Walnut Nutrition: 11 Health Benefits of Walnuts

Ready to ditch brain fog, improve heart health and even have a baby sooner? Eat walnuts!

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Bowl with tasty walnuts on color table
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Help Lower Cholesterol

Snacking on a handful of walnuts can lower the amount of fat in your blood. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that incorporating walnuts into your diet can lower cholesterol levels. Participants in the study saw a 4% drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol after adding more healthy walnut recipes to their diets.

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Walnuts in woman hands on white background.
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Support a Healthy Heart

Walnuts are rich in healthy fats that can improve your heart health. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that people who regularly ate nuts like walnuts had a 37% lower risk for heart disease than those who didn’t. Get all your healthy fats in one delicious bite when you make this crispy walnut-crusted salmon!

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Woman using a big knife to chop walnuts
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Build Stronger Bones

Strengthen your bones and build collagen with a handful of walnuts every day. Walnuts are rich in vitamins like copper, manganese and magnesium; these nutrients are essential to maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis. Magnesium also helps your body absorb calcium, so try tossing some chopped walnuts over your morning parfait.

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Crunchy almond and oatmeal granola in jar with yogurt kiwi granola parfait in glasses on the side, photographed overhead on slate with natural light (Selective Focus, Focus on the top of the granola and the parfaits)
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Say Goodbye to Gallstones

A 2004 study found that women who regularly eat walnuts and other nuts are at lower risk for gallbladder disease and at a significantly lower risk of needing to have their gallbladders removed. To start incorporating more nuts into your diet, swap your lunchtime turkey sandwich for this sweet and crunchy apple walnut salad.

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Walnuts on white wooden table
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Manage Weight

Walnuts are loaded with healthy fats, protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied. This might be why they’re associated with maintaining a healthy weight. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who rarely ate nuts like walnuts had a higher risk of weight gain than the nut lovers. Try sprinkling some over your healthy side dishes, like roasted green beans with lemon and walnuts.

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Assorted dried fruits
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Give Skin a Healthy Glow

The healthy fats found in walnuts won’t just protect your heart and blood vessels; they’ll plump up your skin, too. Omega-3 fatty acids help skin cells retain moisture, giving your skin a smooth glow. Walnuts can also help fight inflammation, which means less redness and irritation. They may even help protect your skin against the sun’s UV rays.

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Breakfast of berries and walnuts in a vintage bowl, fork and red striped linen.
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Prevent Cancer

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, all nuts support a healthy diet, but walnuts are especially beneficial. The combination of nutrients in walnuts can lower inflammation and reduce oxidative stress that can lead to cancer in the body. Give your cells a boost of antioxidants by serving this vibrant berry beet salad with dinner.

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Baked Acorn Squash with Blueberry-Walnut Filling
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Manage Diabetes Complications

According to researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, people with diabetes who regularly ate certain types of nuts (including walnuts) had a lower risk of heart disease and stroke than those who didn’t. Cut carbs and up your nutrients at dinner by substituting this acorn squash with blueberry walnut filling instead of rice or bread.

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Bowl of walnuts on table
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Improve Gut Health

A study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that eating walnuts can increase the number of good bacteria in your gut, which may prevent chronic disease and strengthen the immune system.

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Hands of young man cracking nut with nutcracker at home. Healthy diet
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Help Reproductive Health

Ready to grow your family? Reach for the walnuts. Researchers from the UCLA School of Nursing discovered that when men eat about two handfuls of walnuts each day, they had a boost in fertility and sperm health. Skip the romantic spaghetti and meatballs on date night, and enjoy a bowl of bow ties with walnut herb pesto instead.

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Preparing cookies in domestic kitchen
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Boost Brainpower

Need to power through some afternoon brain fog? The polyunsaturated fats in walnuts have been associated with improved brain health and function, as well as improving your mood. So next time you’re studying or working on a report, pass on the chips and snack on crunchy rosemary walnuts for a focus-boosting treat.

Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.