If you’re trying out a vegetarian diet to lose weight, you’re probably worried about meeting your daily protein requirements. Nut milks are a popular protein source for vegetarians. However, walnuts stand out amongst other nuts due to their omega-3 fatty acid content.

Omega-3 fatty acids raise your good cholesterol and lower your bad cholesterol. They also decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease by 40 percent and lower your risk for cancer. These essential fats also prevent Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and retinal degeneration. For children, omega-3 fatty acids significantly support eye and brain development; 9-month-old infants experienced significant increases in problem-solving skills subsequent to being fed a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Seafood is the predominant dietary source for omega-3 fatty acids. Hence, vegetarians and people who hate eating fish are at risk of lacking their daily recommended dose of these essential fats. Fortunately, just one cup of walnuts bestows approximately 10 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, which is greater than the recommended daily dose.

Aside from omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts also contain antioxidants and other nutrients. Its antioxidants include tellimagrandin, morin, and juglone, which have been shown to prevent liver damage and inhibit atherosclerosis. They bind well to lipoproteins, so they improve your body’s fat efficiency without causing weight gain, and also reduce any inflammation.

Walnuts also contain ellagic acid, which has antibiotic and antiviral properties. Ellagic acid has been recognized by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to have anticarcinogenic properties as well. In fact, studies show that mice that have had their diets supplemented with walnuts experienced smaller, slower-growing prostrate tumors, with an overall 30 to 40 percent decrease in prostrate cancer. There’s also evidence that eating walnuts reduces breast cancer risk as well.

Walnuts’ nutrients also have weight-loss properties. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that despite consuming a daily diet containing 2,000 calories, subjects experienced a drop in blood sugar levels and weight loss when walnuts were supplemented into their diet.

Finally, eating walnuts improves your sexual and reproductive health. American guys who consumed typical Western diets experienced improved sperm vitality, motility, morphology, and overall quality when 75 grams of walnuts were added to their diet.

When choosing walnuts at the store try to purchase organic and raw walnuts as opposed to irradiated or pasteurized. Also, 90 percent of walnuts’ aforementioned antioxidants are contained in the walnuts’ skin. Hence, despite the skin’s bitter taste, make sure to eat it!

Eating a cup of walnuts each day can be hard on your teeth and less than enjoyable. But you can always blend your walnuts into a smooth nut milk.

Vegetarians and people who hate seafood are at risk of not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to being a great source of these essential fatty acids, walnuts promote weight loss and healthier sperm, and have anticarcinogenic and antibiotic properties as well. Don’t forget to consume the skin, or you’ll only be getting 10 percent of these benefits.