Nutrition & Health

For more than 25 years, the California Walnut Commission (CWC) has supported health-related research on walnuts to explore the role of walnuts in a healthy diet. To date, there are more than 150 papers from 55 institutions and universities in 10 countries documenting well-established research outcomes on heart health, as well as cognition, cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, body weight/composition, reproductive health, nutrient and bioactive composition and research methodology.

California walnuts are an easy addition to add value to existing products, for creation of line extensions as well as opening up new categories where consumers are looking for healthy ingredients. Recommendations are for consumers to eat a handful (28–30 g) of nutritious walnuts every day, either as a snack, added to their cooking, in prepared foods, takeaways or restaurant menu items as a simple step towards a healthier life. Walnuts are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which support health in different ways.

Walnuts are unique among nuts as they are primarily comprised of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), with 13 out of 18 g of total fat per one ounce (28 g) serving. As a result, walnuts are the only tree nut that offers an excellent source of the plant-based Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA (2.5 g/oz). Research specific to ALA and its contribution to health benefits continues to evolve, but it indicates that they can help maintain heart health and lower cholesterol levels. In addition, walnuts contain a variety of micronutrients such as the vitamins B1, B2, and B6, pantothenic acid, and biotin, as well as minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese.

Health Claim for Walnuts

Benefits of walnuts related to maintenance of cardiovascular health have now been officially acknowledged by the European Union.

Approved Exclusive Walnut Health Claim

“Walnuts contribute to the improvement of the elasticity of the blood vessels.”
The claim may be used only for food which provides a daily intake of 30 g of walnuts.

Generic Health Claims that may be used by Walnuts and Walnut Products:

  1. “Alpha-linolenic acid contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.”
    The claim may be used only for food which is at least a source of ALA, meaning that it contains a minimum of 15 % of the recommended daily intake of 2 g plus at least 0,3 g alpha-linolenic acid per 100 g and per 100 kcal.
  2. “Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.”
    [MUFA + PUFA are unsaturated fats] The claim may be used only for food which is high in unsaturated fatty acids, meaning that at least 45 % of the fatty acids present in the product derive from polyunsaturated fat under the condition that polyunsaturated fat provides more than 20 % of energy of the product. Alternatively, 70 % of the fatty acids present in the product can derive from unsaturated fat under the condition that unsaturated fat provides more than 20 % of energy of the product.
  3. “Linoleic acid contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.”
    The claim may be used only for a food which provides at least 1,5 g of linoleic acid (LA) per 100 g and per 100 kcal.

For more detailed information on walnut health claims, view the Official Journal of the European Union and its Annex.

Please note: If you would like to use one or all of the above health claims on your product, legal council is needed. CWC may not be held liable for any errors, inaccuracies or misuse with regards to the health claims.