Study: Eating Walnuts Reduces Cardiovascular Disease Risks and Enhances Longevity


Walnuts can help prevent cardiovascular disease, as further confirmed by a new study published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases. Young people who eat walnuts regularly are more likely to maintain better physical health in middle age, less likely to be obese, and have a lower risk of contracting cardiovascular disease, researchers found.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is believed that walnuts can nourish the kidneys, refresh the brain, and prolong life. Numerous scientific studies have also confirmed some of these protective effects.

Walnuts Lower Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

From 1985, the researchers tracked the eating habits of 3,092 healthy young adults—aged 18 to 30—for 20 years and recorded their health indexes over a span of 30 years.

Participants were separated into three groups—walnut eaters, those who ate other nuts, and those who did not eat nuts.

The study found that participants who ate walnuts during their younger years had better physical health indexes than those who did not. They had lower indexes in parameters such as body weight, waistline, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels—all of which affect cardiovascular disease risk.

Although the study demonstrated that eating nuts other than walnuts is also beneficial, the walnut eaters were less likely to be obese than those who ate other nuts.

After 30 years, the walnut-only eaters had lower body mass index (BMI), a less visible waistline, and better weight index ​​than those who ate other nuts—which put them at a lower risk for cardiovascular disease than those who ate other nuts.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 100 gm (3.52 ounce) of walnuts contain:

  • 15.2 gm (0.54 ounce) of protein.
  • 6.7 gm (0.24 ounce) of dietary fiber.
  • 65.2 gm (2.3 ounces) of fat.

Most of the fats in walnuts are polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (9.1gm /0.32 ounces) and linoleic acid (38.1gm/1.34 ounces), which help lower cholesterol. In particular, alpha-linolenic acid is not an ingredient in most other nuts.

Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have also found that the healthy fat in walnuts can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Walnuts Decrease the Risk of Brain Disease

Walnuts have a brain-boosting effect. A study published in Nutrients found that walnuts are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties, which can improve cognitive performance, reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, and slow down disease deterioration. It can also reduce the risk of other brain disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and depression.

One of the benefits of walnuts in enhancing brain health is their ability to reduce free radicals in the human body. Free radicals are chemically unstable and can damage cells by reacting chemically with lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids within the cells. When there are too many free radicals in the body, it will accelerate aging. The brain is especially vulnerable to the effects of free radicals in this respect.

survey of more than 15,000 women over the age of 70 found that those who ate at least five ounces of nuts a week were cognitively younger by two years than those who did not. The results were published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging.

Research by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found that eating a daily supplement of walnuts can improve cognitive performance in both the young and the old. The results have been published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging.

Walnuts Nourish the Kidneys and Strengthen the Brain

The role of walnuts in strengthening the brain is highly regarded by TCM. Hu Naiwen, a Chinese medicine practitioner from Shanghai Tongdetang in Taiwan, said in the NTDTV program: “Walnuts look very similar to the brain. In TCM, it believes that things of the same/similar shape can complement the well-being of each other. So, it is not surprising to find walnuts can complement the brain. In this respect, we can also see TCM is fascinating.”

In the theory of TCM, the brain and the central nervous system (CNS) need the nourishment of the kidney essence, and walnuts have the effect of tonifying the kidney and strengthening the essence.

“Essence” in TCM is a highly nourished liquid stored inside the internal organs. Essence includes living substances inherited from the parents and the nutrients acquired after birth. The continuous consumption of essence results in aging—and eating walnuts can replenish the kidney essence, and nourish the brain with a longevity effect.

The latest research published in the American Journal of Nephrology also confirmed that eating walnuts benefit the kidneys by reducing the risk of chronic kidney disease. Patients with chronic kidney disease who eat walnuts have a lower mortality rate.

Walnuts Are an Excellent Tonic for the Elderly

In an interview with The Epoch Times, Japanese TCM physician He Xia recommended walnuts as a healthy food supplement, especially for the elderly. Dr. He recommends the elderly eat one or two walnuts in the morning and evening to help offset symptoms such as dizziness, insomnia, palpitations, forgetfulness, and loss of appetite. Consuming walnuts over a prolonged period can also improve hair color, shine, and condition.

For insomniacs, the thin walnut sheath is also valuable medicinally. This sheath is a thin piece of leaf-like structure sandwiched between the walnut kernels found after the walnut is cracked open.

He suggested that people who suffer from stress, insomnia, and dreamy sleep can soak walnut sheaths in hot water before drinking. Take about 3 gm (0.1 ounce) of the walnut sheaths, brew them in hot water, wait for about 10 minutes and then drink. One glass in the morning and one in the evening before bed is highly effective for relieving insomnia symptoms.

Important Notice: This article was originally published at by Weber Lee and Ellen Wan where all credits are due.


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