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The walnut is the fruit of the walnut tree, a tree of the Juglandaceae family native to Persia. The walnut is the name of a fruit PDO (protected designation of origin, designation regulated by the European Union). It concerns a fruit from a particular growing area and specific varieties specific to that area. The walnut is a particularly good fruit for health with many virtues that I will detail you.
The Benefits of Nuts:
Nuts are Good for the Heart
Consuming oleaginous seeds and fruits, and walnuts in particular, is excellent for cardiovascular health. Nuts contain a high level of polyunsaturated fatty acids. This is due to their fatty acid content in the form of omega 3 and, moreover, an omega / omega 6 ratio favorable to omega 3.
The walnut contains a high rate of saturated fatty acids (10) (polyunsaturated (65%) and monounsaturated (25%) in particular omega-3 (alpha-linoleum acid ALA omega-3) and plus a good omega-6 / omega-3 ratio.
The walnut also contains antioxidants: flavonoids, carotenoids, ellagic acid, melatonin, gamma-tocopherol (vitamin E), selenium. Moreover, the TAC index, the index which measures the more or less antioxidant character of a food, is quite high, greater than 4000 umol.
These omega 3s and antioxidants , added to the potassium contained in nuts, combine their effects in preventing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes: the more nuts you consume, the less risk you have of dying from cardiovascular disease. By consuming at least 5 servings of nuts per week, the risk of death is reduced by more than 25% compared to not consuming them at all (1). Eating a handful of nuts per day decreases the risk of 30-year mortality by 20% and in particular a 29% reduction in heart disease deaths (2).
Among 9 different types of nuts (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts and pecans), walnuts are indeed the most effective in preserving health, because they have the highest antioxidant content (3). The antioxidants contained in nuts have another ability : they reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (4).
Contrary to what one might think, the fatty acids in nuts do not make those who eat them gain weight (5). This is explained by the fact that the unsaturated fats, fibers and proteins they contain increase the feeling of fullness and therefore lead to eating less.
Indeed, nuts (but also oil-seeds in general) are extraordinary appetite suppressants. If during the day you have a craving, instead of a chocolate bar, prefer nuts. This appetite suppressant power comes from their high lipid content and in particular from their richness in polyunsaturated fatty acids (72% of the total fatty acids). In addition, nuts contain, compared to lipids and carbohydrates between 15 and 20% protein, which will be of interest to those who do not consume meat.
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Nuts to fill up with Trace Elements and Minerals:
The walnut will provide you with certain minerals and trace elements in abundance . For minerals you will find:
- Potassium (more than 500 mg / 100 g).
- Phosphorus (nearly 400 mg / 100 g).
- Magnesium (nearly 130 mg / 100 g).
- Calcium (almost 70 mg / 100 g).
For trace elements, you will find:
- Iron and zinc (approximately 2.5 mg / 100 g)
- Copper (approximately 1 mg / 100 g).
Finally, walnuts are rich in vitamin B9 and vitamin E. However, walnut has one drawback, it is acidifying (its PRAL index is approximately equal to 6).
Nuts for Athletes:
It represents a nutritional gold mine because it is an excellent source of protein. Its high content of arginine, an amino acid, makes it a particularly interesting food for muscle reconstruction when you subject your body to intense sports training.
In addition, this nut contains vitamins that are involved in many metabolic processes, including vitamin E (3.54 mg / 100 g) which is of great interest due to its antioxidant effect. Rich in minerals and trace elements, walnuts are a privileged nutritional ally.
How to Eat Nuts?
With its protective shell, the walnut can be eaten all year round. In salads, pies, or to decorate a cheese platter, it can be easily integrated into all recipes, salty and sweet.
On the shelves, we mainly find dry walnuts, in their shells or in kernels, which can be stored very easily at room temperature. From September to November, it is possible to buy fresh fruit. Be careful, they are delicate and need to be stored in the refrigerator and to be quickly consumed. Fresh or dry, and even in oil, walnuts have made a name for themselves on French tables.
To check the quality of the nuts, immerse them in a tub of cool water. Those which rise to the surface can be removed: they are dried out.
Naturalistic advice: You can improve the quality of nuts by soaking them in water overnight. This will help eliminate inhibitory enzymes and phytic acid. After soaking them, dry them at low temperature (between 40 and 45 ° C) until they regain their delicious crunchy texture.