Walnuts, considered one of the healthiest nuts, pack a lot of health-boosting nutrients in a small package. Walnut oil is rich and nutty-tasting, but it has a lot more going for it than flavor. To get the maximum health benefits, choose unrefined walnut oil, store it in your refrigerator and use within one year. Walnut oil develops a bitter taste when exposed to heat, so it's best on salads and added to other foods after cooking.
Provides Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
Walnut oil is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega-3 fats raise beneficial HDL cholesterol, lower harmful LDL cholesterol, prevent abnormal heart rhythms, lower your risk of heart disease and inhibit the development of blood clots, according to Harvard Health Publications. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish, such as salmon, anchovies and sardines; fish oil supplements; flaxseed oil and ground flax seeds; whole walnuts and chia seeds.
Improves Thinking, Learning and Memory
The omega-3 fatty acids in walnut oil boost your brain health, according to "Psychology Today." Omega-3 fats are a vital component of the outer membrane of brain cells, which makes the transmission of nerve signals -- necessary for thinking, learning and memory -- possible. Brain cells need a constant, fresh supply of these essential fats for optimum function, and walnut oil is a good source.
Source of Antioxidants, Vitamins and Minerals
Walnut oil is a good source of selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, niacin, and vitamins B1, B2 and B3, according to Dr. Linda Posch, M.S., S.L.P., N.D. It's also high in antioxidants -- especially ellagic acid -- which counter the effects cell-damaging free radicals, which accelerate aging and contribute to cancer and other diseases.
Walnut oil contains healthy monounsaturated fats. These beneficial fats protect the heart and cardiovascular system by lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation. Monounsaturated fats also improve the way the body responds to insulin and controls blood sugar. Most nuts and seeds are high in monounsaturated fat, as are avocados, olives, olive oil and canola oil. Healthy fats should contribute approximately 30 percent of the calories to your daily diet.
- USDA Nutrient Database Laboratory: Walnut Oil, 1 Tbsp
- Psychology Today: What is Good Brain Food?
- MayoClinic.com: Nuts and Your Heart: Eating Nuts for Heart Health
- OChef: What is the Shelf-Life of Oil?
- Harvard Health Publications: HEALTHbeat: Fats Resource Center
- What's Cooking America: Health Benefits of Walnut Oil