Walnuts are full of healthy and high density nutrients (especially proteins and essential fatty acids) offered by the nature to nourish the human fraternity. It is one of the most nutritious edible seeds of the genus Juglans and belongs to the Juglandaceae family. Naturally its seed shell is closed under the leathery, fleshy and green husk. It is a round and single seeded (two halves) stony fruit. The most significant and major species of the walnuts are the Black Walnut and the Persian or English walnut (originated in India). Some other species are California Black Walnut, butternuts and Arizona Walnut. The juicy husk from the Akhrot is used as a dye for dyeing the cloth.
According to the statistics of 2010, the China was the largest producer of the walnuts which produces around 1.06 million metric tonnes of walnuts whereas the total production of the walnuts worldwide was 2.55 million metric tonnes. Walnuts are also produced by the India, Turkey, Iran, France, Romania, Ukraine, United States (world’s largest exporter), Mexico and Chile.
Benefits of Walnuts/Akhrot
It is a great seed having lots of health benefits which a person must eat to make his health better than before. Here I am going to mention all the incredible and innumerable health benefits of the walnuts:
Rich Source of all Essential Nutrients
- Walnuts are the rich source of energy as it contains healthy nutrients including minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fatty acids which are required for the optimum health.
- Walnuts are very rich in the Omega 3 (eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA and docosahexaenoic or DHA) and Omega 6 fatty acids which helps our body to cell growth, blood clotting, better immune function, various major disease prevention and etc.
Maintains Cholesterol Level
- Walnuts have ability to lower the bad cholesterol level and enhance the good cholesterol level in the blood thus aids in preventing the major heart diseases and strokes.
Reduces Risk of Cancer
- Walnuts have several nutritive ingredients slows down the cancer growth. Walnuts have omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols (beta-sitosterol), vitamin E and antioxidants which reduce the risk for colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Beneficial for Overall Health
- Eating soaked walnuts is very beneficial to the health instead of consuming it roasted, toasted or baked. Soaking process makes it free from the tannins and even more digestible.
Regularizes Body Organs Functioning
- Walnuts are very good source of several minerals potassium, selenium, calcium, manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and etc which are very beneficial in regulating the growth and development, of sperm generation, better digestion, synthesizing nucleic acid and lots of body functioning.
Lowers Risk of Coronary Artery Diseases
- Its anti-inflammatory property helps in lowering the blood pressure risk and coronary artery diseases.
Rich Source of Phytochemicals
- Its antioxidant property is due to many phytochemicals (ellagic acid, melatonin, carotenoids, vitamin E and poly-phenolic compounds) which reduces the risk of ageing, cancer, inflammation and variety of neurological diseases.
- Walnuts are the richest source of the phytonutrients and minerals like magnesium, selenium, phosphorous, iron, calcium, zinc and etc which are required by the body for maintaining the various body organs functioning.
Protects from Free Radicals
- Eating approximately seven walnuts a day prevents our body from the bad effects of the free radicals.
Reduces Risk of Inflammatory Diseases
- Its high fatty acids content prevents from the various inflammatory diseases such as the arthritis, asthma, eczema and etc.
Makes Bone and Teeth Strong
- Walnuts have essential fatty acids (alpha linolenic acid) which are required by the body to make bones and teeth stronger and healthier.
Induces Better Sleep
- Walnuts contain melatonin which is deeply linked with the better sleep pattern as well as maintain the blood pressure and relive stress.
Keeps Digestive System Functioning Well
- Akhrots are the rich source of dietary fibres which play a great role in making the digestive system work well.
Reduces Risk of Fat Deposition
- Eating walnuts regularly helps in reducing the several problems related to the metabolic syndrome and decreases the risk of abdominal adiposity (fat deposition around abdominal area).
Prevents from Memory Disorders
- Because of its richness in the omega-3 fatty acids, it is very helpful in reducing the attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
Keeps Blood Vessels Healthy
- Walnut has monounsaturated fats which lowers the bad cholesterol and lipoprotein (causative factor of atherosclerosis) which maintains the elasticity and smoothness of the blood vessel.
Reduces Risk of Fat Deposition in Arteries
- Akhrot also contain an essential amino acid (L-arginine) which gets transformed to the nitric oxide and helps in better blood flow to the body thus prevents arteries from getting narrow by preventing fat deposition in the artery walls.
Benefits of Walnuts for Brain
It is a Brain Food Promotes Brain Health
- Walnuts are famous as the Brain Food as they have various potential health benefits. Walnuts are rich in the omega 3 fatty acids which plays a great role in promoting the brain health.
Improves Memory Power
- Walnuts have omega 3 fatty acids which nourish the nervous system and trigger it to work smoothly as well as improve the memory power.
Enhances Concentration Level
- Eating two to three akhrots on daily basis in the morning helps in enhancing the mind and concentration level as soon as possible.
Benefits of Walnuts for Hair
Makes Hair Strong and Long
- Walnuts are considered as the very good hair food as they have biotin (vitamin B7) which helps in strengthening the hair, preventing hair fall as well as improving the hair growth.
Strengthens Hair Root
- Akhrot makes the hair more black, strong and lustrous than before as it strengthens the roots of hair.
Benefits of Walnuts during Pregnancy
Boosts Brain Development in Baby
- Consuming walnuts during pregnancy helps a lot to both mother and baby. It helps in preventing the nausea during pregnancy as well as boosts the baby brain development.
Prevents Baby from Allergic Diseases
- Akhrot also decreases the possibility of developing the allergic diseases in the child.
Prevents Baby from Birth Defects
- Its high B group vitamins and folates content prevent the fetus from the variety of birth defects.
Nutritious Food for Baby
- Eating walnuts by the breast feeding women, makes the healthy and nutritious milk supply to her baby.
Benefits of Walnuts for Diabetes
Reduces Risk of Type-2 Diabetes
- Walnuts are considered as the healthy diet as they are beneficial for all. Consuming walnuts regularly lowers the risk of occurrence of type 2 diabetes as mono and polyunsaturated fats found in the walnuts are good for insulin sensitivity.
Benefits of Walnuts for Weight Management
Prevents from Obesity
- Walnut also plays a very good role in the weight management and obesity control as it is a low sodium and cholesterol free diet.
Benefits of Walnuts for Men
Improves Sperm Quality
- Men who are eating walnuts regularly in their diet (around 75 g on daily basis) get their sperm quality improved mean better sperm motility, vitality, morphology and etc.
Benefits of Walnuts on Skin
Prevents from Harmful Free Radicals
- Walnuts are rich in vitamin E (gamma-tocopherol) which is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant helps in maintaining the skin cell membrane integrity by preventing from the harmful oxygen-free radicals.
Provides Glow to Skin
- Walnuts are also rich in the B group vitamins (riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, B 6, folates and etc) which maintain the glow and health of the skin.
Removes Wrinkles and Improves Skin Elasticity
- Walnuts are rich in copper which prevents the skin from getting age related wrinkles as well as improves the skin elasticity.
Best Scrub for Skin
- Akhrot is used as best facial scrub (5 tsf curd and 5 finely powdered walnuts) to get shiny and healthy skin.
Provides Relief from Sun Burn
- It provides relief to the sun burned skin and accelerates the wound healing process.
Tones Up the Skin
- Manganese is an important mineral found in the walnut provides firmness to the skin and makes it wrinkles free.
Improves Blood Circulation Throughout Body
- Akhrot has some special properties on the skin which boosts the blood circulation to the skin which leads more oxygen and nutrients to each cell thus makes the skin glowing and shiny.
Benefits of Walnut Oil
Prevents Skin from Dryness
- Walnut oil has astringent property which protects the skin from dryness when applied well.
Used for Many Beauty Purposes
- It is also used in the massage therapy, aromatherapy and many pharmaceutical as well as cosmetic industries.
Treats Skin Infections
- Walnut oil makes the skin beautiful and lustrous by treating the skin infections. It also has the antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties which prevents from the Athlete’s foot, Psoriasis, Candida and other skin problems.
Rich Source of Nutrients
- Walnut oil has high vitamins, minerals and proteins thus used in various beauty treatment products. Eating walnuts have the many health benefits.
Effective for Eczema
- Akhrot provides relief from the eczema if applied with the garlic juice on the affected area for 10 days.
Beauty Benefits of Walnuts
- Walnuts are used in many branded beauty products and various shampoos to make the skin, body and hair healthy.
Nutritional Benefits of Walnuts/Akhrot per 100 g
(Source: USDA Nutrient Database)
Energy: 654 Kcal
Carbohydrate: 13.71 g
Starch: 0.06 g
Sugars: 2.61 g
Fat: 65.21 g
Saturated fat: 6.126 g
Monounsaturated fat: 8.933
Polyunsaturated fat: 47.174 g
Water: 4.07 g
Protein: 15.23 g
Dietary Fibres: 6.7 g
Thiamine: 0.341 mg
Riboflavin: 0.150 mg
Niacin: 1.125 mg
Pantothenic acid: 0.570 mg
Pyridoxine: 0.537 mg
Folates: 98 µg
Vitamin C: 1.3 mg
Vitamin E-γ: 20.83 mg
Vitamin A: 20 IU
Vitamin K: 2.7 µg
Sodium: 2 mg
Potassium: 441 mg
Calcium: 98 mg
Phosphorus: 346 mg
Selenium: 4.9 µg
Iron: 2.9 mg
Magnesium: 158 mg
Manganese: 3.4 mg
Zinc: 3.09 mg
Copper: 1.5 mg
Zinc: 3.09 mg
Carotene-ß: 12 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin: 9 µg
Selection and Storage of Walnuts
Walnuts are available in the market in many forms such as sweetened, roasted, salted, unshelled, shelled and etc. You should buy whole raw walnuts in place of processed ones. Select walnuts which look very dense, bright brown color, even size, heavy in weight as well as free of break, bad smell, molds and spots. It should be placed in the cool dry place and airtight container to keep it safe for many months.
Whereas the ideal temperature for storing walnuts for longest period is -3 to 0 degree centigrade and low humidity for both the industrial as well as home storage to prevent walnuts from the fungal molds which releases aflatoxin (not safe to health).
How to Enjoy Walnuts
Walnuts are used in many eatable things as toppings in the pizzas, yogurt, pies, salads, desserts, sweets, ice cream, seafood toppings, koftas, pulao, cutlets, pancakes, pasta, stuffed kachoris, stuffed mushrooms, bread rolls, biscuits, cookies, cakes and etc. Walnut butter is also prepared using walnuts.
Disadvantages of Walnuts
- Dust from the walnut wood has toxic effect on the health.
- People eating more walnuts get angry and sick very easily.
- Over consumption of the walnuts lead to the kidney stone, as walnuts have high oxalates which contribute to the kidney stone formation.
- In some people it may cause the walnut allergy, a type of hypersensitivity which results in the pain in abdomen, vomiting, nausea, lip swelling, throat swelling, breathing difficulty, chest congestion and etc.
How Many Walnuts to Eat Daily
Walnut should be eaten in the limit to get its all health benefits and avoid unnecessary calorie intake. Generally, it is eaten around 40 grams (four or five walnut) on daily basis. One ounce walnuts contain around 18 g of the total fat, so it should be eaten in limit.
Find the Benefits of other Dry Fruits