9 Health Benefits of Eating Walnuts
You'd be nuts to ignore the latest studies about walnuts and walnut oil.
Over the past few years, several findings have shown that a handful of the little seeds—yes, they're actually seeds—can make you sleep better, feel more relaxed and lose your love handles.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. A quarter cup of walnuts provides 100 percent of the daily recommended value of plant-based omega-3 fats, along with high amounts of copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin—essential nutrients all. And we once named them one of the six best nuts for fat loss, because, at about 13 grams per one-ounce serving, walnuts are one of the best dietary sources of polyunsaturated fats—the "good" fats that activate genes that reduce fat storage and improve insulin metabolism.
Inspired by the new intel, Eat This, Not That! researched this essential list of 9 ways the regular consumption of walnuts has been scientifically demonstrated to lead to a happier you.
Walnuts Help You Sleep
If you sleep too little, you could die young. If you sleep too much, you could die young. So found a study published in the journal Sleep (it's enough to make you lose sleep). Walnuts to the rescue. They contain melatonin, a compound that works by conveying messages regarding the cycle of light and dark to the body. We make it ourselves, but eating walnuts (for an added boost) increases the blood levels of melatonin, thereby inducing a peaceful sleep that could postpone your dirt nap.
Walnuts Keep You Relaxed
Cue up the Master of None marathon—walnuts lower your blood pressure, the perfect accompaniment to nights to Netflix and chill. Researchers conducting a study on the relationship between these wonder-nuts and stress discovered that both walnuts and walnut oil in participants' diet lowered both resting blood pressure and blood pressure responses to stress in the laboratory. Why? Well, walnuts are a rich source of fiber, antioxidants, and unsaturated fatty acids, particularly alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. These are the nutrients that give walnuts it's stress fighting properties.
Eat This, Not That! Tip: Mix walnut oil with sherry vinegar, olive oil, cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper to make a salad dressing. Or blend some into a delicious soup. (The oil doesn't do well under heat, so it shouldn't be used for hot surface cooking or high temperature baking.)
Walnuts Help You Um…Oh Yeah, Remember Stuff
Interesting development here, regarding walnuts and mice: Dr. Abha Chauhan and his team from the New York State Institute found that the walnut-deprived mice they studied suffered a dramatic loss in learning, memory and physical and emotional control. It's theorized that his is due to vitamin E and flavanoids in walnuts helping destroy harmful free radical chemicals that cause dementia.
Walnuts Truly Ward Off Cancer
Here, we look to more research with animals, but the findings converted us: In one study, mice that were given the human equivalent of 2.4 ounces of whole walnuts for 18 weeks had significantly smaller and slower-growing prostate tumors compared to the control group that consumed the same amount of fat but from other sources. The upshot was that the whole walnut diet reduced prostate cancer growth in mice by 30 to 40 percent. Another mice study discovered that mice who ate the human equivalent of just two handfuls of walnuts a day cut breast cancer risk in half and slowed tumor growth by 50 percent, too! To live your happiest and healthiest life, discover—and then stop doing—these 40 Habits That Make You Sick and Fat!
Walnuts Help Control Diabetes
The dietary fat in walnuts has been shown to decrease the risk of developing serious complications associated with type-2 diabetes, such as kidney disease, according to a new study. It looked at 31 men and 81 women in this high-risk category and found that overweight adults with type-2 diabetes who ate one-quarter cup of walnuts daily had significant reductions in fasting insulin levels compared to those who didn't. What's more, the benefit was achieved in the first three months of the study! Throw in the fact that walnuts lead to quick weight loss, and they diabetes worst enemy.
Walnuts Keep You Skinny
Ramp up the fat-blasting power of almonds—our go-to nut for weight loss—by adding walnuts into the mix. A review of 31 trials, study participants whose diets included extra nuts or nuts substituted for other foods lost about 1.4 extra pounds and half an inch from their waists. Part of that loss can be correlated with walnuts ability to make those who eat them feel increased satiety, with one study demonstrating that walnuts' ability to impart that full feeling in just three days. To lose weight even faster, don't miss this essential list of 50 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds—Fast
Walnuts Keep Your Ticker Ticking
Perhaps it's Mother Nature's way of giving us a hint: Heart-shaped walnuts are brimming in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease—an umbrella term that refers to a number of deadly complications (including heart attack and stroke) that amount for about 600,000 deaths in the United States per year. (Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S.).The most comprehensive review of clinical trials on nut consumption in relation to cardiovascular disease showed consuming just one ounce of walnuts five or more times a week—about a handful every day—can slash heart disease risk by nearly 40 percent! Another study showed two ounces a day was enough to significantly improve blood flow to and from the heart in just 8 weeks, without causing weight gain. And a recent study that analyzed the health benefits of different parts of the walnut—the skin, the "meat" and the oil—found most of the heart-healthy benefits come from the oil.
Eat This, Not That! Tip: You can release walnuts' volatile oils by roasting them in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant. Or eat them as one of the perfect high protein snacks.
Walnuts Fight Disease
Antioxidants—you've heard the term, and know they're good for you—in fact, they're believed to help control how fast you age by combating free radicals, the prime cause of age-related deterioration. Luckily, walnuts contain several rare antioxidants that are available in only a few commonly eaten foods. We're talking quinone juglone, the tannin tellimagrandin, and the flavonol morin (in case you're ever on Jeopardy). Research has shown that polyphenols may help prevent chemically-induced liver damage and that of all the nuts, walnut polyphenols are the best in class. For another amazing source of antioxidants, try The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week!
Walnuts Help You Live on After Death
According to a study from UCLA, walnuts improve reproductive health in men. Researchers found that when they gave healthy young men who ate a Western diet 2.5 ounces of walnuts daily (a little over half a cup) had improved sperm quality, including vitality, motility, and morphology. While this improvement won't impact the length of male walnut eaters' lives, it will significantly improve the chances of ensuring that their genetic material will endure.
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