The Benefits of Walnuts
Walnuts are often ranked the top nut for having both more healthful antioxidants, called polyphenols, and a higher antioxidant potency than other nuts. They are also the only nut that contains a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid with heart and brain-health benefits. Here’s what else this champion nut can help with:
1. They boost brain power.
Research at UCLA found that eating walnuts daily may improve performance on cognitive function tests. The benefits included enhanced memory, improved concentration, and higher data processing speed.
2. They reduce cardiovascular risk.
Studies suggest that consumption of whole walnuts or their extracted oil can reducecardiovascular risk, by helping HDL — good cholesterol — perform more effectively in transporting and removing excess cholesterol from the body.
3. They protect against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Australian researchers discovered that walnuts have protective properties for treating nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
4. They help bone health.
Walnuts contain plant-based omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which may have a protective effect on bone health, according to a team of Penn State researchers.
5. They fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
A study conducted by the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities in New York showed that walnuts can improve memory deficits and learning skills and may also have a beneficial effect in reducing the risk, delaying the onset, and slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
6. They can improve male fertility.
UCLA researchers discovered that eating 2.5 ounces of walnuts per day improves semen quality in healthy young men.
7. They protect arteries against short-term damage.
One study showed that consuming a handful of raw walnuts along with meals high in saturated fat appears to limit the ability of the harmful fat to damage arteries. Walnuts helped to preserve the elasticity and flexibility of the arteries, allowing them to expand when needed to increase blood flow to the body.
The Benefits of Almonds
Despite the many health benefits of walnuts, almonds can also hold their own. Here’s what the latest scientific research says about this popular nut:
1. They can fight metabolic syndrome.
Almonds have a potential role in reducing obesity, reports a study from the City of Hope National Medical Center in California. A diet enhanced with almonds helped lower BMI, waist circumference, fat mass, and systolic blood pressure. The researchers concluded that almonds improved these markers of metabolic syndrome, a group of abnormalities that harm health and lead to diabetes.
2. They help with heart health.
Almonds are recognized by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy food for shoppers.
3. They improve insulin sensitivity.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey also found almonds to be effective in improving insulin sensitivity in adults with pre-diabetes.
4. They could enhance gut health.
The Institute of Food Research has identified potential prebiotic properties of almonds that could help improve our digestive health by increasing levels of beneficial gut bacteria, hence boosting the body’s immune system.