Multiple studies have shown that walnuts may have a positive impact on important health conditions such as colon cancer, cognitive aging, and gut and vascular health. These research findings have been presented at Experimental Biology 2015.

Walnuts are the only nut that contain 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, per ounce of serving. This component is thought to contribute health benefits in diabetes, cancer, fertility, weight management, among others.

The effect of walnuts on colon cancer cells were studied by researcher at Ewha Woman’s University in Korea. The walnut extract was shown to significantly slow the survival of cancer stem cells and to reduce the stemness of colon cancer stem cells. Researchers called for further research on the walnut consumption in colon cancer therapies that target cancer stem cells.

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Researchers from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center studied the effect of walnuts on two major gut bacteria communities. They found that a diet with walnuts (2oz human diet equivalent) in animals significantly changed the ratio of the two communities, which may be linked to chronic diseases.

Scientists from Tufts University sought to assess the effect of walnuts on aging/brain health. Both young and old rats were divided into three groups: a control group who ate no walnuts at all, a group that had 6% of their diet comprised of walnuts; and a group that had 9% of their diet comprised of walnuts (1.5oz human diet equivalent). After 10 weeks, they found that that incorporating walnuts into one’s diet may have protective effects on the aging brain.

A study conducted by scientists at the University of California-Davis evaluated the impact of walnut consumption in postmenopausal women with high cholesterol. Women who consumed 1.5oz (40g) of walnuts daily saw improved vascular function. Researchers concluded that the improvement may have been due to the ALA and linoleic acid (LA) components.

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