The virtues of walnuts have been much appreciated in Europe since Antiquity. The Count of Dauphiné made his fortune with them in the Middle Ages, when walnut oil was used for lighting in cottages, chateaux and churches. The walnut belong to the family of oleaginous seeds, or “hard-shelled fruits”, dry fruits extremely rich in Omega-3. In France, it is harvested from September onwards and throughout autumn.

Nutritional information

The walnut is the perfect ally for your cardiovascular health. Just three nuts are enough to provide you with your daily needs of omega-3 (1), as a single fruit can contain up to 60%! These acids, indispensable for good bodily health, help diminish arterial stress (2) and improve blood circulation, by acting on the elasticity and tonicity of blood vessels. Omega-3 fatty acids also have a strong cholesterol-lowering effect (3), which means that they facilitate the elimination of surplus low-density lipoproteins (LDL), detrimental to good health (4). These active agents thus help to avoid the manifestation of type 2 diabetes symptoms (5).

Furthermore, walnuts contain other antioxidant acids and phenolic compounds (6) such as manganese or magnesium, effective against oxidative stress and premature cell ageing (7). Walnuts are the perfect solution to a snack attack, as they consist principally of lipids, which satiate hunger rapidly. They have sufficient fat content but can, paradoxically, help you lose a bit of weight, above all around the stomach. It has in fact been shown that a regular intake of walnuts improves the metabolic burning of fats by the body (8).

How to store and taste walnuts & walnut oil

Ideally, avoid as much as possible buying shelled walnuts, as it is estimated that almost 90% of phenolic compounds in walnuts are concentrated in the fragile skin that covers the fruit once shelled. It is also recommended to keep walnuts or walnuts oil in the refrigerator. In case you use  walnut oil , you should not heat it so as to preserve  its antioxidant properties.

Walnut oil possesses the same virtues and is ideal for seasoning salads: something always worth remembering! Regarding recipes, the refined flavor of walnuts knows how to bring out the best in sweet and salty dishes. You can add them to your autumn salads, with other seasonal fruits and vegetables, by combining for example slices of roasted squash, corn salad and sesame seeds. They are just as delicious as a starter, on belgian endives accompanied by a touch of Roquefort cheese. The walnut’s elegance is perfectly suited for stuffings or to enhance meets served with sauce, such as lamb or duck. As a simple snack, walnuts can be enjoyed with other hard-shelled fruits, and they will give a crunchy texture to all your yogurts and mueslis. Don’t forget to add them to your most gourmet cookies and brownies recipes, as a special treat for both young and old.

Sources: Whfoods; passeport santé; interfel
References: (1) Kelly JH Jr, Sabate J. Nuts and coronary heart disease: an epidemiological perspective. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S61-7. 2006. PMID:17125535. (2) Ueshima H, Stamler J, Elliott P, Chan Q, Brown IJ, Carnethon MR, Daviglus ML, He K, Moag-Stahlberg A, Rodriguez BL, Steffen LM, Van Horn L, Yarnell J, Zhou B. Food Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake of Individuals (Total, Linolenic Acid, Long-Chain) and Their Blood Pressure. INTERMAP Study. Hypertension. 2007 Jun 4; [Epub ahead of print] . 2007. PMID:17548718. (3) Morgan JM, Horton K, Reese D et al. Effects of walnut consumption as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet on serum cardiovascular risk factors. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2002 Oct; 72(5):341-7. 2002. (4) Patel G. Essential fats in walnuts are good for the heart and diabetes. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 Jul;105(7):1096-7. 2005. PMID:15983525 (5) Gillen LJ, Tapsell LC, Patch CS, Owen A, Batterham M. Structured dietary advice incorporating walnuts achieves optimal fat and energy balance in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 Jul;105(7):1087-96. 2005. PMID:15983525. (6) Fukuda T, Ito H, Yoshida T. Antioxidative polyphenols from walnuts (Juglans regia L.). Phytochemistry. Aug;63(7):795-801. 2003. (7) Anderson K.J.; Teuber S.S.; Gobeille A.; Cremin P.; Waterhouse A.L.; Steinberg F.M. Walnut polyphenolics inhibit in vitro human plasma and LDL oxidation. Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 131, Issue 11: 2837-2842. 2001. (8) Bes-Rastrollo M, Sabate J, Gomez-Gracia E, Alonso A, Martinez JA, Martinez-Gonzalez MA. Nut consumption and weight gain in a Mediterranean cohort: The SUN study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Jan;15(1):107-16. 2007. PMID:17228038.

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