Walnuts: Health Benefits, Side Effects and Ways to Consume

Medically reviewed by


5 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Walnuts are packed with lots of antioxidants, protein, fibre and healthy fats
  • The vitamins and folic acid in walnuts are beneficial in pregnancy and essential for a baby’s growth
  • Walnut oil is considered to help reduce dandruff and promote scalp health

Either consumed raw or added in some sinful desserts, walnuts are loved for years! There was a time when few people used to avoid walnuts considering it unhealthy as it is high in calories and fats. If you still believe this and refraining yourself from this delicious nut, you must read this article till the end to find out the wonderful benefits it provides us.

Walnuts are available either with shell or without, can be consumed in raw form or roasted. Let us look at the nutritional value of walnuts before moving ahead with the benefits:

According to USDA, 1 cup or 7 walnuts (28g) contains:

Calories- 183

NutrientAmount% of Daily recommendation
Total fat18g23%
Saturated fat1.7g8%
Total carbohydrate3.8g1%
Dietary fiber1.9g7%
Vitamin B60.150mg12%
Vitamin C0.4mg0%
Vitamin E0.20mg1%
Vitamin K0.8mcg1%
Vitamin A5.60IU0%

So now we see, walnuts along with being high in calories and fats are also dense in nutrients and provide healthy fats for your heart. It is a very good option as a snack in-between the meals which is healthier in comparison to wafers, cookies or any other simple carbohydrate foods.

Amazing Health Benefits of Walnut

Improves Blood Lipids

Heart disease risk has long been associated with higher "bad" LDL cholesterol and fat levels.

It has repeatedly been demonstrated that consuming hazelnuts regularly lowers cholesterol levels.

In recent research, consuming 1.5 ounces (43 grams) of walnuts every day for eight weeks resulted in a 5% reduction in total cholesterol, a 5% reduction in LDL cholesterol, and a 5% reduction in triglycerides when compared to not eating walnuts.

Apolipoprotein-B, a marker of the quantity of LDL particles in your blood, fell by almost 6% in walnut consumers. Apolipoprotein-B is a significant risk factor for cardiac disease when it is high. [1]

Support Bone Health

The important fatty acids found in walnuts are excellent for assisting the body in absorbing higher quantities of calcium from food. This results in improved bone health. Walnut can help avoid the development of kidney stones by increasing calcium excretion from the urinary system.

Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an important fatty acid. This acid and its constituents have been linked to sturdier and healthy bones.

Walnuts' omega-3 fatty acids can also aid in the battle against inflammation and the ensuing bone resorption in people. 

Aids in Better Sleep

A handful of delicious walnuts every day can help balance your sleep habits. This is due to walnuts' high melatonin content, which is the hormone responsible for inducing and controlling slumber. You can simply integrate them into your dinner and always look forward to a good night's sleep. Melatonin found in walnuts has been linked to improved slumber habits. Omega-3 fatty acids may also aid in lowering blood pressure and alleviating stress. 

Encourages Weight Management

Despite the high caloric content of walnuts, studies indicate that the amount of energy taken from them is 21% lower than predicted from their nutritional makeup. [2]

Additionally, consuming walnuts may even aid in appetite management.

In a rigorously controlled experiment involving ten overweight participants, consuming a smoothie containing roughly 1.75 ounces (48 grams) of walnuts once daily for five days reduced desire and hunger compared to sipping a placebo beverage with identical calories and nutrients. [3]

Brain scans also revealed that after five days of ingesting the walnut smoothies, the subjects' activation in a portion of the brain that aids in resisting extremely alluring food cues, such as cake and French fries, had increased. Walnuts contain a lot of energy, but you might only take some of them in. They might aid in appetite and thirst regulation as well. 

Reduce Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiac disease and stroke.

According to some studies, consuming walnuts may help reduce blood pressure in fit people and those with high blood pressure who are under stress. This impact was not seen in other trials. [4]

In addition to other diets, the four-year PREDIMED trial tried a Mediterranean diet augmented with 1 ounce (28 grams) of mixed nuts daily. The diet of mixed nuts was given to approximately 7,500 individuals at increased risk for cardiac disease; half were walnuts. [5]

Diastolic blood pressure decreased by 0.65 mmHg in research participants following the nut-enriched Mediterranean diet (bottom number) than in participants following a comparable heart-healthy control diet without nuts.

This indicates that adding nuts to a heart-healthy diet may marginally enhance its advantages for lowering blood pressure. This is crucial because it is believed that even slight blood pressure variations can significantly affect you if you have heart disease.

Walnuts are packed with lots of antioxidants, protein, fibre and healthy fats. They are high in omega-3 fats compared to other nuts. They are beneficial for your health in numerous ways, from helping your heart to reducing inflammation. Let’s check few important benefits of walnuts:

Walnuts health benefits

Benefits Cardiovascular System

The healthy fats in the walnuts help to reduce the bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It also helps in lowering blood pressure and inflammation which in turn is very beneficial for the cardiovascular system.

Additional Read: Types of Heart Diseases

Benefits to Your Brain

Walnuts can help to improve brain function due to the presence of antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. Few studies suggest it helps in improving memory, slowing down the age-related decline of brain function and also helps in depression.

Benefits in inflammation

The Polyphenols in walnuts help reduce inflammation which can be helpful in conditions like asthma, arthritis, heart diseases etc.

Benefits in Weight Management

This energy and nutrition-packed nut can help in weight loss when taken in proper proportions. These are calorie-dense, hence gives you the feeling of fullness and can reduce the appetite helping in weight management.

Benefits in the prevention of cancer

Studies have linked not just the prevention but also suppression of growth of cancer on eating walnuts every day. Credit goes to the polyphenol and Omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-cancer properties.

Improve Immunity

It goes without saying that any food which is so nutrient-dense like walnuts is considered as a ‘superfood’ as it helps to boost your immunity.

Benefits in Pregnancy

The vitamins and folic acid in walnuts are beneficial in pregnancy and essential for a baby’s growth. Folic acid, in particular, helps to prevent birth complications like spina bifida in babies. It can also help in nausea which women often suffer during pregnancy.

Benefits to Your Gut

The fiber in walnuts helps your bowels function properly and improve the health of the digestive system.

Benefits to the Skin

The antioxidants and other vitamins help to delay skin ageing and keeping the skin moisturized. Walnuts are also used in powder form in various skin scrubs as they exfoliate the skin well without drying it.

Benefits to Your Hair

Just like skin, walnuts provide benefits to the hair as well. This is due to the presence of biotin in them which prevent hair fall and also strengthens them. Walnut oil is considered to help reduce dandruff and promote scalp health.

Going through so many benefits you might have made up your mind to eat walnuts every day or thinking about various recipes where you can incorporate them. In either case, you should remember that anything good also if over consumed can lead to side effects. Some of the side-effects include:

  • Digestive issues like bloating and diarrhoea
  • Allergic reaction if you are allergic to tree nuts
  • Aggravation of ulcers

So how many walnuts should one have? Well, if you are proven allergic to walnuts then the answer is zero! Otherwise, one can have about 7 whole nuts or an ounce in a day.

Many believe soaking the walnuts overnight is more beneficial than eating them as it is. This is because walnuts contain phytates, which makes them difficult to digest. By soaking them, the phytates content is reduced making them easy for your gut and help absorption of essential nutrients.

Potential Side Effects of Walnuts

Walnuts, like most other legumes, are a recognized allergen. People who are prone to allergies or have nut sensitivities should always contact their doctor before incorporating these seeds into their daily diet. These allergens can vary from moderate to serious, with symptoms such as eczema, rashes, itchiness, and even respiratory problems.

Some individuals may develop contact dermatitis, which causes itching and rashes on the skin immediately after handling the almonds. So, despite these walnuts having a high nutritious value, they should be used with caution. Some of the major side effects are listed as follows:

Digestive Problems

The high fibre level of walnuts may trigger digestive problems. While modest quantities help digestion, eating too many walnuts can cause diarrhoea, bloating, and abdominal discomfort. 

Because of their high oxalate concentration, hazelnuts can also induce kidney stones.

Could Lead to Birth Defects

Walnut phytates may induce an iron shortage, and iron insufficiency is more common in pregnant women. Iron is essential during childbearing, and its absence may result in problems.

Iron shortage during pregnancy may also result in miscarriage, though more study is required on this.

Weight Gain

Although walnuts inhibit hunger and aid in weight reduction, excessive intake has the contrary effect. These nuts are high in calories, which can lead to fat buildup and weight increase.

Skin Rashes Might Occur

When used directly, black walnuts can cause skin sores. In addition, the chemical substances present in the nut's shell may irritate the skin and cause contact dermatitis (Red-colored rashes).

What are the Ways to Consume Walnuts?

There is no correct or incorrect method to consume this extremely healthy nut. Simply including it in your diet in any shape benefits your health. The following are the finest methods to eat walnuts:

Soak them overnight:

  • One of the best methods to consume walnuts is to soak them overnight and then consume them in the morning
  • To do this, soak 2-4 chunks of walnuts in a cup of water overnight
  • Eat them right away the following morning
  • Soaking walnuts aids in the reduction of harmful cholesterol in the body. These are also simpler to process than regular walnuts
  • Soaked walnuts are simpler for your body to receive nutrients from

For Health Benefits:

  • You can add them to your fruit salad to make it more healthy and tasty
  • It may be blended with a beverage
  • It can be served with a green salad
  • It adds texture to patties
  • It can be mixed into stews and condiments to make them healthier
  • It can be served with multigrain bread or millet cakes
  • It can be used as a crunchy covering for seafood or poultry
  • Walnuts can be grounded into a puree and used to enhance gravies 
  • It goes well with muesli
  • Chopped walnuts can be used in spaghetti and veggies
  • Chopped walnuts can be tossed into rolls and flatbread sandwiches 
  • It can be combined with your favorite stir-fry concoction

For Skin and Hair Benefits:

  • You can create a walnut exfoliate by crushing it. It exfoliates the epidermis and hair
  • Walnut oil can be used to strengthen your tresses

Walnuts: Precautions To Exercise Before Eating

  • Knowing the proper dose is critical for reaping the benefits of walnuts. The recommended daily intake of walnuts is 4-6 pieces
  • Walnuts are healthy to consume in food quantities. However, before consuming Walnut supplements while breastfeeding, consult your doctor
  • To get the most health advantages from walnuts, consume them early in the morning when you're on a clear stomach
  • When walnuts are in their skin, they have the longest shelf life. When the casing is broken, the storage life begins to shorten
  • Contrary to popular perception, a toasted walnut is not nutritious. The oil in hazelnuts comes into touch with air after roasting, and oxidation begins. When a walnut is toasted, its storage life begins to shorten
  • Walnuts should ideally be stored in airtight receptacles without the skin
  • Walnuts contain the anti nutrient phytate. Phytate inhibits mineral uptake in the organism. As a result, eating too many walnuts is not recommended. Instead, eat walnuts in the recommended amount

Making walnuts a part of your daily diet is essential to reap their benefits, but the quantity should be kept in mind. Have them in any form you like, raw or roasted, salted or unsalted! To know more, you should consult a nutritionist and you can do this easily with Bajaj Finserv Health!

Your search for top nutritionists and dieticians ends with Bajaj Finserv Health. You can view a list of top dieticians and nutritionists near you in your city. You can also book an online appointment or opt for an in-clinic appointment at your convenience. In doing so, you get access to exciting discounts and deals from impaneled healthcare partners. These benefits and others like it are just one step away.


How many walnuts should we eat in a day?

According to research, eating at least four walnuts per day can help cure many illnesses, including cancer, obesity, and diabetes, as well as sustain body weight, cognitive and reproductive health, and many other lifestyle issues. [6]

What happens if I eat walnuts every day?

Walnuts contain more omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut. So, consuming them on a daily basis can help you keep your heart healthy and lower your chance of cardiovascular disease.

What is the best time to eat walnuts?

The ideal time to consume walnuts is when you wake up in the morning. Walnuts can be soaked at night and consumed on an empty stomach. You could also eat them before going to bed.

Who should not take walnuts?

Individuals allergic to nuts should not take walnuts and should contact their physicians before consuming any kind of nuts.

Is walnut good for the skin?

Walnuts contain Vitamin E and Vitamin B5, which serve to tighten pores and brighten the complexion. In addition, walnuts contain Vitamin B5, which helps remove tan and dark patches while enhancing skin tone and making it shine.

Does walnut increase sperm count?

According to American research, walnuts benefit male reproduction due to their high omega-3, antioxidant, and mineral composition. The best diet to eat for healthy sperm is walnuts. [7]

Published on 28 Jan 2021Last updated on 16 May 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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