Walnuts are unique among nuts, they contain the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid required by the human body. Our bodies cannot make omega-3 fats, we must get them through food. Most, if not all of us lack sufficient amounts of this essential fatty acid.
We need omega-3 fatty acids for numerous normal body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain. There have been numerous clinical studies thatsuggest thatalpha-linolenic acid (ALA) intake reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease. As one of the best plant food sources of omega-3s, a one-ounce serving of walnuts provides 2.5 grams of ALA. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in walnuts may reduce cardiovascular risk through a variety of biologic mechanisms, including platelet function, inflammation, endothelial cell function, arterial compliance, and arrhythmia. While most nuts contain monounsaturated fats, only walnuts are comprised primarily of polyunsaturated fat (13 grams out of 18 grams total fat).
In addition to the heart benefits, walnuts are an excellent source of antioxidants and the minerals manganese, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium. New studies are identifying potential benefits for a wide range of conditions including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Resources : walnuts.org; harvard.edu