Eat More Walnuts to Reduce Anxiety

Jan 19, 2021

Walnuts are incredibly high in antioxidants. In a Norwegian analysis of thousands of foods, resulting in the Antioxidant Food Table, walnuts tested as having the highest antioxidant content of all nuts, legumes, and grains.1 Walnuts also contain neuroprotective compounds, including vitamin E, folate, melatonin, several polyphenols, magnesium, and copper. 

Walnuts are a phenomenal source of the good fats that our brains and nervous systems need to reduce anxiety. In fact, walnuts are the only tree nut that is an excellent source of ALA, the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for our healthy existence. They are one of the best plant food sources of omega-3s around. These good fats help reduce inflammation. One study showed that supplementation with walnuts was able to improve mood in young adults.2 Another study showed that people who consume walnuts have lower depression scores.3

Walnuts have been proven time and time again to have beneficial effects on cognition and overall brain health. Oxidative stress and neuroinflammation play important roles in disorders associated with the brain, like anxiety. Reports suggest there are benefits of a walnut-enriched diet for treating brain disorders and other chronic diseases, due to the compounds in walnut that protect against oxidative stress and inflammation.4

Fun fact: A walnut looks similar to the human brain. The walnut shape represents the left and right hemispheres. The creases on the nut are similar to those of the neocortex. It is no wonder walnuts are known as “brain food.”

Ways of Incorporating Walnuts in Your Anxiety-Free Kitchen:

  • Eat raw walnuts as a snack. The recommended serving size is a small handful.
  • Add walnuts to your smoothie.
  • Add walnuts to your breakfast oatmeal or chia seed cereal.
  • Use walnut oil as a base for salad dressings.
  • Sprinkle them on salads.
  • Add them to a vegetable stir-fry.
  • Eat them with homemade chocolate.
  • Make a raw walnut flour by blending whole walnuts and crust your meat with it.

Anxiety-Free Recipes with Walnuts in my new book:

  • Genius Smoothie
  • Walnut “Meatballs” with Zoodles
  • Walnut-Crusted Chicken Salad
  • Smart Cookies

1.     M.H. Carlsen, et al., “The Total Antioxidant Content of More than 3100 Foods, Beverages, Spices, Herbs and Supplements Used Worldwide,” Nutrition Journal, vol. 9, no. 3 (2010), doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-3.

2.     P. Pribis, “Effects of Walnut Consumption on Mood in Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Nutrients, vol. 8, no. 11 (November 2016), p. 668, doi: 10.3390/nu8110668.

3.     L. Arab, R. Guo, and D. Elashoff, “Lower Depression Scores among Walnut Consumers in NHANES,” Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 2 (February 2019), p. 275, doi: 10.3390/nu11020275.

4.     A. Chauhan and V. Chauhan, “Beneficial Effects of Walnuts on Cognition and Brain Health,” Nutrients, vol. 12, no. 2 (February 2020), p. 550, doi: 10.3390/nu12020550.