While most varieties of nuts boast health benefits, the unique fat make-up of walnuts makes them particularly helpful when it comes to lowering cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fats and the only nut source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts are a star food for cardiovascular health. Harvard researchers found that adding walnuts to the daily diet, even for the short term, creates dramatic drops in cholesterol. Study participants averaged a 10-point drop in total cholesterol and a nine-point drop in LDL, or the “bad” cholesterol.
How much is good? Although some studies test larger amounts, a handful a day, or about one ounce is a beneficial amount.