Health benefits of walnuts

Walnuts: the 5-star health food 

Walnuts score a perfect five out of five under the new Australian Government Health Star Rating system. This is because walnuts are naturally low in sugars and sodium, and packed with nutrients: healthy fats (plant omega-3 ALA), protein, fibre, antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals – folate, thiamin, magnesium, potassium, manganese and copper.

Enjoying a handful of nuts (35g) as part of a healthy diet every day will contribute:

  • Protein – needed for growth and repair of tissues such as bones, muscles and skin as well as being a plant protein source for vegetarians

  • Fibre – keeping you regular and helping control appetite

  • Plant omega 3s called Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA) – just four or five walnuts a day can provide 100 per cent of daily adult ALA needs

  • Antioxidants – which protect cells against free radical damage (polyphenols, copper, manganese)

  • Nutrients for energy production – thiamin, copper, manganese, magnesium

  • Nutrients for brain and neurological function – magnesium, copper, folate, thiamin

  • Folate – needed during pregnancy and for blood formation

  • Arginine an amino acid and polyphenol antioxidants – both help keep blood vessels elastic.

A healthy diet low in sodium, but with a variety of foods such as walnuts, can help reduce blood pressure and contribute to heart health. 

A 35g serve of raw walnuts contains 1mg sodium and 154mg of potassium. (A 35g serve of walnuts equals about 10 walnut kernels or five walnuts in-shell.)

This may help explain why a large, long-term Mediterranean diet study called PREDIMED, which included a 30g handful of nuts every day (15g as walnuts), found similar effects for heart health.

Download (PDF) a comprehensive walnut fact sheet (source: Nuts for Life), with detailed nutrition information and an outline of the many health benefits of walnuts. 

Read more:

Why eat walnuts

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