Walnuts Nutrition Facts | 8 Health Benefits of Nuts

They're delicious, convenient, and can be used in all diets from keto to vegan.

Despite their high fat content, they have a number of impressive health and weight benefits.

Here are 8 main health benefits of eating nuts.

What are nuts?

Nuts are seed kernels that are widely used in cooking or as a snack. They are high in fat and calories.

They contain a hard, inedible outer shell that usually needs to be cracked in order to free the core. Health Benefits of Walnuts

Fortunately, most nuts can be purchased at the store, peeled and ready to eat.

Here are some of the most commonly consumed nuts:

  • almond
  • Brazilian nut
  • Cashew
  • Hazelnut
  • Macadamia nuts
  • pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • pistachios
  • walnuts

Although peanuts are technically a legume such as peas and beans, they are commonly referred to as nuts because of their similar nutritional profile and characteristics.

Nuts are edible seed kernels with a high fat content surrounded by a hard shell. They are widely eaten as a snack or used in cooking.

1. An excellent source of many nutrients

Nuts are very nutritious. One ounce (28 grams) of nut mixture contains:

  • Caloric value : 173 kcal
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Fat: 16 grams, including 9 grams of monounsaturated fat.
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Vitamin E: 12% 
  • Magnesium: 16% 
  • Phosphorus: 13% 
  • Copper: 23% 
  • Manganese: 26% 
  • Selenium: 56% 

Some nuts are higher in certain nutrients than others. For example, just one Brazil nut provides more than 100% of the RDA for selenium 

The carbohydrate content of nuts varies greatly. Hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and Brazil nuts contain less than 2 grams of digestible carbs per serving, while cashews have almost 8 digestible carbs per serving.

That being said, nuts are generally excellent food for a low-carb diet.

Nuts are high in fat, low in carbohydrates, and are an excellent source of several nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium.

2. Contains antioxidants

Nuts are powerful antioxidants.

Antioxidants, including the polyphenols in nuts, can fight oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals, unstable molecules that can cause cell damage and increase the risk of disease.

One study found that walnuts have a greater ability to fight free radicals than fish.

Research shows that the antioxidants found in walnuts and almonds can protect the delicate fats in your cells from oxidative damage.

In one study of 13 people, eating walnuts or almonds increased polyphenol levels and significantly reduced oxidative damage when compared to a control meal.

Another study found that 2-8 hours after consuming whole pecans, participants experienced a 26-33% reduction in oxidized "bad" LDL cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease.

However, studies in older adults and those with metabolic syndrome showed that walnuts and cashews did not have much effect on antioxidant capacity, although several other markers improved.

Nuts contain antioxidants known as polyphenols, which can protect your cells and "bad" LDL cholesterol from free radical damage.

3. May promote weight loss

Although they are considered high-calorie foods, research shows that nuts can help you lose weight.

One large study evaluating the impact of the Mediterranean diet   found that people who were told to eat nuts lost an average of 5 cm from their waist - significantly more than those who received olive oil.

In controlled studies, almonds have consistently been shown to promote weight loss rather than weight gain. Some studies show that pistachios can also help you lose weight.

In one study of overweight women, those who ate almonds lost almost three times as much weight and experienced significantly greater reductions in waist size compared to controls.

What's more, even though nuts are quite high in calories, research shows that your body does not absorb all of them, as some of the fat remains in the fibrous wall of the nut during digestion.

For example, while nutritional information on a package of almonds may indicate a 1 ounce (28 grams) serving contains 160–170 calories, your body only absorbs about 129 of those calories.

Likewise, recent studies have shown that your body absorbs approximately 21% and 5% fewer calories from walnuts and pistachios, respectively, than previously reported.

Nuts have been shown to promote weight loss rather than weight gain. Several studies show that your body does not absorb all of the calories in nuts.

4. May lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels

Nuts have an impressive effect on cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Pistachios have been shown to lower triglyceride levels in obese and diabetic people.

In one 12-week study of obese people, those who ate pistachios had almost 33% lower triglyceride levels than controls.

The ability of nuts to lower cholesterol levels may be related to their high content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Almonds and hazelnuts appear to raise good cholesterol while lowering total and bad cholesterol. One study found that chopped, chopped, or whole hazelnuts had a similar beneficial effect on cholesterol levels.

Another study in women with metabolic syndrome found that consuming a 30-gram mixture of walnuts, peanuts, and pine nuts per day for 6 weeks significantly reduced all types of cholesterol except "good" cholesterol. 

Several studies show that macadamia nuts can also lower cholesterol levels. In one trial, a moderate-fat diet, including macadamia nuts, lowered cholesterol levels as strongly as a low-fat diet.

Nuts can help lower total and bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing good HDL cholesterol.

5. Useful for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Type 2 diabetes is a common disease that affects hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of risk factors that can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Hence, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome are closely related.

Interestingly, nuts may be one of the best foods for people with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

First, they are low in carbohydrates and do not significantly raise blood sugar levels. Thus, replacing nuts with higher carbohydrate foods should lower blood sugar.

Research shows that eating nuts can also reduce oxidative stress, blood pressure, and other health indicators in people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

In a 12-week controlled study, people with metabolic syndrome who ate just under 25 grams of pistachios twice a day experienced an average 9% decrease in fasting blood sugar

Moreover, compared to the control group, the pistachio group had greater reductions in blood pressure and C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation associated with heart disease.

However, the evidence is mixed, and not all studies point to the benefits of nuts in people with metabolic syndrome.

Several studies have shown that blood sugar, blood pressure, and other health indicators are improved when people with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome include nuts in their diet.

6. May reduce inflammation.

Nuts have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Inflammation is your body's way of protecting itself from injury, bacteria, and other potentially harmful pathogens.

However, chronic, long-term inflammation can cause organ damage and increase the risk of illness. Research shows that eating nuts can reduce inflammation and promote healthy aging.

In a study on the Mediterranean diet, people who were fed nuts showed a 35% and 90% reduction in the inflammatory markers of C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin 6 (IL-6), respectively .

Likewise, certain nuts, including pistachios, brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds, have been found to fight inflammation in healthy people and those with serious medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease.

However, one study on almond consumption in healthy adults found little difference between the almond and control groups, although several inflammatory markers were reduced in those who ate almonds.

Research shows that nuts can reduce inflammation, especially in people with diabetes, kidney disease, and other serious medical conditions.

7. High in healthy fiber

Fiber has many health benefits.

While your body cannot digest fiber, bacteria living in the colon can.

Many types of fiber act as prebiotics  or food for healthy gut bacteria.

The gut bacteria then ferment the fiber and convert it into beneficial short-chain fatty acids  (SCFAs).

These SCFAs have powerful benefits, including improving gut health and reducing the risk of diabetes and obesity.

In addition, fiber helps you feel full and reduces the number of calories you absorb during meals. One study shows that increasing your fiber intake from 18 to 36 grams per day can result in 130 less calories.

Here are the nuts with the highest fiber content per 1 ounce (28 grams) serving:

  • Almonds: 3.5 grams
  • Pistachios: 2.9 grams
  • Hazelnuts: 2.9 grams
  • Pecan: 2.9 grams
  • Peanuts: 2.6 grams
  • Macadamia: 2.4 grams
  • Brazil nuts: 2.1 grams

Many nuts are high in fiber, which can lower your risk of disease, help you stay full, reduce the absorption of calories, and improve gut health.

8. May reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Nuts are very good for the heart.

Several studies show that nuts help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke due to their positive effects on cholesterol levels, "bad" LDL particle size, arterial function, and inflammation.

Studies have shown that small, dense LDL particles can increase the risk of heart disease to a greater extent than larger LDL particles.

Interestingly, one study on the Mediterranean diet found that people who ate nuts experienced significant reductions in small LDL particles and an increase in large LDL particles, as well as “good” HDL cholesterol levels.

In another study, people with normal or high cholesterol were randomly assigned to consume olive oil or nuts with a high-fat diet.

The people in the nut group had better arterial function and lower fasting triglycerides than the olive oil group, regardless of their baseline cholesterol levels

Nuts can significantly reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Eating nuts increases the particle size of the "bad" LDL cholesterol, increases the level of "good" HDL cholesterol, improves arterial function, and has a number of other benefits.

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