The A-Z Of Indian Superfoods: Walnut

A great source of good fats, protein and fibre, walnuts can enhance heart and bone health and a lot more. Read on to learn more about their benefits and how you can incorporate them into your diet.

By Shreya Maji
05 Dec 2021

Walnuts are single-seeded stone fruits that are native to North America, but grown worldwide in China, Iran, Turkey, Mexico and India. An important inclusion in the Mediterranean diet, walnuts have been studied for several decades for their nutritional benefits. In fact, the scientific interest in walnuts is so great there has been an annual conference at the University of California, Davis, USA, for the past 50 years simply to discuss the current research about this nut. Usually eaten raw or roasted, walnuts are loaded with healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals, making them a wholesome superfood.


Health Benefits of Eating Walnuts

Excellent source of vitamins and minerals

Walnuts are excellent sources of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B6 and E, copper, manganese, folic acid and phosphorus. In particular, walnuts contain a high level of gamma-tocopherol, a special form of vitamin E, which improves bone fracture healing and helps prevent osteoporosis.


Maintains heart health

A study published in 2018 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that incorporating walnuts into your diet can help reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels because of their high antioxidant levels. Research published in Diabetes Care in 2010 says that walnuts have positive benefits for endothelial function, which is the lining of the inside of your lymphatic and blood vessels. This reduces the risk of plaque build-up inside your arteries. Thus walnuts can have heart protective benefits.


Good for the brain

The phytochemicals and Omega-3 fatty acids present in walnuts offer potential health benefits for brain function. A 2012 study published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease shows that walnuts may improve memory in older adults and help with depression and age-related brain decline. Clinical evidence indicates that the Omega-3 fatty acids can help battle depression and certain mood disorders.


Supports a healthy digestive system

A study published in Nutrients in 2018 shows that consuming walnuts can enrich the gut microbiome, the community of beneficial microbes which live in our intestines, by enhancing probiotic and butyric-acid production.


May support cancer prevention

Walnuts contain many phytochemicals like phytosterols, gamma-tocopherol, ellagic acids and antioxidants. All of these plant compounds have anticancer properties. An observational study published in 2004 in the British Medical Journal shows that regular consumption of walnuts can help prevent colon and prostate cancer.


Uses of Walnuts

1. Add them to your diet

  • Soak 2-4 pieces of walnuts in water from anywhere between 30 minutes to overnight and have them every day. Soaking the walnuts will help to increase the absorption of nutrients and improve digestibility.
  • Start your day with an energising banana walnut smoothie. Blend ½ cup yoghurt, 2 peeled bananas, 2 tbsp honey, 6 walnuts (pounded into a paste), 1 tsp cinnamon and water as required.
  • Top your salads, oatmeal or cereal with chopped walnuts for some crunch.



  • Make pesto using basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and walnuts.
  • Try making an easy but delicious walnut loaf.



  • Add roasted walnuts to your pasta sauce for crunch and a delicious nutty flavour.


2. Make an exfoliating scrub

Adding walnuts to a DIY face scrub can make your skin soft and supple. The anti-inflammatory properties of walnuts can also help reduce skin inflammation. In a bowl, add 4-5 crushed walnuts, 2 tbsp of ground oats, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp milk and 1 tsp olive oil. Mix to form a thick paste, massage it onto your face and wash off after 5 to 10 minutes.


What to Keep in Mind

  • Walnut allergy: According to research published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy, walnuts are amongst the eight most common allergenic foods. A walnut allergy symptoms include itching or swelling in the mouth, wheezing, trouble swallowing, and in severe cases, anaphylaxis or allergic shock.
  • Risk of choking: Children might find it hard to bite through and properly chew on walnuts, making them a choking hazard. If your child is below 5 years of age, do not give them whole walnuts.
  • May interfere with thyroid medication: If you are taking medication for thyroid issues, check in with your general physician to confirm if walnuts are safe for you.


The above information has been verified by Dr Lakshmi K, Ph.D. Food Science & Nutrition, University of Georgia (USA), Head Nutritionist, URLife.



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