17 Research-Backed Health Benefits Of Walnuts For Good Health

benefits of walnuts for skin, hair, and health
benefits of walnuts for skin and hair

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“Milind, Parle, and Khanna Deepa. “Walnut: Not a Hard Nut t0 Crack.””

That there are many benefits of walnuts for skin, hair, and health is not surprising. Walnuts are among the best sources of protective nutrients, packed into a powerful little package.

1 oz walnuts (14 halves) meets



  • 185 Cal
  • 4.8 g protein
  • 27% fat daily value (of this 86% is healthy fats)
  • 7% dietary fiber
  • 11% magnesium
  • 4% iron
  • 10% vitamin B6

Giving you everything from B vitamins to omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and more, these odd brain-shaped nuts are better for your health than you’d imagine![ref]Nuts, walnuts, english. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.[/ref] Whether you’re looking for something to protect your heart, ward off cancer, slow aging, fight free radical damage, or just give you great looking skin and hair, look no further. Here are the benefits of walnuts for your health, skin, and hair.

1. Can Improve Heart Health

Walnuts have a component called ellagic acid which works against the accumulation of fat inside arteries.[ref]Papoutsi, Z., E. Kassi, I. Chinou, M. Halabalaki, L. A. Skaltsounis, and P. Moutsatsou. “Walnut extract (Juglans regia L.) and its component ellagic acid exhibit anti-inflammatory activity in human aorta endothelial cells and osteoblastic activity in the cell line KS483.” British Journal of Nutrition 99, no. 04 (2008): 715-722.[/ref] Fat deposits inside arteries, called plaque, harden over time and narrow your arteries, sometimes even rupturing and blocking blood flow entirely. This leads to high blood pressure and associated heart disorders like stroke or heart attack.


Inflammation also plays a big role in plaque buildup. This too can be addressed by walnuts as they contain omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and discourage plaque buildup. These fatty acids may also improve the functioning of endothelial cells lining the inner wall of the arteries, which help in regulating the widening and narrowing of the arteries, thereby modulating blood pressure.

Walnuts could also reduce incidents like irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) which could cause heart attacks or strokes. Which is why the American Heart Association recommends consuming walnuts as well as other omega-3 fatty acid rich foods to protect your heart.[ref]Kris-Etherton, Penny M., William S. Harris, and Lawrence J. Appel. “Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease.” (2003): 151-152.[/ref]


2. Can Slow Down Aging

Walnuts pack in a lot of antioxidants like polyphenolic compounds and flavonoids [ref]Regueiro, Jorge, Claudia Sánchez-González, Anna Vallverdú-Queralt, Jesús Simal-Gándara, Rosa Lamuela-Raventós, and Maria Izquierdo-Pulido. “Comprehensive identification of walnut polyphenols by liquid chromatography coupled to linear ion trap–Orbitrap mass spectrometry.” Food chemistry 152 (2014): 340-348.[/ref] which prevent untimely cell damage in your body caused by reactive molecules called free radicals. That’s how these nuts slow down aging.

3. Can Fight Cancer

Walnuts contain antioxidants like ellagic acid and ellagitannin[ref]Regueiro, Jorge, Claudia Sánchez-González, Anna Vallverdú-Queralt, Jesús Simal-Gándara, Rosa Lamuela-Raventós, and Maria Izquierdo-Pulido. “Comprehensive identification of walnut polyphenols by liquid chromatography coupled to linear ion trap–Orbitrap mass spectrometry.” Food chemistry 152 (2014): 340-348.[/ref] that can help suppress the formation of certain cancers like that of the colon. Ellagic acid is believed to bring on apoptosis or cell death of cancerous cells in the colon.[ref]Larrosa, Mar, Francisco A. Tomás-Barberán, and Juan Carlos Espín. “The dietary hydrolysable tannin punicalagin releases ellagic acid that induces apoptosis in human colon adenocarcinoma Caco-2 cells by using the mitochondrial pathway.” The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 17, no. 9 (2006): 611-625.[/ref]


Animal studies have also shown benefits in controlling breast, renal, and prostate cancers, and researchers suggest that you include walnuts in the diet to prevent cancer.[ref]Hardman, W. Elaine. “Walnuts have potential for cancer prevention and treatment in mice.” The Journal of nutrition 144, no. 4 (2014): 555S-560S.[/ref]

4. Can Improve Sperm Quality

Just adding half a cup of the nuts to your diet may help your overall semen quality, improving the number of sperms with normal shape and size (sperm morphology), their movement (motility), and ability to survive (vitality). This is possibly because walnuts increases the levels of omega-6 fatty acids and the ALA omega-3 fatty acids in the blood which are needed for healthy semen/sperm health.[ref]Robbins, Wendie A., Lin Xun, Leah Z. FitzGerald, Samantha Esguerra, Susanne M. Henning, and Catherine L. Carpenter. “Walnuts improve semen quality in men consuming a Western-style diet: randomized control dietary intervention trial.” Biology of reproduction 87, no. 4 (2012): 101.[/ref]


5. Can Support Brain Health

Walnuts can help with age-related deterioration of the brain, delaying the onset and slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.[ref]Muthaiyah, Balu, Musthafa M. Essa, Moon Lee, Ved Chauhan, Kulbir Kaur, and Abha Chauhan. “Dietary supplementation of walnuts improves memory deficits and learning skills in transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 42, no. 4 (2014): 1397-1405.[/ref] The nut contains nerve-protecting antioxidants like polyphenols, n-3 α-linolenic fatty acid, folate, and vitamin E which all prevent nerve damage caused by free radicals.

Even in young adults, it improves the ability to draw inferences from a wide set of generalized information – an ability known as inferential reasoning that is key to comprehension.[ref]Pribis, Peter, Rudolph N. Bailey, Andrew A. Russell, Marcia A. Kilsby, Magaly Hernandez, Winston J. Craig, Tevni Grajales, David J. Shavlik, and Joan Sabate. “Effects of walnut consumption on cognitive performance in young adults.” British journal of nutrition 107, no. 09 (2012): 1393-1401.[/ref]


6. Can Manage Type 2 Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, make walnuts a regular part of your diet and continue for a while. In one study, overweight type 2 diabetic adults ate quarter cup of walnuts every day for several months. Within just 3 months, they saw a significant drop in their fasting insulin levels,[ref]Tapsell, Linda C., M. J. Batterham, Grigorijs Teuss, Sze Yen Tan, S. Dalton, Cassandra J. Quick, Lynda J. Gillen, and Karen E. Charlton. “Long-term effects of increased dietary polyunsaturated fat from walnuts on metabolic parameters in type II diabetes.” European journal of clinical nutrition 63, no. 8 (2009): 1008-1015.[/ref] which says that their bodies were using insulin to control glucose levels more efficiently than before.

As both insulin resistance and diabetes are caused by low-grade inflammation (which is caused by immune response), this protection against them is thought to provided by walnut’s anti-inflammatory agents.[ref]Casas-Agustench, Patricia, Mònica Bulló, and Jordi Salas-Salvadó. “Nuts, inflammation and insulin resistance.” Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition 19, no. 1 (2010): 124-130.[/ref]


7. Can Improve Sleep Quality

Among other things, walnuts also contain melatonin, the hormone responsible for bringing on sleep. It was seen in animal studies that eating walnuts raised levels of blood melatonin in animal studies.[ref]Reiter, Russel J., L. C. Manchester, and Dun-xian Tan. “Melatonin in walnuts: influence on levels of melatonin and total antioxidant capacity of blood.” Nutrition 21, no. 9 (2005): 920-924.[/ref] Having melatonin-rich foods helps you fall asleep faster and better and reduces the number of times you wake up at night.[ref]Melatonin and Sleep. National Sleep Foundation.[/ref]

8. Can Reduce Inflammation And Improve Arthritis

Walnut is one of the foods recommended for those with arthritis, a condition which is marked by inflammation in the body, causing aching and swollen joints. Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce inflammation, and this can be proved by the reduction in markers like C-reactive protein after eating walnuts.[ref]Best Nuts and Seeds for Arthritis. Arthritis Foundation.[/ref]

9. Can Work As A Natural Antiperspirant

Walnut leaves contain tannin, an organic substance which reacts with proteins for a contracting or tightening effect. They can “shrink” sweat glands and reduce perspiration.[ref]Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for herbal healing. Penguin, 2002.[/ref] You can boil dried walnut leaves in water to make a decoction which will function as an antiperspirant wash.[ref]Walnut leaf. WholeHealth Chicago.[/ref] So say goodbye to chemical deodorants and let a walnut wash handle your sweaty armpits and feet.

10. Can Tighten Pores

The tannins in walnut leaves can have an astringent effect on your skin too. So if enlarged pores are causing you distress, use a walnut leaf wash for a pore-tightening effect to improve the texture of your skin.[ref]Michalun, M. Varinia, and Joseph C. DiNardo. Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary. Cengage Learning, 2014.[/ref]

11. Can Get Rid Of Pimples

Are those unsightly pus-filled zits on your face making you feel self-conscious? Walnut leaf extracts may be able to help. Acne is caused when sebaceous glands in our skin produce too much oil and stop up skin pores. The mix of oil and cells in clogged pores encourages the growth of bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). Your body reacts by setting up an inflammatory response and a lesion known as a pimple is formed.[ref]What Is Acne?. National Institutes of Health.[/ref] Extracts from walnut leaves have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects and work against acne-causing bacteria.[ref]Qa’dan, Fadi, Abdul-Jalil Thewaini, Dalia A. Ali, Rana Afifi, Abdalla Elkhawad, and Khalid Z. Matalka. “The antimicrobial activities of Psidium guajava and Juglans regia leaf extracts to acne-developing organisms.” The American Journal of Chinese Medicine 33, no. 02 (2005): 197-204.[/ref] So turn to walnut leaves for clear skin!

12. Can Keep Your Skin Soft And Supple

Walnut oil can have a hydrating and nourishing effect on your skin. It has a high concentration of linolenic acid which works as an emollient and fills in the spaces between skin cells to give you beautiful supple skin.[ref]9 ways to banish dry skin. Harvard Health Publications.[/ref] [ref]Michalun, M. Varinia, and Joseph C. DiNardo. Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary. Cengage Learning, 2014.[/ref]

13. Can Make A Great Facial Scrub

Walnut meal, that is ground walnut, has a mildly abrasive effect and can remove old damaged skin to improve the texture of your skin. If you’re looking for something stronger, say for those rough, hard bits of skin on your elbows or heels, then you might want to try a walnut shell powder.[ref]Michalun, M. Varinia, and Joseph C. DiNardo. Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary. Cengage Learning, 2014.[/ref]

14. Can Keep Wrinkles At Bay

The moisturizing and free radical scavenging capacity of walnut oil help it protect your skin from the effects of aging.[ref]Milind, Parle, and Khanna Deepa. “Walnut: Not a Hard Nut t0 Crack.”[ref] It also contains vitamin E which reduces the inflammatory damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun.[ref]Zhai, H., S. Behnam, C. D. Villarama, M. Arens-Corell, M. J. Choi, and H. I. Maibach. “Evaluation of the antioxidant capacity and preventive effects of a topical emulsion and its vehicle control on the skin response to UV exposure.” Skin pharmacology and physiology 18, no. 6 (2005): 288-293.[/ref] So walnut oil may hold the secret to youthful wrinkle-free skin!

15. Can Prevent Hair Fall

The omega-6 fatty acids in walnuts as well as the vitamin B7/biotin help prevent hair fall and strengthen hair follicles.[ref]Zempleni, Janos, Yousef I. Hassan, and Subhashinee SK Wijeratne. “Biotin and biotinidase deficiency.” Expert review of endocrinology & metabolism 3, no. 6 (2008): 715-724.[/ref] Prevent biotin deficiency, a cause of hair fall, by eating walnuts.

16. Can Improve Hair Growth

Applying walnut oil on your scalp and massaging it into your hair roots can nourish hair and promote hair growth. It is thought that it works because it contains essential minerals like iron, zinc, and copper which help in the growth of healthy hair.[ref]Kaushik, R., D. Gupta, and R. Yadav. “Alopecia: Herbal remedies.” International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research 2, no. 7 (2011): 1631.[/ref]

17. Can Treat Dandruff

Dandruff can give you a dry itchy scalp and those gray or white flakes of skin that shed from your hair onto your clothes can be more than a little embarrassing. But walnut oil might be able to help. Diluted walnut oil is commonly used to treat dandruff and, by all accounts, it works![ref]Waltz, Lisa R. The Herbal Encyclopedia: A Practical Guide to the Many Uses of Herbs. iUniverse, 2004.[/ref]

How Many Walnuts To Eat And How?

If you aren’t having other nuts, have around 1 oz or 28 g walnuts a day. That’s about 14 halves. You can have them raw, roast them lightly, crush and add to your smoothies, or chop and liberally garnish your cereals or baked goodies. You could also make walnut butter, add a dash of salt, honey, and if you like, cinnamon powder. You could also drizzle walnut oil on your salads.

Don’t Overeat; They Are High In Calories And Fiber

But beware of the side effects of walnuts too. Don’t eat too many walnuts every day, though, especially if you eat high-fiber and high-calorie foods. It can create digestive problems and make you gain weight in the long run. And if you are allergic to other tree nuts like almonds and cashews, get an allergy test done to rule out the possibility of an allergy to walnuts.

Your Doubts Answered

1. Can I Eat Walnuts Daily?

[expert_opinion expertname=’andreacaprio’ opinion=”Unless somebody has a sensitivity or intolerance to nuts, I recommend incorporating nuts, especially walnuts, into a healthy diet every day. Walnuts have amazing benefits such as providing Vitamin E being particularly beneficial for cardiovascular health and their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients helping to decrease risk of some cancers. Walnuts provide a great array of nutrients such as Omega 3, copper, manganese and are full of fiber, healthy protein and healthy fats, thus being a great daily super-food to include provided it is a small amount as their high fat content can add up.”]

2. How Many Walnuts Do I Eat For Maximum Benefits?

[expert_opinion expertname=’andreacaprio’ opinion=”1 ounce of nuts, or around 7 whole walnuts are needed per day to provide the perfect amount of nutrient such a Omega 3, Vitamin E and phytonutrient to support cardiovascular health and help provide benefits in the prevention or treatment of chronic diseases such as Diabetes 2, Metabolic Syndrome and cancer.”]