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What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Walnuts

This underrated nut has some underrated benefits.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

What's not to love about walnuts? Between the satisfying taste, the nutritional boost, and the versatile uses, this little nut is a favorite for many reasons. And whether you are adding them to your salad, enjoying them covered in chocolate, or just eating them on their own, including them into your diet can give your body some incredible benefits that many other foods can't hold a candle to.

So, what can you expect to experience when you eat walnuts every day? Read on to find out six things that you may experience when you include these nutritional powerhouses into your diet, and for more on healthy eating, don't miss 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

You may feel fewer symptoms of depression.

Walnuts in bowl

Eating walnuts has been linked to lower depression scores, especially among women. According to data published in the journal Nutrients, depression scores were significantly lower among nut eaters (including walnut eaters) vs, non-nut eaters. After investigating further, walnut eaters had lower depression scores than those who ate other nuts.

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You may have better brain health.

Assorted nuts in bowls

Walnuts are rich in certain nutrients that support brain health, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, folate, and carotenoids.

In one study, young college students who were given 60 grams of walnuts every day for 8 weeks experienced an improvement in verbal reasoning, or a better ability to understand concepts provided in words.

Increased nut intake, and walnut intake in particular, has been shown to improve cognition among older adults and may even delay cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's Disease, according to an article published in the Journal of Nutrition. For more upgrades to your diet to improve your brain health, check out these 13 Healthy Foods That Boost Your Memory, According to Nutritionists.

You may have lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol.


Eating walnuts can help people experience less inflammation, and in turn, possibly help support heart health. Also, data shows that eating walnuts resulted in a greater reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL—"bad") cholesterol vs. a control diet.

You may have a healthy gut.


A healthy gut microbiome is essential for overall health. And data published in Nutrients shows that eating walnuts daily for eight weeks is linked to a healthier gut microbiome. For more ways to care for your gut, consider ditching these 13 Foods That Cause Digestive Problems.

You may have a reduced cancer risk.

cracked walnuts on wooden table

Since walnuts can support a healthy gut microbiota, eating these nuts may also offer a certain level of protection against developing colon cancer.

And data published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition suggests that eating walnuts can help break the obesity-colon cancer link, and therefore play a role in colon cancer risk reduction too.

You may have a reduced diabetes risk.


Diabetes is a condition that affects over 34 million Americans. And data shows that people who eat walnuts have a lower risk for diabetes, fasting blood glucose, and hemoglobin A1c compared with non-nut consumers.

On another note, We Just Discovered The Easiest Healthy Hack for Oatmeal, and—spoiler alert—it involved walnuts.

Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren
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