Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Just read this article from one of my favorite websites, and in addition found that the subject matter gave me more insight into a food that happens to be great for me, simply because I'm a 'O' blood type. Read on.

Abuja, Sep 18, 2009 (Daily Trust/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- Nuts generally have become popular as all round source of nutrition and are favoured by those who exercise regularly as a good source of protein and energy. Walnuts which are popularly known as awusa or asala in Yoruba, arinsa in Igbira add extra nutrition, flavor and crunch to one's meal.

These nuts, which are harvested in December and are available all year round come from an ornamental tree that is highly priced for its beauty. The walnut kernel consists of two bumpy lobes that look like abstract butterflies. The lobes are off white in colour and covered by a thin, light brown skin. They are particularly attached to each other while the kernel is enclosed in round or oblong shells that are brown or black in colour and they are hard.

Although the nuts are said to have a high fat content, it plays a role in the provision of a balance diet; with beneficiary nutritional contents covering all the important food groups.

When it comes to their health benefits, walnuts definitely are regarded as a "brain food" not only because of the wrinkled brain like appearance of their shells but because of their high concentration of omega 3 fats.

A nutritionist, Dr Kabir az-Zubair, Director, Molecular Biology & Bioinformatics of National Biotechnology Development Agency, Federal Ministry of Science & Technology, said the human brain is made up of more than 60% structural fats and for the brain cells to function properly, these structural fats need to be primarily the omega 3 fats which are mostly found in walnuts.

"Walnut is an excellent source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, a special type of protective fat the body cannot manufacture. It has many health benefits ranging from cardiovascular protection, to the promotion of better cognitive function and the anti-inflammatory benefit that is useful for Asthma patients, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory skin diseases such as Eczema and psoriasis; walnuts also contain an anti-oxidant compound called ellagic acid that supports the immune system and appears to have several anti-cancer properties," he said.

These nutritious nuts are also important source of monounsaturated fats amounted to 15% of the fats found in walnuts so adding it to ones diet is an important step in improving cardiovascular health. Studies on the dietary value of walnut show that increasing the dietary intake of walnuts as favourable effects on high cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors.

In addition to their heart protective monounsaturated fats, walnuts concentration of omega-3 essential fatty acids is also responsible for the favourable effects walnut consumption produces on cardiovascular risk factors.

Omega-3s benefit the cardiovascular system by assisting in preventing erratic heart rhythms, making blood less likely to clot inside arteries (which is the proximate cause of most heart attacks) and improve the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to potentially harmful (LDL) cholesterol. Omega-3s also reduce inflammation, which is a key component in the processes that turn cholesterol into artery clogging plaques.

Walnuts also contain relatively high levels of L-arginine, an essential amino acid which becomes a special import in hypertensive persons. Human body according to experts converts l-arginine into nitric oxide, a chemical that helps keep the inner walls of blood vessels smooth and allows blood vessels to relax. Since individuals with hypertension find it difficult to maintain normal nitric oxide levels which may also lead to other significant health issues such as diabetes and heart problems, walnuts can serve as a great addition to their diets.

In a research published by the British Journal of Nutrition which identified several nuts among plant foods with highest total antioxidant content, suggests that walnuts and chestnuts have the highest antioxidant content of tree nuts with walnuts delivering more than 20mmol antioxidant per 3ounces (100gm).

The research concluded that, consumption of nuts at least 4 times in a week showed a 37% reduced risk of coronary heart disease while each additional serving of nuts per week shows 8.3% reduced risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease, intake of a handful of walnuts at least 4times in a week is recommended for persons suffering from these diseases.

Prevention and control of high blood pressure is also one of the benefits derived from eating walnuts because it is gathered that individuals whose diets provide greater amount of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid have lower blood pressure than those who consume less and walnuts has been identified as an excellent source of this essential fats.

It also improves the cholesterol profile in persons with type 2 diabetes. In patients with type 2 diabetes, a daily ounce of walnuts in a diet in which 30% of calories came from fat related into a significant improvement in subject's cholesterol profile. The nuts are found to reduce levels of several molecules that promote atherosclerosis.

Preventing gallbladder disease may be as easy as having a handful of walnuts as part of ones diet or tossing some walnuts on salad because it helps in prevention of gallstones in women. For a better night sleep, sprinkling ones dinner with a handful of walnuts is good because it is a source of bio-available melatonin - a hormone produced by the pineal gland, which is involved in inducing and regulating sleep and it's also a powerful antioxidant in bio - available form, making the perfect evening meal for a natural good night sleep.

Apart from the dietary benefit of walnuts, straw-coloured clear oil can also be extracted from fresh walnuts which must be protected from the light and oxidant agents because it becomes rancid easily. This oil is used as a tonic for children and aged people as well as a dry agent for painting for the rapidity by which colours dry in it.

The nutritional value of walnuts can be likened to that of cheese because of its high content of proteins and fats. Walnuts have a high source of essential unsaturated fatty acids such as alfa-linoleic acid and their contents in proteins and vitamins are good, especially in vitamins B and E groups.

Maintenance of healthy levels of melatonin is important for everyone over the age of 40 since the amount of the hormones produced by the human body decreases significantly as humans age. This reduction in antioxidant protection may be related to the development of free radical related diseases later in life; thus walnuts are highly recommended for everybody for healthy living.

by Romoke W. Ahmad ( contributing writer)

Stephanie Arit offers other healthfilled possibilities for you:


  1. Very thoughtfull post on wellness. It should be very much helpfull

    Karim - Creating Power

  2. Know the surprising Benefits Of Walnuts. Walnut is a rich calorie food that ultimately gains you good healthy body and skin. Excellent amount of folate energizes brain health. Walnuts are also filled with oil but it is low in cholesterol.


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