There are so many reasons to love walnuts. They are crunchy, they are tasty, they require their own special tool to crack and eat, and probably one of the best reasons to eat walnuts is: Walnuts are good for your health! In fact, walnuts are said to be the best nut, beating out all other nuts with almost twice as much antioxidants when compared to other common nuts like almonds, peanuts, pecans and pistachios. Here are 10 reasons why you should be adding more walnuts to your daily diet:
- Fiber: Walnuts are high in fiber. Fiber is good for your body because it can help control your blood sugar levels, lowers your blood cholesterol levels, and it helps maintain normal, healthy bowel movements.
- Cardiovascular benefits: Eating walnuts is good for your heart and circulatory system. They have a positive effect on blood composition and the flexibility of your blood vessel walls. Walnuts can improve blood quality and they contain omega-3 content, which helps multiple functions of the cardiovascular system, including blood pressure.
- Cholesterol: Studies have shown that walnuts can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is also known as "bad cholesterol." High levels of LDL cholesterol can accumulate in the inner walls of the arteries that lead to the heart and brain. Many of these studies have not found a specific explanation for the reduction of LDL cholesterol in test subjects who had their diets supplemented with walnuts, but the drop in LDL cholesterol was significant. In other words, you should just eat the walnuts to help lower cholesterol since no one knows what part of the walnut actually creates this effect.
- Metabolic syndrome: Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a combination of medical issues like high blood pressure, obesity and high triglyceride levels. Inadequate high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is also known as "good cholesterol," is another medical problem that falls under MetS. Studies have shown that one ounce of walnuts eaten per day over a three month span can help reduce most of these problems.
- Heart disease: Walnuts contain a polyunsaturated fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Numerous clinical studies suggest a relationship between the reduced risk of heart disease and a regular intake of ALA. This acid, which is typically found in plant sources, may improve blood lipids and other risk factors of heart disease.
- Weight reduction: Slim down by adding walnuts to your diet. Studies have shown a decrease in abdominal adiposity, which is the technical way of expressing the collection of fat around the mid-section, among test subjects who added walnuts to their diets.
- Type 2 diabetes: The majority of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are experiencing other health related issues, including a high risk for heart disease. By including a handful of walnuts to their daily diet, those who are suffering from Type 2 diabetes can get the recommended intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids, like omega-3, that are vital for a healthier heart.
- Cancer fighting benefits: Since walnuts carry twice as many antioxidants when compared to other common nuts, they are also shown to have numerous cancer fighting benefits. Prostate cancer and breast cancer are the two most studied cases of walnuts and their ability to fight cancer.
- Protein: Walnuts contain a significant amount of protein, a macronutrient that is important for many parts of the body. The amino acids that protein is made out of, help in the body's growth and repair. Protein is important for building muscles, and repairing muscles after weight-lifting.
- Vitamins and nutrients: An abundance of vitamins and nutrients can be found in walnuts, including calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and phosphorus. Other vitamins and nutrients found in walnuts include antioxidants like copper and manganese.
The Food and Drug Administration has endorsed walnuts as a part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet that may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. An important factor to keep in mind, when adding walnuts to your diet, is the high calorie content of walnuts. When used as a substitute for less healthy snacks like cookies and ice cream, walnuts are an acceptable dietary choice for healthy eating. The important thing is to limit the amount of walnuts that are eaten in one serving. Walnuts also make a great topping or condiment to go with various foods like salads, or cereals. That way, you receive the health benefits of walnuts without having to worry about excessive calories. When eating a walnut, you should refrain from removing the walnut's skin to obtain the most nutrients possible.