1) May Lower Cholesterol: Walnuts are one of the richest food sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid. A 2009 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the effects of walnuts and fatty fish on coronary heart disease. Both of these food sources are rich in different types of Omega-3 fatty acids. The research showed that walnuts were more effective at lowering LDL "bad" cholesterol in healthy patients than fatty fish.
2) Ideal Balance of Essential Fatty Acids: The 1999 Lyon Diet Heart Study demonstrated the importance of having a balanced intake of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA), which have been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and cancer mortality. Walnuts are one of the few foods that contain an ideal balanced EFA ratio of 4:1. The typical American diet can be in excess of 16:1 or more, which can increase the risk of chronic diseases.
3) Antioxidant Powers: A 2012 study published in the journal Food & Function found that walnuts contained the highest total polyphenols from an analysis of nine different types of raw and roasted nuts. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant that have been linked to the prevention of degenerative diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases and cancers.
4) Stress Relief: Findings from a 2010 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition demonstrated that supplementing the diet of adults with elevated LDL cholesterol levels with walnuts and walnut oil reduced blood pressure both at rest and during times of stress.
5) Reduce Blood Pressure: Walnuts are a natural food source of the amino acid L-arginine, which has been linked to reducing blood pressure. A 2010 study published in the journal Medical Science Monitor found that L-arginine supplementation plays an important role in blood pressure reduction. High blood pressure can lead to serious conditions like heart disease.