Walnuts are a tree nut belonging to the walnut family of the genus Juglans. Botanically, they are seeds of the drupe and not true nuts. They provide many health and beauty benefits as they contain essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, phytonutrients, and dietary fibers, etc.
They are available in many varieties and are consumed in many ways. Green walnuts are often used for making pickles, and the processed walnuts are consumed as dry fruit, added to smoothies, cakes, and other food items.
Health Benefits Of Walnuts
Some major health and beauty benefits of walnuts are as follows.
(1) Maintains Cholesterol Level
Dietary fibers and the essential fatty acids like oleic acid, linoleic acid, etc in walnut reduce LDL cholesterol in the body and minimize the risk of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition that leads to hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in the arterial walls and is a leading cause of several cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, and coronary artery disease.
(2) Regulates Blood Pressure
Potassium, a vital mineral in walnut is a natural vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and thus provides relief from high blood pressure or hypertension.
Hypertension affects millions worldwide and gives rise to various health problems like severe headaches, nose bleed, chest pain, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, vision problems, and blood in urine, etc.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, and vitamin E, etc in walnut also aid in regulating high blood pressure.
Consume walnut in moderation as over-intake of potassium may lower the blood pressure to an abnormally low level giving rise to symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, nausea, dehydration, lack of concentration, blurred vision, and pale skin, etc.
If you are already on blood pressure medication, then consume walnut after having a word with your doctor to avoid the risk of food-drug intolerance.
Avoid salted walnuts as the sodium in them can elevate blood pressure and worsen the condition of hypertensive patients.
(3) Improves Cardiovascular Health
Walnuts promote cardiovascular health as they contain essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and arachidonic acids, and monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid.
Eating only 25 grams of walnuts per day fulfills 90 percent of the daily requirement of essential fatty acids.
These healthy fats and the dietary fibers in walnuts reduce LDL cholesterol ( bad cholesterol) and minimize the risk of atherosclerosis, a leading cause of several cardiovascular problems.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols, etc in walnut protect our cardiovascular system from free radical damage and improves its efficiency.
Potassium in walnuts relaxes blood vessels and provides relief from hypertension or high blood pressure that give rise to several cardiovascular and other health problems.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper, etc in walnut also contribute to our cardiovascular health.
(4) Improves Bone Health
Walnuts are loaded with bone-strengthening minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium, etc.
Calcium is a vital mineral for the growth and development of the bones, and lack of this mineral may increase the risk of bone disorders like osteoporosis.
Potassium neutralizes acid load, reduces loss of calcium from the bones, and thus improves bone density.
Magnesium also improves bone density and thus contributes to better bone health.
Manganese in walnuts increases calcium absorption and improves the bone mineral density of the spinal column.
The alpha-linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid in walnut strengthens bones by increasing the absorption and deposition of calcium. It reduces calcium loss during urination.
Anti-inflammatory compounds like omega fatty acids and vitamin C in walnut reduce pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis, a condition in which protective tissues at the ends of bones wear down.
Other nutrients like zinc, phosphorus, and folate, etc also aid in making our bones healthier.
(5) Improves Metabolism
Essential nutrients like manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, and selenium, etc, and essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids, etc in walnuts improve our metabolism.
A healthy metabolism plays an important role in various metabolic activities such as growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and synthesis of nutrients, and weight management, etc.
(6) Regulates Blood Sugar Level
Because of its low glycemic index of 15, walnut slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar level, and thus helps in managing diabetes.
The dietary fibers in the walnut slow down the rate at which sugar gets absorbed by the bloodstream and helps in controlling blood sugar levels.
As per research by Gillen et al. (2005) at the University of Australia, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in walnuts benefit diabetic patients.
As per an article titled, “The impact of nuts on diabetes and diabetes “, walnut reduces the risk of type-2 diabetes.
If you are on diabetic medication, consult your doctor before adding walnut to your diet to avoid the risk of food-drug intolerance.
Eating too many almonds while being on diabetic medication may drop blood sugar to an abnormally low level giving rise to symptoms like shakiness, dizziness, excessive sweating, excessive hunger, fast heartbeat, confusion, and irritability or moodiness.
(7) Minimize Cancer Risk
Walnuts contain antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc.
These compounds protect our cells from free radical damage and minimize the risk of several cancers like colon cancer, abdominal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, etc.
Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from the neighboring molecules, and doing so causes oxidative damage to them.
As per a 2010 research by the Carvalho et al., the University of Portugal, phenolic compounds in walnuts controls cancer cell development in humans.
As per a 2009 research volume published by the American Association For Cancer Research, consuming few walnuts every day reduces the risk of breast cancer.
(8) Provides Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Anti-inflammatory compounds like polyphenols and vitamin C in the walnut reduce pain and inflammation caused by inflammatory diseases like arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatoid, gouts, asthma and bronchial asthma, etc.
(10) Promotes Peaceful Sleep
Sleep plays an important role in keeping us healthy and not getting enough sleep can give rise to problems like poor concentration, high blood pressure, weak immunity, weight gain, risk of diabetes, low sex drive, and risk of cardiovascular problems, etc.
Walnut contains melatonin, the primary sleep hormone that induces sleep and regulates the sleep cycle.
Regularly eating soaked almonds at bedtime can put your sleep cycle back on track.
Other nutrients like B vitamins and magnesium etc in walnut also promotes healthy sleep.
(11) Helps In Weight Management
Eating an ounce of walnuts provide 190 calories of energy, 18 grams of fats, and 4 grams of carbohydrates.
Because of its high calorific value, it is best suited for those who would like to gain some extra pounds.
Healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts improve our cardiovascular health and boost metabolism for proper absorption of nutrients.
Even individuals who are on a weight loss journey can enjoy walnuts in moderation without worrying about weight gain.
As per research by the Sabat’e et al. (2005) at the Loma Linda University, California, individuals who ate about 35 grams of walnuts per day for one year, didn’t show any significant weight gain.
Whether you would like to gain weight or lose it, avoid salted walnuts as they are loaded with sodium that may increase the risk of hypertension, abdominal fat, kidney diseases, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular problems, etc.
(12) Controls Stress & Depression
Managing stress is important as otherwise, it can harm our physical, mental, and emotional health.
Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins like vitamin B6 and vitamin B9 in walnuts reduce stress and depression.
(13) Boost Immune System
Walnuts strengthen our immune system, the defense mechanism of our body that helps in the prevention and treatment of various microbial infections, diseases, and as well as injuries, and wounds.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in walnut protect our immune cells or the white blood cells from free radical damage and thus strengthens our immune system.
Vitamin C enhances the production of white blood cells, and further strengthens our immunity.
Omega-3 fatty acids in walnut influence the functioning of white blood cells and strengthen our immunity.
With stronger immunity, our risk of getting a cough, cold, fever, and flu diminishes significantly.
The anti-microbial properties of walnuts reduce the risk of various bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
Other nutrients like zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, and folate, etc in walnut also contribute to better immune health.
(14) Improves Neurological Health
Walnuts improve our neurological health and are good for the brain.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in the walnut protects our brain cells or the neurons from free radical damage, and thus minimizes the risk of various neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amnesia, and dementia, etc.
Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts slow down the age-related mental decline and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Other nutrients like iron, potassium, zinc, iron, and magnesium, etc in the walnut also contribute to neurological health as they provide several cognitive benefits like a sharper memory, better focus, improved concentration, and reduced mental confusion, etc.
(15) Maintains Healthy Pregnancy
Essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, etc make walnut beneficial during pregnancy.
Vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols etc in walnut protect the uterus and the fetus developing in the womb from free radical damage.
Folate or folic acid in it promotes the brain development of the fetus and minimizes the risk of neural tube defects and spina bifida.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, choline, and manganese, etc also play an important role in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Walnuts regulate blood sugar and minimize the risk of gestational diabetes.
Consult your doctor before adding walnut to your diet to avoid food-drug intolerance and ensure the safety of both pregnant women and the fetus developing in them.
(16) Improves Digestive Health
Walnuts improve our digestive health as they contain dietary fibers, the natural laxatives that improve bowel movement, aids in stool elimination, and thus relieve constipation and other gastrointestinal issues like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating, and flatulence, etc.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in walnut protect our digestive system from free radical damage and minimizes the risk of colon cancer, abdominal cancer, pancreatic cancer, intestinal cancer, and stomach cancer, etc.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, and folate, etc also improves our digestive health.
Beauty Benefits Of Walnuts For Skin
Some major beauty benefits of walnuts for skin are as follows.
(1) Provides Anti-Ageing Benefits
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in walnut protects our skin cells from the free radical damage, and keep various signs of premature aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, and skin blemishes, etc at bay.
Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from the neighboring molecules, and in doing so they cause oxidative damage to them.
Vitamin C enhances the production of collagen, an amino acid that maintains skin elasticity and prevents wrinkles and saggy skin.
(2) Moisturize Skin
Vitamin E, an essential nutrient in walnuts moisturizes our skin and prevents it from becoming dry and flaky.
Regularly massaging the skin with warm walnut oil nourish our skin, and makes it soft, supple, and radiant.
(3) Reduce Dark Circles And Puffy Eyes
Walnut oil lightens our skin and brings out the natural glow of the skin because of its antioxidantal properties.
Applying warm ( not too warm) walnut oil on the dark circles lightens them and gives a soothing effect to the eyes.
Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C in walnut oil reduces inflammation, relax our eyes, and disappear puffy eyes.
(4) Provides Glowing Skin
Essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, etc. in walnuts nourish our skin, improves skin health, and make it soft, supple, and radiant.
Antioxidants and relevant compounds in walnut protect our skin from free radical damage and brings out skin’s natural glow.
Apply it on the face and after 15-20 minutes wash off with warm water while massing it in a circular motion.
Regular use lighten skin tone, moisturizes skin, and diminishes wrinkles.
Beauty Benefits Of Walnuts For Hair
(1) Make Our Hair Strong And Lustrous
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and polyphenolic compounds as well as essential fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids, linoleic acid, oleic acid, etc in walnut oil make our hair strong and lustrous.
Eating walnuts also help as they provide essential nutrients for maintaining our hair and scalp health.
(2) Reduce Baldness Risk
Regularly massaging hair follicles and scalp with walnut oil improve scalp health, strengthen hair follicles, and reduces the risk of baldness because of vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, oleic acid, and linoleic acid, etc in walnuts.
(3) Aids In Treating Dandruff
Walnut helps in treating dandruff, a common scalp problem that affects millions of people around the world and is mainly caused by poor scalp health.
Antioxidants like vitamin C and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in the walnut protect our hair follicles and scalp from free radical damage and make them healthy.
Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential fatty acids like linoleic acid and oleic acid, etc in walnuts nourish our hair follicles and scalp and minimize the risk of scalp problems like dandruff, etc.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, vitamin B complex, and vitamin A also helps.
(4) Improve Scalp Health And Keep Scalp Acne At Bay
Massaging our hair follicles and scalp with walnut oil improves scalp health and strengthens our hair follicles as it contains essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and essential fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids, oleic acid, and linoleic acid, etc in it.
Because of its anti-fungal properties, walnut oil helps in treating scalp infections triggered by ringworm.
Walnut oil also helps in preventing and treating scalp acne.
Acne is a common skin problem that affects millions of people around the world and is mainly caused by the accumulation of toxins, pollutants, dirt, impurities, and other unwanted substance within the skin pores.
It can also break out on the scalp and is then known as scalp acne.
The dietary fibers in walnut eliminate toxins, pollutants, and other impurities from our system.
When there are fewer toxins, they are less likely to accumulate in skin pores, and thus minimizes the risk of acne and scalp acne.
Dietary fibers also control the secretion of excess oil from skin glands and prevent scalp acne from worsening.
Vitamin E in walnut oil moisturizes our scalp, prevents scalp dryness, and reduces the risk of dandruff and other scalp problems.
(5) Maintains Natural Color And Shine of Hair
Massaging hair and scalp with walnut oil aids in retaining the natural color and shine of the hair because of essential fatty acids and natural protein in it.
This article provides general information about the topic and is not be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.