Nuts are never too far from the top when it comes to health food trends on social media, and walnuts are the latest tree nut to hog the social media limelight.
Nuts are popular in healthful eating plans that focus on wholesome, natural food sources as they are a source of vitamins, minerals and plant protein, contain healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and they are a calorie-dense food that offers a concentrated source of energy.
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Tremendous tree nut
Peanuts are the most common and cheapest nut in modern diets as they are the easiest and cheapest to farm. They also contain the most protein per serving, but peanuts are ground nuts and, as such, contains less fat and moderates amounts of carbohydrates.
Among the tree nuts, walnuts stand out for their good unsaturated fatty acid and protein content, which makes them a popular inclusion in plant-based diets,.
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All about walnuts
Walnuts are a top trending nut because they have a rich protein content. However, they do not have the highest protein content among all tree nuts (that honour goes to almonds).
Walnuts are a good source of fibre, which means they help to promote satiety and aid digestion, and are an excellent source of copper and manganese.
They are also naturally high in omega 3-fatty acids, particularly alpha linolenic acid, which may help to reduce inflammation and provide cardiovascular health benefits.
Numerous studies affirm that those who included walnuts in their diets improved their blood lipid profile.
A 2018 meta-analysis1 found that those who followed a walnut-enriched diet had lower total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and lower triglyceride and apoprotein B (a protein linked to cardiovascular disease) “without adversely affecting body weight or blood pressure”.
And walnuts also get a lot of attention online because they contain the hormone melatonin (and in amounts greater than other nuts)2, which means they may promote better sleep by increasing blood melatonin concentrations3.
You also find biotin (vitamin B7) in walnuts, which is a vitamin known to strengthen hair, reduce hair loss and improve hair growth, and aid energy production.
Nutritional info* (per 28 g serving):
- Protein: 4.3 g
- Fat: 18.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 3.9 g
- Calories: 186
- Fibre: 1.9 g
- Marta Guasch-Ferré, Jun Li, et al. Effects of walnut consumption on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors: an updated meta-analysis and systematic review of controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Jul; 108(1): 174–187. Published online 2018 Jun 21. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy091
- Antía Verde, Jesús M. Míguez, et al. Melatonin content in walnuts and other commercial nuts. Influence of cultivar, ripening and processing (roasting). Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. Volume 105, January 2022, 104180
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.