Walnuts, these nuts contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (good fats), as well as omega-3s, manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, vitamin E, and B.
They are also an excellent source of protein and fiber. Thanks to their rich nutrient content, walnuts provide a wide range of health benefits. But, those with diabetes have doubts about whether they should consume or avoid them.
We give the answer to that question by explaining walnuts’ best health benefits.
Health Benefits of Walnuts
1. Heart Health
The high omega-3 content in walnuts helps reduce inflammation in the body, thus protecting against heart disease, arthritis, and other chronic diseases.
Those with diabetes usually have high levels of triglycerides and low levels of good cholesterol. However, omega-3s can increase their good cholesterol levels, and reduce their triglyceride levels.
So, that’s one reason why such people should eat walnuts. Studies suggest that eating even 1-2 ounces of walnuts daily can improve cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular markers in those with the condition.
In fact, the British Journal of Nutrition published a study that says eating nuts at least 4 times a week reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by 37%.
2. Weight Management
People might be surprised to read that walnuts help the weight loss process as they are high in calories. But, it seems they don’t affect the body mass index or body fat.
The BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care published a study that discovered that eating 2 servings of walnuts a day (366 calories) for half a year improved the overall diet quality, LDL and total cholesterol levels, and endothelial function in people at risk of the condition.
What’s more, the participants had no changes in their BMI and body fat. Also, the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition published research that claims eating nuts on a regular basis can raise resting energy expenditure.
In fact, diets of a lower size that include nuts in moderate amounts have shown to be more efficient than those which exclude them.
Moreover, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study that shows women who ate nuts at least twice a week had a lesser incidence of weight gain than those who consumed them rarely.
Walnuts can increase specific good bacteria strains and enrich the gut microbiome. Still, more research is needed to prove walnuts’ benefits on overall digestion.
4. Bone health
Severe deficiency of copper increases the risk of osteoporosis as this mineral affects bone mineral density. Walnuts, being an excellent source of copper, can help us get sufficient amounts of this mineral to help prevent and treat osteoarthritis.
What’s more, copper helps maintain the major structural components of the body – collagen and elastin. So, a lack of copper could lead to joint dysfunction.
Also, the high levels of manganese together with the copper and calcium in walnuts can help prevent osteoporosis. Magnesium, on the other hand, helps the bones absorb calcium, thus ensuring proper bone formation.
5. Brain Health
The high levels of polyunsaturated fats and phytochemicals in walnuts support the function and health of the brain. Their omega-3 content helps lower oxidative stress in the brain and enhance brain signaling and neuron formation.
Besides the good fats, walnuts contain folate, vitamin E, and ellagic acid which improve memory function and neuroprotection.
6. Boost Mood
Walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which are vital for the function and development of the central nervous system. In fact, research shows that omega-3s can help improve mood disorders, such as depression.
And, as we may know, the condition is linked to depression, so this is another reason why people should eat more walnuts.
Walnuts offer impressive health benefits, many of which are connected to diabetes. By reducing the risk of heart disease, and improving weight management and mood, walnuts reduce the risk of some of the most common complications of the above-mentioned condition.