Walnut is also known as “Royal Nut”
Walnuts are rounded, single-seeded stone fruits of the walnut tree commonly used for food. During the ripening process, the husk will become brittle and the shell hard. The shell encloses the kernel or meat, which is usually made up of two halves separated by a membranous partition. The seed kernels – commonly available as shelled walnuts – are enclosed in a brown seed coat that contains antioxidants. The antioxidants protect the oil-rich seed from atmospheric oxygen, thereby preventing rancidity.
In 2020, the World production of walnuts (in shell) was 3.3 million tonnes, with China contributing 33% of the total production.
Walnuts, like other tree nuts, must be processed and stored properly. Poor storage makes walnuts susceptible to insect and fungal mold infestations; the latter produces aflatoxin – a potent carcinogen. A batch that contains mold-infested walnuts should be entirely discarded.
The ideal temperature for the extended storage of walnuts is −3 to 0 °C with low humidity for industrial and home storage. However, such refrigeration technologies are unavailable in developing countries where walnuts are produced in large quantities; there, walnuts are best stored below 25 °C with low humidity. Temperatures above 30 °C and humidity above 70 percent can lead to rapid and high spoilage losses.
Walnut meats are available in two forms: With shell or without shell. The meats may be whole, halved, or in smaller portions due to processing. All walnuts can be eaten on their own (raw, toasted or pickled) or as an ingredient of a dish: e.g. walnut soup, walnut pie, walnut coffee cake, banana cake, brownie, fudge.
Walnuts are also popular as an ice cream topping, and walnut pieces are used as a garnish on some foods.
Walnuts without shells are 4% water, 15% protein, 65% fat, and 14% carbohydrates, including 7% dietary fiber (table). In a 100-gram reference serving, walnuts provide 2,740 kilojoules (654 kcal) and rich content (20% or more of the Daily Value or DV) of several dietary minerals, particularly manganese at 163% DV, and B vitamins.
Unlike most nuts, which are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, walnut oil is composed largely of polyunsaturated fatty acids (72% of total fats), particularly alpha-linolenic acid (14%) and linoleic acid (58%), although it does contain oleic acid as 13% of total fats.
Pregnancy and Walnut Pregnancy and Walnut
It is generally safe to consume walnuts during pregnancy. They are super rich in omega-3 fatty acids that contribute to the functioning of the brain and neurological health. They are also an important source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which are essential for a healthy pregnancy and baby development. It contains folic acid, which is vital for pregnant women and prevents many birth defects. Expecting mothers can pop just 4-5 kernels daily and give their child a head start.
Walnuts are high in neuroprotective compounds like Vitamin E, Melatonin, Folate and the all-important Omega 3 Fatty acids. All these directly benefit cognitive functioning – which includes memory, attention, concentration, thinking and creativity.
Benefits Of Eating Walnuts During Pregnancy
1. Abundant in Omega-3s
Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that are good for both mother and fetus. Fatty acids stimulate the activity of the brain cells, and also help in the vision development of the fetus.
2. Good for the heart
Walnuts are rich in arginine, an amino acid that helps relax constricted blood vessels and stimulates blood flow. It, therefore, lowers the risk of high blood pressure and also manages cholesterol levels in the body.
3. Rich in antioxidants
The powerful antioxidants such as quinone, juglone, tannins, tellimagrandin, copper, and vitamin E present in walnuts protect the mother-to-be and the fetus from free radical damage. Eating walnuts could improve immunity and increase protection from infections
4. High in folate
Walnuts are the best sources of folic acid that aids in the development of the brain and neurological system of the baby. It also lowers the risk of neural tube defects and congenital malformations in the baby.
5. Helps induce sleep
Melatonin is essential in your third trimester when sleep becomes a major concern. Walnuts help stimulate this hormone in your blood, therefore, inducing proper sleep and rest.
6. Protective against depression
It is natural to feel emotional and get depressed at times when you are pregnant. Walnut and walnut oil are valuable sources of omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid that helps improve physical and emotional wellness of the mother-to-be
7. Helps control excess weight gain
Rich in protein and fiber, walnuts satiate your hunger needs quickly. They will keep you full for a longer period and may also help prevent significant weight gain
8. Source of copper:
Walnuts are a rich source of copper that helps in the production of red blood cells, repair of tissues, and fetal growth and development
Walnuts can be eaten raw or roasted. They can be chopped and sprinkled on salads and are very popular in desserts. Oatmeal with walnuts and raisins is an extremely nutritious breakfast option. Walnuts can also be added to any kind of stuffing. Candied walnuts are often used to top off ice creams and brownies and provide extra crunch. Walnuts can also be finely ground and added to dips and chutneys. Roasted walnuts make a great addition to any kind of trail mix or nutrition bars. You can even use cold pressed walnut oil as a dressing for your salads.