The round, single-seeded stone fruits are walnuts from trees that are native in eastern North American, but now commonly grown in China, Iran and within the United States in California and Arizona. Under the husk of the walnut shell is a wrinkly, globe-shaped fruit. When this nut is split into two flat pieces and sold commercially they are available both raw or roasted, salted or unsalted.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database reports that about 1 ounce of raw walnuts contains:
• 185 calories
• 3.89 grams of carbohydrate
• 0.74 grams of sugar
• 1.9 grams of fiber
• 4.32 grams of protein
The following percentages of recommended daily nutrient intake are provided by one ounce of walnuts:
• 48% of manganese
• 22% of copper
• 11% of magnesium
• 10% of phosphorus
• 8% of vitamin B6
• 5% of iron
This nut fruit is high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and a good source of protein, with a reputation for being a high-calorie and high-fat food. But, they are dense in nutrients and provide heart-healthy fats, making them a great snack to increase satisfaction and fullness.
It is suggested that walnuts and other plant-based foods decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality. They can also promote a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy and overall lower weight. Walnuts also contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that have been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack.
The British Journal of Nutrition performed a study showing the risk of coronary heart disease is 37% lower for those consuming nuts more than four times per week compared to those who never or rarely consume nuts.
Routine nut consumption is also reported as being associated with elevated resting energy expenditure. Diets that included nuts in moderation showed greater weight loss than in those that excluded nuts. Also, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that women who rarely ate nuts had a greater incidence of weight gain over an 8-year period than those who consumed nuts two times a week or more.
Other benefits of consuming nuts are reduction of gallstone disease and promoting good bone health. Keep your walnuts in a cool, dark and dry place and they will keep for a few months at room temperature, a year in the refrigerator and 2 years in the freezer. Use in salads, homemade granola, pesto sauce, and then top off that yogurt. Just consume in moderation because of the calories. Love those nuts!!
-Dr Fredda Branyon