the body where you sweat the most, such as your armpits. When you do this you can then say goodbye to deodorants that are made from chemicals that are likely, not great for your body. Let the walnut wash handle all of your sweaty body parts.
10. Tightening Pores
As mentioned above, the tannin that is found in walnut leaves can help to shrink your sweat glands because of the tightening effect that this organic compound has on the body. In addition, if you suffer from enlarged pores, creating a walnut wash to use on your body may be just what you need. You can boil the leaves in water and then use the wash on your entire body.
This can help not only to reduce the amount of sweat but can also help to tighten up the pores on the body. If you suffer from acne, using a walnut wash can be a great way to fight off this unwanted skin issue. Not only does it help with acne and other skin-related issues, but a walnut wash can also help to tighten the skin. This means that it can help you avoid early onset wrinkles.