Have you ever wondered what is in walnuts? I know that I have wondered what is in walnuts. Are walnuts a super food? The answer may surprise you.
Walnuts have been eaten, and otherwise utilized in foods, to make French cheese, as an oil, as a snack, added to many recipes, as well as used as a stand alone medicine for thousands of years.
I will explain the different types of walnuts, where they originated, what is in walnuts as far as it’s nutritional profile, which is substantial. In addition I will let you know what health conditions walnuts have shown to improve or otherwise benefit.
Interestingly, the shape and appearance of the walnut gives an indication of the parts of the body that it benefits the most.
The walnut tree in addition to yielding tasty, nutritious nuts, provides wood that is often used to make attractive, sturdy furniture, artistic carvings, and other objects for the home, and workshop.
Types of Walnuts
There are different types of walnuts from different parts of the world. These walnuts varieties are generally similar both in appearance, as well as nutritional profile, as they all are part of the same walnut family.
The vast majority of walnuts are produced by three countries: The United States, of which most are grown in the state of California, France, and India.
The White walnut or Butternut originates from the United States, primarily the eastern part of the country, as well as from Canada’s southeast.
The Eastern Black walnut is also native to the eastern United States, and to southeastern Canada.
The English walnut, the Persian walnut. Circassian walnut, or the common walnut, as known in Great Britain, is a walnut tree species native to the region stretching from Southwest China to the Himalayas, and westward to the Balkans.
Processed Walnuts versus Organic Walnuts
Walnuts are available commercially in grocery stores, organic food stores, and the like. Ideally you want your walnuts to be unprocessed, and from walnut trees or groves that are not treated with pesticides and other chemicals either on the trees themselves or in the soil in which these trees grow.
In other words, the walnuts should be organic, and not heated or pasteurized. Organic walnuts are never exposed to excessive heat, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, or other additives. In addition, GMO or genetically modified seeds are never used.
By using organic methods, and not heating or otherwise adulterating the walnut tree or the walnut itself through processing, the nut is at it’s optimum nutritional state which means you will receive the full benefits which are considerable, with none of the possible negative side effects.
The best way to ensure that the walnuts you buy are at least unprocessed is to buy them still in the shell. It is worth the extra trouble to have to crack open the outer shell and expose the inner nut or fruit, in order to maximize the amount of beneficial nutrients that the walnut provides when you eat it.
However, even buying the whole walnut in it’s shell does not fully guarantee that it comes from an organic source. Do your best to inquire as to the source of the nut so that you can purchase organic, should you choose to do so.
The Healthiest Nut
Walnuts are considered to be by those in the know, the healthiest of all nuts. And, due to the fact that all nuts are good for us, this is really saying something. The nutrient profile, and nutrient density are about the same among the different types of walnuts.
So, what is in walnuts that make them the healthiest nut? Walnuts are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. They are high in protein. They also loaded with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, and phosphorous. Walnuts also contain large amounts of vitamins like vitamin B1, B2, B3, and folic acid, another B vitamin.
Walnuts also have the best form of vitamin E, gamma tocopherol. Other forms of vitamin E which walnuts don’t have are dl-alpha tocopherol, a synthetic form, and d-alpha tocopherol, another natural form. In addition, they also contain good fats such as polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats, as well as dietary fiber.
Walnuts also have a higher anti-oxidant load than all other nuts, which are found primarily in the brown outer skin. These anti-oxidants may be the walnut’s most important health enhancing attribute.
A large concentration of these and other nutrients are found in the outer skin of the walnut. This can sometimes be white in color or waxy looking. It can also sometimes have a flaky consistency.
Don’t disregard this part of the walnut, as most people do because they are simply not aware of the nutritional power that it represents.
Health Benefits of Walnuts
Many health conditions are improved, and or eradicated by adding walnuts to the diet. Some of the conditions that are effected are:
Eating 2 to 3 walnuts per day has been shown to improve the insulin levels and metabolic parameters of those with Type ll Diabetes, also known as Adult Onset Diabetes. Eating walnuts has also proven to reduce sugar cravings in those effected.
Walnuts contain naturally occuring melatonin which aids in going off to sleep, and in promoting restful, rejunvenating sleep. Melatonin also helps reset your circadium rythyms, or your sleep/wake cycles which can be thrown off by jet lag.
Walnuts can help promote weight loss by providing a feeling of satiation, or feeling full. By eating walnuts as a substitute for other foods, it is possible to lose weight, and maintain your ideal weight over time. Walnuts can also help in increasing your fat burning metabolism, which in turn can help you lose weight more quickly.
Much evidence has shown that eating walnuts can improve the elasticity of blood vessels, and prevent the formation and accumulation of plaque, thus helping prevent heart disease.
In addition, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels, considered factors in causing heart disease, have shown improvement from eating walnuts.
This is the result of high levels of anti-oxidants which destroy free radicals, and from plant source Omega 3 fatty acids. Eating walnuts on a regular basis can lower your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by a minimum of 55%.
Due to walnuts ample content of B vitamins, and anti-oxidants, your skin, and hair will benefit. Not only will eating walnuts help with wrinkles, and sagging skin, but it will also provide you with a more glowing appearance.
Your hair will also be more healthy, and have a more vibrant appearance. Your nails will also harden, and grow healthier. You will look better because you are healthier from the inside out, and not because of a phoney mask as many store bought expensive, chemical laden cosmetics, and shampoos provide.
Walnuts have shown good results with breast cancer, prostate cancer, and even with pancreatic cancer. From a preventative standpoint, eating walnuts as part of a healthy diet, exercise, and lifestyle can be quite beneficial. Eating walnuts regularly lowers your risk of dying from cancer by 40%.
Walnuts and walnut oil can lower your resting blood pressure, lower your blood pressures’s response to stress, and reduce the pulse rate. This is due to the high fiber, anti-oxidant, and unsaturated fatty acid content in walnuts.
Walnuts can help fend off depression due to their high content of mood boosting Omega 3 fatty acids. Symptoms of ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hypertension Disorder can also be helped greatly by eating walnuts.
In addition, walnuts can increase seratonin levels, the feel good brain chemical that can lift mood, and improve depression, and bring up down moods.
The walnut ‘fruit’ as it sits in the shell resembles the human brain in appearance. Not surprisingly, the walnut does much to improve the health and function of the human brain. Coincidence? I think not.
What is in Walnuts is Super
Walnuts truly are a super food. Walnuts are found in most parts of the world. The three main walnut producing countries are the United States, France, and India.
Walnuts are used in many foods such as French cheeses, as an oil, as a stand alone food, and as a medicine. The wood of the walnut tree is used in making furniture, art work, and other objects for the home and work shop.
Organic, unprocessed walnuts are far superior to processed, and heated walnuts. Organic walnuts retain their entire nutritional profile which is substantial, and can be extremely beneficial for those that consume it.
The walnut is loaded with nutrition. It contains healthy oils, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, anti-oxidants, and fiber.
Many health conditions are improved by consuming walnuts. These include diabetes, sleep, weight loss, heart/cardiovascular, skin/hair/nails, cancer, stress, and mood among others.
Walnuts are an inexpensive, delicious, safe way to benefit your health. Every kitchen should have a bag or bowl of walnuts.
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