Happy Walnut Day! The Original ‘Superfood’ Is In The Spotlight May 17th

Sometimes, it seems like there’s a new superfood hitting the grocery store shelves practically every other week.
Between the berries and the beans and the powders, it can be hard to keep it all straight. That’s why I’ve become a big advocate of looking back on more old-school superfoods; things people have been eating for years in pursuit of a betterlifestyle and healthier diet.
After all, if people have been swearing by the curative powers of their favorite ingredient for thousands of years, it’s probably worth trying, as we discovered when we explored the benefits of ginger, an age-old cure-all.
Now, we’re turning to another ingredient with a long and tasty history of improving whole-body health: the walnut!
People have been eating walnuts for at least 9,000 years, lending credence to the idea that they’re the original “superfood.” They fell out of favor in the 20th century because of their high fat content, but now the limelight is swinging back around in celebration of these healthy seeds.
May 17th is National Walnut Day, and in honor of the celebration, we’re rounding up our eight favorite reasons to love these powerhouse nuts!
Did you know walnuts packed such a powerful punch for your health? Let us know in the comments below!

Walnuts 101

Walnuts 101
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings
These days, most of us are familiar with walnuts from treats like banana bread, or tasty, crunchy salads like the Waldorf.
While these recent uses of the nut are delicious, the history of the food dates back thousands of years.
According to Walnuts.org, these seeds are the “oldest tree food known to man,” and were traded along the Silk Road between Asia and Europe for millennia.
What’s more, their popularity makes perfect sense: Walnuts keep well thanks to their hard shell, and they’re supremely healthy, packed with protein and healthy fats.

Walnut Benefit #1: Boost Brain Power

Walnut Benefit #1: Boost Brain Power
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings
Walnuts are what our moms might call “brain food.”
Once again, it’s all about the omega-3s, these fatty acids are crucial to the brain.
As you get older, and the risk for developing dementia or Alzheimer’s increases, walnuts are a scientifically proven way to help mitigate some of the risk, and keep your mind sharper for longer.
Plus, they may actually boost your memory, and give you a better sense of coordination.

Walnut Benefit #2: Weight Loss

Walnut Benefit #2: Weight Loss
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings
Walnuts went out of vogue for quite awhile, because they have a high fat content, and people assumed that those fats would lead to weight gain.
In reality, while walnuts are high in fat — but they’re specifically high in polyunsaturated fats, also known as the “good” kind of fats.
At nearly 200 calories an ounce, they can be bad for you if eaten to excess, but one or two servings a day may actually help you lose weight.
Unlike the saturated fats that can pack on the pounds, unsaturated fats like those in walnuts can help boost the metabolism, and up your natural rate of weight loss.

Walnut Benefit #3: Great Hair

Walnut Benefit #3: Great Hair
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings
Walnuts are also packed with B vitamins, which are sometimes nicknamed “beauty” vitamins.
That’s because these B vitamins, particularly B7 or Biotin, do amazing things for the hair and nails, according to CureJoy.
If you feel like your hair is lacking shine or oomph, incorporating more walnuts into your diet will enhance your hair and make it thicker and more healthy.

Walnut Benefit #4: Give You That "Glow"

Walnut Benefit #4: Give You That "Glow"
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings
All those tasty nutrients can also work wonders on your skin.
The fatty acids that we rave about so much are great for keeping skin healthy, because they protect the skin cells and keep them from losing moisture and oils too quickly, preventing drying.
Meanwhile, high levels of potassium are instrumental in fighting the effects of sodium, which can cause bloating and wrinkling.

Walnut Benefit #5: Make You Mellow

Walnut Benefit #5: Make You Mellow
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

It’s a high-stress, high-anxiety world out there, and we don’t do ourselves any favors by pushing to the breaking point.
Walnuts could be the nutritional key to zoning out, and letting the world pass you by for a minute.
That’s because these tree nuts are loaded with tryptophan, which you may recognize as the miracle ingredient that makes you fall asleep after your turkey dinner every Thanksgiving.
Tryptophan helps the body produce seratonin and melatonin, the two hormones responsible for making us happy and snoozy.

Walnut Benefit #6: Lowers Risk of Cancer

Walnut Benefit #6: Lowers Risk of Cancer
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings
Here’s a health benefit that will make us all sit up and take notice: Walnuts are proven to lower the risk of certain cancers.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, all nuts help combat the risk of developing cancer, but walnuts have been studied the most, and have been demonstrated to lower the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Further research shows some promising findings regarding colon cancer, so it’s looking more and more like a small sampling of walnuts can make a big difference to your health.

Walnut Benefit #7: Keep You Youthful

Walnut Benefit #7: Keep You Youthful
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings
Consider this a “bonus” benefit — a cumulative effect of all the wonderful things that walnuts do for other aspects of our health!
Since walnuts work so hard to keep our skin fresh and glowing, our minds sharp, our waists trim, and our bodies healthy, they are helping to keep us young.
If you still feel like you have as much energy as you did at 25, you can probably chalk it up to a good attitude and an awesome diet!
If you love the idea of giving this old-fashioned “superfood” a shot, make sure to let us know your favorite way to eat walnuts!
And don’t forget to SHARE with friends and family for National Walnut Day!