Walnut Nutrition & Scientific Research

California walnuts are a whole food contributing many beneficial nutrients to the diet. For example, walnuts are the only nut to contain a significant amount of the plant-based omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid (2.5 g/oz of English walnuts or 9g in 100g quantity). Walnuts also offer protein, fiber and a good source of magnesium.

Walnuts’ unique nutrient profile also makes it easy to meet the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines encourage a healthy eating pattern emphasizing nutrient-dense, plant-based foods and includes a variety of protein sources, including nuts and seeds, seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes and soy products.

The Dietary Guidelines also emphasize the importance of reducing saturated fat intake to less than 10% of calories per day and shifting food choices from those containing saturated fats to those with polyunsaturated fats. Walnuts are predominantly composed of polyunsaturated fat (13 out of 18 grams of total fat per 1 ounce serving), making them an ideal food to help Americans meet this recommendation.

To date, clinical research has been conducted in the areas of heart health, diabetes, cognitive function, aging, cancer and bone health. More information on these studies can be found here.

Walnuts in Bowl

Nutrients in 100g of English Walnuts

With a powerhouse of important nutrients, delicious taste and satisfying crunch – walnuts offer unlimited versatility to a range of product categories from baked goods, desserts, confections, and spreads/sauces to meat alternatives.

Walnuts & Heart Health

Since 1993, published research has reported how eating walnuts affects various heart health biomarkers and risk markers including:

  • LDL and HDL cholesterol
  • Apolipoprotein B and non-HDL cholesterol
  • Blood pressure
  • Inflammation
  • Endothelial function
  • Plaque formation

Due to the evidence supporting the cardiovascular benefits of walnuts, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved one of the first qualified health claims for a whole food in March of 2004: “Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” 1

California walnuts are certified by the American Heart Association® with
the Heart-Check mark.*

Please note the Heart-Check Food Certification does not apply to scientific research by an organization other than the AHA unless expressly stated. For more information, see the AHA nutrition guidelines at: heartcheckmark.org/guidelines.

Walnut Heart Health

*Heart-Check food certification does not apply to recipes unless expressly stated. See heartcheckmark.org/guidelines.

1Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. (FDA) One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid – the plant-based omega-3.

Walnuts & Healthy Aging

Although there is no way to prevent diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, people of all ages can take steps to improve overall health and well-being. Findings from studies suggest that including walnuts as part of a healthy diet may play a role in physical and cognitive health as people age.

Spelt Salad Walnuts Asparagus

Walnuts & Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

Individuals with diabetes or metabolic syndrome often have conditions such as high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, high triglycerides and obesity. Together, these disorders increase the risk for heart disease and stroke. Scientists have looked at the association between walnut consumption and these conditions. Contributing evidence shows the importance of walnuts as part of a healthy diet that may help manage factors associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Walnuts & The
Mediterranean Diet

There are various forms of the Mediterranean diet which emphasizes more fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds (including walnuts), grains, olive oil, moderate amounts of fish, poultry, eggs and wine, and limits the amounts of red meat, processed meat, dairy and sweets. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a Mediterranean-style eating pattern as one example of a healthy diet plan.

Walnut Cluster

Walnuts & Gut Health

Research on the gut microbiome and its impact on health continues to grow, and scientists are finding that certain foods may contribute to positive changes in the gut. Although there is still much to learn, emerging research suggests that walnuts may play a role in gut health.

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