Are Walnuts Good for Anemia? (Expert Answer)

Short Answer: Walnuts are not good for anemia. Because they have polyphenols, phytates, manganese, and copper, which can inhibit iron absorption and metabolism.

Anemia is a condition that affects your blood.

In anemia, your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin to carry oxygen to your tissues.

This can lead to various health problems, such as fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, and increased risk of infections.

One of the key factors in managing anemia is diet.

What you consume can affect your iron levels, which can impact your anemia symptoms and overall health.

To effectively manage anemia, you should consume iron-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, and vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and peppers, which can enhance iron absorption.

You should also avoid foods that can interfere with iron absorption, such as tea, coffee, dairy products, and foods high in calcium, phytates, or polyphenols.

Now, walnuts are a type of tree nut that are rich in healthy fats, protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

People usually eat them raw, roasted, or chopped as a snack or added to salads, cereals, baked goods, or other dishes.

Walnuts are not good for anemia because they contain polyphenols, which are compounds that can inhibit iron absorption.

Walnuts also contain phytates, which are substances that can bind to iron and reduce its availability.

Walnuts may be especially harmful for people with iron deficiency anemia, the most common type of anemia.

One ounce of walnuts can give you about 2% of your daily iron needs, but also about 14% of your daily manganese needs, which can compete with iron for absorption.

Walnuts also provide about 8% of your daily copper needs, which can affect iron metabolism and hemoglobin synthesis.

Polyphenols can negatively affect anemia by reducing the amount of iron that your body can absorb from food.

Phytates can also negatively affect anemia by forming insoluble complexes with iron and preventing its uptake by the intestine.

Manganese can negatively affect anemia by interfering with iron absorption and utilization.

Copper can negatively affect anemia by altering iron homeostasis and causing oxidative stress.

Furthermore, walnuts are a plant-based food and plant-based iron is less bioavailable than animal-based iron.

Plant-based iron is also more susceptible to the effects of inhibitors like polyphenols and phytates.

Therefore, plant-based iron is not as effective as animal-based iron for treating anemia.

That’s why I suggest you limit your walnut intake if you have anemia.

Stick to no more than one ounce of walnuts per day to minimize the negative effects on your iron status.

You should also eat walnuts separately from iron-rich foods or supplements, and consume vitamin C-rich foods or drinks with them to enhance iron absorption.

Also, you shouldn’t eat walnuts if you have an allergy to tree nuts, to prevent anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.

Because walnuts can trigger an immune response that can cause swelling, hives, difficulty breathing, and shock.

You can buy fresh walnuts in your local market or can order them online.

Always choose walnuts that are in their shells or in sealed packages, and avoid those that are cracked, moldy, or rancid.

Because walnuts can spoil easily and become contaminated with toxins or bacteria.

You can store them in a cool, dry place for up to six months, or in the refrigerator or freezer for up to a year.

Finally, remember, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management, and essential medical care is key to managing anemia effectively.

I always recommend my anemia patients to follow an anemia-friendly diet to improve their iron levels, hemoglobin levels, and overall well-being, and enjoy a longer and healthier life.

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About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutritionist in West Bengal, India, with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biochemistry.

He has done his diploma in nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc (US), and completed various certification courses from several universities. He also has considerable research experience in PCOS.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

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