Thanks to being a great anti-inflammatory food and the polyphenol antioxidants, walnuts nutrition benefits immune function and can help prevent cancer formation. Some research has shown walnuts are part of a diet that acts like a natural cancer treatment. In 2013, researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center investigated whether a standard mouse diet supplemented with walnuts reduced the establishment and growth of human prostate cancer cells. They found that the walnut-enriched diet reduced the number of tumors and the growth significantly and that the final average tumor size in the walnut-diet animals was roughly one-fourth the average size of the prostate tumors in the mice that ate the control diet!
Walnuts are also a superfood that might slow aging. Walnuts’ omega-3 fats are also important for supporting memory and thought processing. Many of the same populations that suffer from higher incidences of depression due to a lack in essential omega-3s also fall victim to cognitive decline. This includes age-related conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairments. When researchers from the Department of Biochemistry and Neurology at the University of Karachi evaluated the effects of walnuts on learning and memory in mice, they found significant improvements in learning and memory of walnut-treated mice compared to controls. Mice given walnuts also exhibited a significant decrease in food intake, although this didn’t have negative effects on their normal development. An analysis of their brains showed enhanced neurotransmitter function, protection against damage and improvements in nerves controlling metabolism.
Walnuts effectively help alleviate hunger and are naturally nutrient-dense, meaning you consume many essential vitamins, minerals and fats when you eat them, but all for a relatively small percentage of your daily calories. Walnuts have compounds that burn belly fat, since they’re chock-full of fatty acids and some protein, too, both of which help make you feel full. This is important for curbing food cravings, especially for things like sugar and refined carbohydrates. Though walnuts are calorie-dense, clinical dietary intervention studies show that walnut consumption doesn’t cause a net gain in body weight when eaten as a replacement food. When you’re lacking in fatty acids, protein, fiber or other essential nutrients found in walnuts, it’s much harder for the body to stay at a steady weight, control blood sugar levels, regulate insulin and appetite, and balance cholesterol. While sugary snacks can be thought of as metabolism death foods, a one-ounce serving of walnuts, or about a fourth of a cup, eaten between or with meals can help balance blood sugar, improve cognitive function and stop you from overeating later on.
Keep in mind that walnuts act like a natural appetite-controller, but it might be best to try subbing in walnuts for some other high-fat foods that aren’t providing you as many benefits — for example, processed lunch meats and vegetable oils.
According to many studies, walnuts nutrition benefits cardiovascular health by keeping arteries clear, improving circulation, balancing cholesterol levels and lowering disease-causing inflammation. One 2012 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that walnut consumption has positive effects on lowering risks for metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Omega-3s found in walnuts support optimal brain function on a number of levels. Walnuts work as a natural remedy for depression as essential fats are directly used to create cells’ outer membranes and help with neurotransmitter function. Omega-3 fats help to form the soft, fluid outer-lining of cells that gives them the ability to communicate with each other. This is crucial for allowing the movement of “feel-good” neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin, to flow into and out of cells. Without enough of the right kinds of fats in your diet, neurotransmitter function suffers and many people feel the effects in rising feelings of anxiety, chronic stress, cravings, fatigue and mood swings. This is why fats are crucial for fighting depression and anxiety with nutrition.
Eating walnuts has been claimed to improve sleep quality as they are one of the best food sources of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin The fatty acid makeup of walnuts may also contribute to better sleep. They provide ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid that’s converted to DHA in the body. DHA may increase production of serotonin, a sleep-enhancing brain chemical. Unfortunately, the claims about walnuts improving sleep are not supported by much evidence. In fact, there have not been any studies that focus specifically on walnut’s role in promoting sleep. Regardless, if you struggle with sleep, eating some walnuts before bed may help. About a handful of walnuts is an adequate portion.
These tasty little nuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids, something your body desperately needs but unfortunately can't produce on its own. When it come to your skin, omega-3s work to protect your cell membranes. When the membranes are strong, harmful agents are kept out, nutrients are allowed to enter in and waste products are eliminated from the cell. In addition, strong cell membranes retain more water, leading to moister, smoother skin.