Walnuts nutrition facts
Walnuts are edible kernels obtained from tree belonging to the Juglandaceae family, in the genus, Juglan. The nuts have been revered since ancient times as the symbol of intellectuality since their bi-lobed kernels inside the hard shell feature convoluted surface resembling as that of the human brain! They enriched with many health-benefiting nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for optimum health.
There at least 30 different cultivars types of walnut grown world-over. However, only three popular varities grown for their commercial purposes are English or Persian walnut (Juglans regia), Black walnut (Juglans nigra), and the White or butternut walnut (Juglans cinerea).
Structurally, the walnut kernel consists of two uneven, off-white color corrugated lobes, covered by a papery thin, light brown skin. The lobes loosely attached to each other at center
Oil extracted from the walnut kernels has been employed as base or carrier oil in medicine, and in aromatherapy, apart from cooking.
Health benefits of Walnuts
- Walnuts are rich source of energy and hold several health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health and wellness.
- They are rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids (about 72%) like oleic acid and an excellent source of all important omega-3 essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and arachidonic acids.Regular consumption of walnuts in the diet, therefore, may help in lowering total as well as LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” levels in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids may help cut-down risk of coronary artery disease, and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
- Eating as just as an handful (25 g) of walnuts every day can provide about 90% of RDI (recommended daily intake) of omega-3 fatty acids. Research studies suggest that n-3 fatty acids by virtue of their anti-inflammatory actions may help lower blood pressure, cut-down coronary artery disease and stroke risk, and offer protection from breast, colon and prostate cancers.
- Additionally, they are rich source of many phyto-chemical substances that may contribute to their overall anti-oxidant activity, including melatonin, ellagic acid, vitamin E, carotenoids, and poly-phenolic compounds. These compounds known to have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.
- Scientists at University of Scranton, Pennsylvania had recently discovered that walnuts possess highest levels of popyphenolic antioxidants than any other common edible nuts. 100 g of the nuts carry 13541 µmol TE (Trolex equivalents) of oxidant radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). Eating as few as six to seven walnuts a day could help scavenge almost all of disease causing free radicals from the human body.
- Further, they are an excellent source of vitamin E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol; carry about 21 g per 100 g (about 140% of daily-required levels). Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- They are also packed with several important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates.
- They also very are rich source of minerals such as manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as co-factors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion, and nucleic acid synthesis. Selenium is an important micronutrient, which functions as a co-factor for anti-oxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidases.
- Walnut oil has flavorful nutty aroma and exhibits excellent astringent properties. When applied locally it helps keep skin well protected from dryness. It has also been employed in cooking, and as “carrier or base oil” in traditional medicines in massage therapy, aromatherapy, in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry.
” Munch a handful of walnuts a day and you will get enough of recommended levels of minerals, vitamins, and protein.”