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Walnuts have health advantages, including bettering brain and heart health, according to research

Research suggests that plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid -2.5 grams/28g may contribute to heart health, cognitive health, and healthy ageing, and walnuts are the only tree nut that provides such a supply.

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Those who ate walnuts as children were more likely to be physically active as adults, eat healthier overall diets, and have reduced risk factors for heart disease, according to a study that analysed 30 years of physical & medical measurements and looked back 20 years into participants’ dietary histories. These surprising results were discovered in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (CARDIA), a massive study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to examine the development of risk factors for cardiovascular disease over time. 

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This long-term study is one of the few to demonstrate that incorporating a spoonful of heart-healthy walnuts into one’s diet regularly can serve as a gateway to other healthful lifestyle choices. The findings also support the idea that walnuts, when consumed in moderation by young and middle-aged adults, can positively affect some risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health point to the unique combination of nutrients contained in walnuts as a possible reason for the results of their study, which appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrition, Metabolism, & Cardiovascular Diseases. 

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Research suggests that plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid – 2.5 grams/28g may contribute to heart health, cognitive health, and healthy ageing, and walnuts are the only tree nut that provides such a supply. In addition to providing a good supply of magnesium, 4 grammes of protein, 2 grammes of fibre, and other key nutrients are included in just one serving of walnuts (28g), which is about a handful (45 milligrams). Walnuts, in particular, are rich in antioxidant polyphenols.

Lyn M. Steffen, PhD, MPH, RD, lead researcher on CARDIA and professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, says, “Those who consume walnuts appear to have a distinct body phenotype, which is associated with various advantages for health, such as a higher standard of nutrition, particularly if they begin eating walnuts at a young age and continue doing so well into middle age.” as the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes elevates.”

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Walnuts are a heart-healthy “carrier foodstuff” that can be incorporated into any meal, and this research is one of the longest to demonstrate that doing so may improve overall diet quality. 

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