Posted by: godshealingplants | April 20, 2019

WALNUTS FOR YOUR HEALTH

HISTORY

The first historical account of walnut cultivation dates back to Babylon (now Iraq) circa 2000 B.C.

The English walnut originated in the regions surrounding the Caspian Sea, hence it is known as the Persian walnut. In the 4th century AD, the ancient Romans introduced the walnut into many European countries where it has been grown since. Throughout its history, the walnut tree has been highly revered; not only does it have a life span that is several times that of humans, but its uses include food, medicine, shelter, dye and lamp oil. It is thought that the walnuts grown in North America gained the name “English walnuts,” because they were introduced into America during the early 1800s via English merchant ships.

ABOUT

Walnuts are edible seeds from the trees of Juglans genus. They are round, single-seeded fruits of the walnut tree. The fruit and seed of walnut are enclosed in a thick, inedible husk. The shell of the fruit that encloses the kernel is hard and is two-halved.

The walnut tree can grow up to 130 feet (40 meters) high. There are three main types of walnuts; the English walnut, also known as the Persian walnut, the Black walnut, and the White or butternut walnut. The most popular type in the US is the English walnut, which has a thinner shell and is the easiest to crack open. The Black walnut has a thicker shell and more pungent flavor. It is mostly cultivated for its strong wood. The white walnut is sweeter and oilier than the other two, but it is not commonly found in stores.

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE

Walnuts are a rich source of vitamin C, B vitamins (vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate), vitamin E, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

8

Walnuts are 65 percent fat by weight and 15 percent protein. They are richer than most nuts in polyunsaturated fats (often considered the “good” fats) and have a relatively high amount of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Walnuts are also particularly rich in an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid.

Walnuts contain other essential nutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, as well as phytosterols. They are a good source of dietary fiber and antioxidants (ellagic acid, catechin, melatonin, and phytic acid). All of these beneficial nutrients contribute to walnuts being thought of by many as ‘power food’.

HEALTH BENEFITS

The health benefits of walnuts are many and include reduction of LDL (bad) cholesterol, prevention of inflammation, improvement in metabolism, weight management, and diabetes control. Walnuts can also benefit brain health and act as a mood booster. Here are some additional benefits of consuming walnuts.

  • Aids in Dental Health
  • Boost Immunity
  • Boost Bone Health
  • Cleanses Digestive System
  • Controls Diabetes
  • Fights fatigue
  • Good for Fungal Infections
  • Good for Skin and Hair Care
  • Good for the Respiratory System
  • Great Way to Increase Children’s Omega-3 Intake
  • Has Antioxidant Power
  • Has Astringent Properties
  • Helps Improve Brain Health and Preserve Memory
  • Helps in Fighting Depression
  • Improves Digestion
  • Improves Heart Health
  • Improves Metabolism
  • May Help Prevent Cancer
  • Reduce Inflammation
  • Regulate Sleep
  • Supports the Immune System
  • Supports Weight Loss

HOW TO BUY AND STORE

When purchasing whole walnuts that have not been shelled choose those that feel heavy for their size. Their shells should not be cracked, pierced or stained, as this is oftentimes a sign of mold development on the nutmeat, which renders it unsafe for consumption.

Shelled walnuts are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the walnuts are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness. Whether purchasing walnuts in bulk or in a packaged container avoid those that look rubbery or shriveled. If it is possible to smell the walnuts, do so in order to ensure that they are not rancid.

Due to their high polyunsaturated fat content, walnuts are extremely perishable and care should be taken in their storage. Shelled walnuts should be stored in an airtight container and placed in the refrigerator, where they will keep for six months, or the freezer, where they will last for one year. Un-shelled walnuts should preferably be stored in the refrigerator, although as long as you keep them in a cool, dry, dark place they will stay fresh for up to six months.

When walnuts become rancid, they will smell like paint thinner.

HOW TO USE THEM

Walnuts have a delicious taste and crunchy texture, which is why they are used in many desserts. Ground walnuts and walnut flour are also used for baking.

HOW TO ENJOY

Baklava, a rich, sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup and honey 

Sautéed vegetables with walnuts

Cup cake filled and covered with walnuts

Green beans, red peppers and walnuts

Banana split cake with walnuts

Spinach salad with pomegranates and walnuts

Ice cream covered with walnuts and honey

 Squash and carrots with walnuts

ENJOY!

 

A WORD OF CAUTION

On average, seven to nine walnuts per serving are considered safe for consumption. However, if you eat nuts in excess, there are some side effects you may experience, as follows:

  • Allergy: Over-consumption may result in a range of allergic reactions from minor to more serious.
  • Digestive issues: Excess intake of walnut may cause nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating, and more.
  • Pregnancy and lactation: Expecting and nursing women are advised to consume in prescribed amounts only. If you desire to increase its dosage, do consult your doctor.
  • Weight gain: Although it is a source of good fats, too much of a good thing will have adverse results. Remember moderation is the key.

SOURCES:

https://www.nih.gov/

http://sciencedirect.com

REFERENCES:

  • Anderson K.J.; Teuber S.S.; Gobeille A.; Cremin P.; Waterhouse A.L.; Steinberg F.M. Walnut polyphenolics inhibit in vitro human plasma and LDL oxidation. Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 131, Issue 11: 2837-2842. 2001.
  • Bes-Rastrollo M, Sabate J, Gomez-Gracia E, Alonso A, Martinez JA, Martinez-Gonzalez MA. Nut consumption and weight gain in a Mediterranean cohort: The SUN study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Jan;15(1):107-16. 2007. PMID:17228038.
  • Cortes B, Nunez I, Cofan M, Gilabert R, Perez-Heras A, Casals E, Deulofeu R, Ros E. Acute effects of high-fat meals enriched with walnuts or olive oil on postprandial endothelial function. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Oct 17;48(8):1666-71. 2006. PMID:17045905.
  • Fukuda T, Ito H, Yoshida T. Antioxidative polyphenols from walnuts (Juglans regia L.). Phytochemistry. Aug;63(7):795-801. 2003.
  • Gillen LJ, Tapsell LC, Patch CS, Owen A, Batterham M. Structured dietary advice incorporating walnuts achieves optimal fat and energy balance in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 Jul;105(7):1087-96. 2005. PMID:15983525.
  • Marangoni F, Colombo C, Martiello A, Poli A, Paoletti R, Galli C. Levels of the n-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid in addition to those of alpha linolenic acid are significantly raised in blood lipids by the intake of four walnuts a day in humans. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2006 Sep 25; [Epub ahead of print] . 2006. PMID:17008073.
  • Morgan JM, Horton K, Reese D et al. Effects of walnut consumption as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet on serum cardiovascular risk factors. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2002 Oct; 72(5):341-7. 2002.
  • Patel G. Essential fats in walnuts are good for the heart and diabetes. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 Jul;105(7):1096-7. 2005. PMID:15983525.
  • Reiter RJ, Manchester LC, Tan DX. Melatonin in walnuts: influence on levels of melatonin and total antioxidant capacity of blood. Nutrition. 2005 Sep;21(9):920-4. 2005. PMID:15979282.
  • Ros E, Nunez I, Perez-Heras A, Serra M, Gilabert R, Casals E, Deulofeu R. A walnut diet improves endothelial function in hypercholesterolemic subjects: a randomized crossover trial. Circulation. 2004 Apr 6;109(13):1609-14. 2004. PMID:15037535.
  • Tapsell LC, Gillen LJ, Patch CS, Batterham M, Owen A, Bare M, Kennedy M. Including Walnuts in a Low-Fat/Modified-Fat Diet Improves HDL Cholesterol-to-Total Cholesterol Ratios in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004 Dec;27(12):2777-83. 2004. PMID:15562184.
  • Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988. 1988. PMID:15220.

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