Walnuts are a convenient source of dietary fiber. You can eat walnuts on their own as a snack or enjoy them in salads, cooked dishes or baked goods. Including a handful of walnuts in your daily diet is a good way to increase your fiber intake; however, keep in mind that walnuts are also high in calories with about 185 calories per ounce.
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Plant-based foods contain dietary fiber, which your body can't digest. Fiber is grouped into two main types: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs water in your digestive tract and turns into a gel-like substance. It can help lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Insoluble fiber doesn't absorb water, but instead passes through the digestive tract unchanged, sweeping along the intestinal lining as it goes through. Insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation and supports bowel regularity.
A 1-ounce serving of walnuts contains about 2 grams of fiber. This is about half the entire carbohydrate content of these nuts. The majority of the fiber in walnuts is insoluble, but they do contain trace amounts of soluble fiber as well.
Other Health Benefits
An ounce of walnuts contains 4 grams of protein, as well as healthy fats. That 1-ounce serving has 13.3 grams of polyunsaturated fat and 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat. Included in the polyunsaturated fat content of walnuts is 2.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, an essential type of fat not produced by the body. Walnuts are also high in vitamins and minerals including manganese, thiamine, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, potassium, folate and phosphorus.
The combination of fiber, healthy fats and protein in walnuts makes them good for dieters since this combination promotes satiety, a feeling of fullness that can help prevent overeating. The soluble fiber in walnuts may also work in concert with the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats to lower cholesterol levels and help prevent cardiovascular disease. Walnuts should not be your only source of dietary fiber, but can be a healthy fiber-rich snack choice that adds to your daily total.