Thanks to a series of outstanding university studies conducted and published over the past fifteen years, the world is learning more and more about the exceptional health benefits of eating walnuts. Variously described as one of Dr. Steven Pratt's fourteen “SuperFoods,” “a powerhouse of goodness in a crunchy natural package,” and “rich in Omega 3,” walnuts offer healthy benefits for consumers across the globe.
Recently-published studies indicate walnuts provide benefits in the following areas:
A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reviews the heart health benefits of walnuts on 365 participants from several trials. When compared with control diets, diets supplemented with walnuts resulted in a significantly greater decrease (10.3 mg/dL) in total cholesterol (TC) and LDL "bad" cholesterol (-9.2 mg/dL). In addition, according to the studies in the analysis, walnuts provided significant benefits for certain antioxidant capacity and inflammatory markers and had no adverse effects on body weight.
Eating walnuts protects the heart against short-term damage from saturated fats. (Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology)
Among persons at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events. (Published in The New England Journal of Medicine)
The International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutritional Sciences, research from the University of Texas has proven that walnuts are a natural source of melatonin and, further, that walnuts are the richest known food source of melatonin. “The ingredients in walnuts would be expected to reduce the incidence of cancer, delay or make less severe neurodegenerative diseases of aging – including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease – and reduce the severity of cardiovascular disease,” according to Dr. Russel Reiter, PhD, and Professor of Neuroendocrinology at the University of Texas. Published in the September 2005 issue of Nutrition.
A 2009 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that walnuts, known for their high content of polyunsaturated fat (13g), significantly improve metabolic factors in overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes.
A study from The Pennsylvania State University, published in the Journal of Nutrition, shows that eating walnuts can significantly reduce C-reactive proteins and harmful plaque adhesion molecules in the arteries. Many people look to fish, such as salmon, for Omega-3's. However, Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, distinguished professor at Penn State and primary investigator for the study says, “The Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts were converted to the same Omega-3 fatty acids found in marine sources, and had a similar effect on inflammation.”
The Omega-3 content in walnuts far exceeds the Omega-3 content in all other tree nuts. Walnuts contain over 2.5 grams per ounce of Omega-3. The next highest nut source is pecans, which have only about 0.25 grams per ounce. This means walnuts have nearly ten times the amount of Omega-3 of the next highest tree nut. Almonds and Peanuts, by the way, have no Omega-3 at all.
In a landmark decision in March 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration delivered the strongest governmental endorsement of walnuts to date when it affirmed: “Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of walnuts, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”
Scientific studies showing how walnuts can help cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation: Walnuts Among Healthiest Foods Learn more
A Heart Healthy Snack
Lower Cholesterol Naturally
Walnuts & Cholesterol
Walnuts & Omega 3s
SuperFoods RX- The Wonder of Walnuts
Nut Consumption and Blood Lipid Levels
Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet
Walnuts contribute nutrients essential to a healthy lifestyle. Best of all, they taste great and are ideally suited for inclusion in any diet. Learn more
Walnuts are a tasty and nutritious treat, but did you know that they are also a smart food choice for people living with diabetes? Learn more
It turns out the good fat (2.5 grams ALA/omega 3s per ounce), fiber (2 grams per ounce) and protein (4 grams per ounce) in walnuts may aid in satiety, an important factor in successful weight management. Learn more
Scientists have come across a nutty risk reducer: Eating a handful of nuts a day for a year — along with a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish — may be beneficial to your health. Learn more
(Society of Neuroscience Study)
Consuming specific foods, being physically active, and engaging in social activities may help maintain and improve cognitive health. Learn more
Unique among nuts, walnuts contain the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, required by the human body. Learn more
Walnuts Among 5 Healthiest Snack Foods – Dr. Mao's Secrets of Longevity
Research Finds Walnuts Rank Highest in Antioxidant Content Among Nuts
Nutritional Benefits of Walnuts
Content of redox-active compounds (ie, antioxidants) in foods consumed in the United States
What's in nuts that's thought to be heart healthy? – Mayo Clinic