Walnuts are edible seeds produced by trees belonging to the genus Juglans. Although varied species of the tree are available, three types of species stand out. The Persian (regia species) that is also grown in Britain and USA, the black and the white walnut species stand out for their high nutritional value. Walnut trees are also cultivated ornamental trees for their beauty. Walnut trees have been cultivated for thousands of years. Currently, China, US, Ukraine and Romania are the major producers of Walnuts in the world respectively.
Walnut nutritional benefits cannot be underestimated. Walnuts are very rich in varied nutrients including carbohydrates, healthy sugars, soluble and insoluble fiber, varied minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids and much more. Research studies undertaken on the seeds have established both health and beauty benefits. Such include:
- Cardiovascular benefits – Walnuts do not only taste great. Consumption of walnuts is very beneficial to the body’s cardiovascular system. Walnuts contain powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties that promote proper blood composition and flow. The nutrients also improve blood quality, resulting in decreased cholesterol levels and an increase in omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cells. Consumption of Walnuts also leads to decreased aortic endothelin, which in effect improves endothenial cell function.
- Blood pressure benefits – Consumption of Walnuts has been established to impact positively on blood pressure. Walnuts contain varied minerals including potassium, calcium and magnesium, which all work in maintaining optimum blood pressure in the body by regulating the same.
- Metabolic syndrome benefits – Such conditions as high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides and high cholesterol levels all contribute to the occurrence of metabolic syndrome. Consumption of Walnuts over several months has been established to eliminate these conditions, in effect eradicating metabolic syndrome.
- Diabetes benefits – Consumption of Walnuts is a very effective way of managing diabetes Type 2. Because those of suffer from diabetes Type 2 also are at risk of developing cardiovascular health problems, consuming Walnuts can go along way in dealing with the same.
- Anti-Weight loss benefits – The high levels of anti-inflammatory properties in Walnuts including Omega-3 fatty acids and phytonutrients have been established to work against built up of fat in the body, in effect preventing weight gain and obesity.
- Cognitive benefits – Consumption of Walnuts has scientifically been established to increase memory and thought processes.
Although Walnuts are readily available, selection and storage of the same is critical. For un-shelled Walnuts, buying those that have weight is recommended. The shells should not show crack signs as cracked shells often contain nutmeat with molds. Shelled Walnuts are very common and should be stored in airtight containers and refrigerated. Refrigerated Walnuts can stay fresh for up to six months. Like with shelled nuts, un-shelled nuts should be refrigerated. Alternatively, unshelled Walnuts can be stored in cool, dry and dark places where they can stay fresh for six months.