Walnuts, or commonly referred as ‘Akhrot‘ in Hindi, ‘Akroot Kaya‘ in Telugu, ‘Akrottu‘ in Tamil, ‘Akrothandi‘ in Malayalam, ‘Acrota‘ in Kannada, ‘Akrod‘ in Marathi and ‘Akrot‘ in (Gujarati & Bengali). Walnut is one of the very common ingredients in our daily life. We consume walnuts in chocolates, cakes, cookies, etc. Even though they have a slightly bitter taste, people love them. There are two types of walnuts-black and normal brownish one that you all must be aware of. Both the types are really beneficial for our body, let’s see how.
Walnuts are really great for the skin and the body. Many makeup and skin care brands include walnuts in their ingredients as they are rich in nutrients that benefit our beauty routines. They are also sought after for hair care. Many shampoos contain walnut extracts and walnut oil as they keep the hair healthy and make them shiny.
[ Read: Benefits Of Neem For Skin And Hair ]
Health Benefits Of Walnuts
1. For The Heart
Due to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the walnuts, they are very beneficial to the cardiovascular system. It has been found that eating just a few walnuts per day can help reduce the blood pressure, so those with high blood pressure take note! The omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce the bad cholesterol in the body and encourage the production of the good cholesterol. This is again beneficial for the heart (1).
2. For Immunity
Walnuts have high amounts of antioxidants in them that keep your immune system healthy and prevent the onset of diseases. Add some walnuts to your diet every day to keep yourself fit as a fiddle (2).
3. For Brain Health
The omega-3 fatty acids present in the walnuts are also good for the brain. Having food rich in omega-3 fatty acids keeps the nervous system working smoothly and improves your memory (3).
4. For Breast Cancer
The American Association For Cancer Research has published in its 2009 research volume that consuming a few walnuts each day can help reduce the risk of breast cancer (4).
5. For Inflammatory Diseases
Those with inflammatory diseases like asthma, arthritis and eczema can benefit from walnuts as they have high amounts of fatty acid in them (5).
6. For Bone Health
Walnuts contain an essential fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid. This alpha-linolenic acid and its compounds have been associated with stronger and healthier bones. Also, as you intake omega-3 fatty acids through walnuts, inflammation decreases, and this is related to keeping the bones stronger for a longer duration (6).
7. For Better Sleep And Stress
Walnuts have melatonin, and this compound is said to be associated with better sleep patterns (7). Also, the omega-3 fatty acids keep the blood pressure low and help relieve stress.
8. For Pregnancy
Having a walnut daily can greatly benefit those who are expecting. Walnuts contain healthy vitamin B-Complex groups like folates, riboflavin, thiamin, etc. These are necessary for a pregnant woman and the fetus.
[ Read: Pregnancy Personal Care Tips ]
9. For Constipation And Digestive System
Walnuts are rich in fiber, and they are a great way to keep your digestive system functioning properly. All humans require fiber on a daily basis to keep their bowels functioning correctly. Usually, the common sources of protein, such as meat and dairy products, lack fiber. Having walnuts daily can help you with digestive problems and keep your bowels functioning properly (8).
[ Read: Health Benefits of Dates ]
10. For Internal Cleaning
Walnuts are your internal vacuum cleaners as they literally cleanse the digestive system of uncountable parasites. As a designated superfood on account of its nutrient content, the snack food is beneficial to heart health and weight loss as well.
I call it strictly snack food because walnuts should be taken in minimal quantities each day. Moderation truly is the key for this nutrient powerhouse, if you want to avoid allergies or unforeseen health conditions.
11. For Curing Fungal Infections
There is no better way to cleanse yourself of fungus inside-out than with black walnut. Candida growth in the digestive system and fungal infections occurring on the skin are both highly aggravating.
These infections create a range of uncomfortable symptoms, from releasing toxins to itching. Black walnuts are effective against fungal outgrowths, on par with other treatments available (9).
Walnuts For Healthy And Beautiful Skin
12. Delays Skin Aging
Walnuts are good for the skin as they are packed with B-vitamins. Vitamin B is an excellent stress and mood manager. Lower stress levels result in a better skin. Increased stress levels can result in the earlier onset of wrinkles, thus inducing faster aging. The presence of the B-vitamins, together with Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant, helps in fighting the free radicals induced due to stress. This further delays the aging process (10).
13. Walnuts For A Moisturized Skin
Those with dry skin should try applying warm walnut oil regularly. Walnut oil helps keep the skin moisturized. It nourishes the skin from within, enhancing the growth of healthier and radiant cells (11).
14. Bid Adieu To Your Dark Circles
The regular application of warm walnut oil is known to lighten the dark circles. It is a wonderful soothing agent (12). The oil extracted from the walnuts is known to ease puffiness and relax your eyes, retaining its glow and color.
15. For Glowing Skin
Reap the benefits of walnuts by preparing an easy face pack at home.
How To Use
- Add 4 walnuts, 2 teaspoons oats, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon cream, and 4 drops of olive oil in a blender.
- Blend well to make a smooth paste.
- Apply it on your face and let it dry completely.
- Wash with warm water, while massaging in a circular motion.
This face mask is a great way to keep the facial skin moisturized and delay the onset of wrinkles.
Eat Walnuts For Healthier Hair
These days, with factors like pollution, hectic lifestyles, and poor eating habits, our hair is more dull and damaged than ever before. You can now get healthy, glowing hair by incorporating walnuts in your daily hair care regimen. Walnuts, whether consumed or applied externally as oil, are known to keep your hair healthy and glowing.
16. Longer, Stronger Hair
Walnuts are good sources of potassium, omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids. All these ingredients strengthen the hair follicles. Thus, the regular application of walnut oil on the hair leaves you with longer, stronger, healthier, and glowing hair (13).
17. Prevents Balding
Studies show that the regular use of walnut oil can keep balding issues at bay.
18. Natural Anti-Dandruff Agent
Walnut oil is widely used in producing hair oils due to its rich moisturizing properties. Hence, it is widely suggested as a natural anti-dandruff agent (14).
19. Healthier Scalp
The regular application of walnut oil keeps the scalp moisturized and hydrated, thus keeping medical conditions such as dermatitis at bay. The antifungal properties of walnut oil are beneficial in preventing the infections triggered by ringworm. This further ensures a healthier and cleaner scalp. A healthy scalp will lead to healthy hair (15).
20. Highlight Your Hair Color Naturally With Walnuts
The husk of walnuts is a natural coloring agent that could accentuate the natural highlights of your hair. Walnut oil contains a rich amount of assorted proteins. These help in improving the color of the hair, while giving it a healthier glow (16).
How To Use
It is advisable to apply walnuts, in the form of oil, at least thrice a week for reaping the benefits. For better results, it can be used alone or along with coconut or olive oils. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor before you start using the oil to rule out the chances of allergies, if any.
1. Allergic Reactions
According to The American Cancer Society, people who are allergic to nuts, pecans, in particular, should avoid black walnuts. This is because of the allergic reactions associated with it (17). These reactions include tightness in the throat or chest, hives, difficulty in breathing, and rashes.
[ Read: Side Effects Of Prunes ]
2. Could React With Other Medications
As black walnut is sold as a dietary supplement, it has not been tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the interactions it can cause with other medications that you may be taking. The tannins present in the hull reduce the absorption of the medication.
3. Skin Cancer
Many people apply black walnut topically on their skin to treat minor cuts and eczema. However, they should be aware that juglone, a chemical compound present in black walnut, is toxic, according to a researcher associated with Purdue University (18). This toxic chemical could result in the formation of malignant tumors on the skin when applied daily.
4. Changes In Cellular DNA
According to a study published in the Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology Journal, juglone present in black walnut adversely affects fibroblasts, which are the cells that produce collagen proteins (19). Researchers found that the chemical dramatically decreases the levels of p53, a type of protein, and causes irreparable damage to the cell DNA, resulting in the death of the cells.
5. Equine Inflammatory Disease
The extract of black walnuts is toxic to horses (20). It causes a disease known as equine laminitis, which is an inflammatory disease. It causes white blood cells to accumulate in the hooves of the horse, leading to pain and lameness.
6. Iron Deficiency
Black walnut contains compounds known as phytates. These have a strong effect on the body’s ability to absorb iron. According to the Iron Disorders Institute, phytates can reduce the absorption of iron present in the food by up to 50 to 60 percent. This ultimately leads to iron deficiency.
7. Liver And Kidney Damage
Today, black walnut is available as a supplement. Since there are different brands and makes of supplements, the strength of each supplement varies. If you overdose on black walnut, it could adversely damage your liver and kidneys. This damage is caused by juglone, which is the active ingredient of black walnuts and found in copious quantities in the hull.
8. Dries Up Body Fluids
According to the WebMD website, black walnut can dry up bodily fluids, such as mucus. Hence, it shouldn’t be used to treat cough when you have a fever. It will cause you to dehydrate and interfere with the absorption of your fever medication.
9. Skin Rashes
When applied topically, black walnut could result in skin rashes. This again is due to the chemical compounds found in the hull of the nut that irritates the skin, leading to red-colored rashes on the affected area. According to the Allina Health website, the rashes are itchy and cause skin inflammation.
[ Read: Side Effects Of Walnuts ]
10. Birth Defects
As the phytates in black walnut cause cellular level changes in the DNA and cell death, it is possible this supplement could result in birth defects or have an adverse effect on the growth of the fetus. It also could result in miscarriages. Hence, according to Baseline of Health Foundation, pregnant women should not use black walnut. The same holds true for breastfeeding women as well.
How To Choose The Right Walnuts
Walnuts come in three different sizes – small, medium, and large. Check the shells thoroughly. Avoid shells that come with holes and/or cracks. If you are picking up the shelled ones, then make sure that the meat within is plump and crisp.
How To Store Walnuts
You can store walnuts in an airtight container in a dry, cool area, away from direct sunlight. This gives a shelf life of 3 months, provided the walnuts are in the shell.
Once you remove the shell, you can store it in your refrigerator for a maximum of six months. You can freeze the walnuts in an airtight package and use them for one year, without any damage. Walnuts generally absorb food flavors quite easily. While refrigerating or freezing, make sure they are kept at a safe distance from foods such as onions, cabbage or fish.
You can relish 1ounce of walnuts daily.
1 oz = ¼ cup = 12 to 14 halves, depending on the size.
Tips For Cooking
You can enjoy the benefits of walnuts by snacking on them directly or incorporating them as part of your diet. Here are a few tasty ideas for using these nuts:
- Add 2 to 3 walnuts along with banana and yogurt for a healthy smoothie.
- Transform it into a delicious spread by toasting and then grinding into a powder. Blend it along with garlic, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and a dash of pepper.
- Prepare a delicious salad by mixing walnuts, diced apple, red and yellow bell peppers, and spring onions. Toss in a low-fat garlic vinaigrette dressing.
- For a protein-packed meal, prepare a delicious meal with canned tuna, avocado, celery, and apples. Toss in toasted walnuts and flavor the meal with fresh lime juice.
- Toss in a handful of crushed, toasted walnuts in your butter-free, sugar-free, whole grain, almond-oats cookie.
- Walnuts can be paired with caramel, blue cheese, mushrooms, port, assorted salads, penne pasta, zucchini, raisins, and sherry.
- Always shell the walnuts or chop them only when you plan to eat. This will help retain the freshness.
Walnuts come packed with nutrients. So start using these nuts today and reap their benefits to lead a healthier life.
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