Walnuts may be the healthiest nuts available, with a mere handful a day capable of influencing everything from your fertility to your risk of developing certain diseases. Once you crack them open with a nutcracker, you can use the delicious kernels in cakes and salads (or just have them as an afternoon snack). However, make sure you always eat the skin, as it is one of the most nutritionally dense parts. Here are ten of the most interesting and powerful ways that walnuts can boost your well-being.
1. They help with insomnia
Walnuts are an excellent source of melatonin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating your sleep cycle. Just one serving of walnuts leaves you with three times the level of melatonin in your body, helping you to drift off and enjoy restful, uninterrupted sleep. As a bonus, walnuts contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which also helps to increase your body’s production of melatonin.
2. They cut cancer risk
A wide range of animal tests suggest that walnut consumption reduces endothelin protein levels and shrinks malignant tumors. Meanwhile, studies involving human participants show a promising connection between frequently eating walnuts and a reduced risk of suggesting from cancers of the breast or prostate.
3. They are good for your cardiovascular system
Nutritionists have long suspected that walnuts have a positive influence on the heart, and recent research has proven there is a link between walnut consumption and a lower likelihood of cardiovascular disease. Firstly, they are a source of alpha-linolenic acid (commonly called ALA), which is an omega-3 fatty acid that affords some protection from blood clots. For example, studies show those who regularly consume high amounts of ALA are nearly 50% less likely to suffer a sudden cardiac death. Secondly, walnuts contain potassium, helping to maintain healthy blood pressure and a regular heart rhythm. In addition, walnuts seem to decrease levels of LDL cholesterol, consequently cutting your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
4. They may help with chronic pain
The high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts is also great news for those suffering from inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Omega-3s decrease the amount of pro-inflammatory compounds in the body, thereby diminishing pain. Tests show lowered levels of C reactive protein (CRP), a common marker used to measure the severity of active rheumatoid arthritis.
5. They reduce the risk of gallstones
Researchers spent twenty years investigating the link between diet and gallstones in female participants, finding that those who ate just one ounce of walnuts on a daily basis were approximately 25% less likely to develop gallstones. A similar link exists in men, with those who rarely eat nuts being some of the most common sufferers of gallstones.
6. They may help with weight control
If you’re trying to lose weight, consider adding walnuts (and other nuts) to your diet. Although nuts are typically high in fat, a review of more than 30 studies showed that the people who most frequently ate nuts lost around 1.4 more pounds than other participants. This relationship may be partly explained by the fact that walnuts promote early satiety and allow you to feel fuller for longer. In addition, the omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts trigger leptin production, temporarily spiking your metabolism.
7. They can improve male fertility
Men who are looking to start a family may want to make a conscious effort to eat at least two servings of walnuts a day, as scientists working on Los Angeles have uncovered a fascinating link between walnuts and sperm quality. Controlled trials showed an improvement in both sperm motility and vitality, heightening the chances of successful conception. The leading hypothesis is that this result owes to the a-linolenic acid in walnuts, which is also proven to increase male fertility in non-human animals.
8. They promote healthy pregnancy
Pregnant woman should be particularly interested in upping their intake of walnuts, as they are one of the best dietary sources of magnesium. High levels of magnesium help to decrease the risk of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, which are relatively common complications of pregnancy that can lead to extremely high blood pressure and associate seizures.
9. They are mood-boosters
The amount of magnesium founds in walnuts also means that they might be able to make you feel more upbeat. Studies on chemicals influencing mood strongly suggest that low levels of magnesium are tied to low mood and feelings of irritation or apathy. As well as potentially helping with cases of mild depression, increased magnesium consumption shows some promise as a natural remedy for panic attacks and generalized anxiety.
10. They help you look your best
Finally, one comparatively superficial but still noteworthy health benefit of walnuts is their ability to enhance beauty! They provide you with vitamin B7 (or biotin), which helps to maintain gorgeous, strong hair that falls less frequently and grows more quickly. Meanwhile, their omega-3 fatty acid content is connected to smoother, more youthful looking facial skin.