#HealthBytes: Like eating walnuts? Here are their surprising heath benefits
Walnuts are considered a healthy snack and are a part of several diet plans and cuisines all over the world. These nuts are energy-dense and high-calorie foods, and contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids called alpha-linolenic. Walnuts can be consumed in both raw and in roasted forms and are a healthy addition to the diets of vegans and vegetarians, who mostly rely on plant-based proteins.
Consuming walnuts as a part of the daily diet is linked with a healthy gut microbiome, increasing the number of healthy gut bacteria. Notably, a strong gut not just promotes good digestion, it also reduces the risk of obesity, heart diseases, and cancer.
Studies conducted on animals have found that polyunsaturated fat and polyphenols in walnuts may help reduce oxidative damage in the brain. Though there are no long-term studies regarding this in adults yet, observational studies have shown that older people who regularly ate walnuts have a better brain function, more mental flexibility, and better memory in comparison to those who did not.
Increased levels of bad cholesterol in the body can lead to several life-threatening heart diseases. Regular munching on walnuts has shown to decrease bad cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. A study conducted on 194 adults who ate 43 grams of walnuts every day for eight weeks showed a five percent decrease in LDL cholesterol and in total cholesterol levels.
Walnuts are a rich source of the mineral copper that is important for maintaining good bone mineral density. They also contain a high amount of manganese, an essential nutrient that helps in preventing osteoporosis, a condition where bones become more prone to fracture. Magnesium is another mineral present in walnuts that help in the formation of strong bones.