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Walnut

The walnut is a large and unusual looking round nut from a large ornamental tree that is known for its beauty. Inside the hard outer shell is a sweet and oily kernel that is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients. The distinctive flavor of the walnut makes it a great addition to baking and flavoring many dishes in the kitchen.

Walnut
The thermal nature is slightly warming.
The flavour is .
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What it is

The walnut comes from the large ornamental and beautiful walnut tree that grows 10 to 40 meters tall. There are many varieties of walnut although the English walnut, known also as the common walnut, the black walnut and white or butternut walnut are the main types that are eaten. The most common for eating is the English walnut, producing a large, 1 – 2 inch (3 – 5cm) round shaped and very hard but thin shell with a rugged but smooth surface. The kernel of the nut is large and made up of two bumpy lobes that are partially attached at the center. These lobes are off white in color and covered by a thin light brown skin. 

The black walnut has a more pungent flavor but with a thicker shell while the white walnut is sweeter with an oilier taste, although it is harder to find in stores or markets.


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What is in it

Walnuts are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, a very good source of manganese and a good source of copper and tryptophan. Walnuts are also an important source of phytochemical antioxidants and ellagic acid.


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What it is good for

• Reduce inflammation
• Moisten the lungs and intestines
• Reduces coughing from cold conditions
• Nourishes the brain
• Strengthens the sperm
• Treats impotency
• Treats cold
• Reduces back an joint pain


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When you get it

Walnuts are picked in early winter although they are available in shops and markets all year around.


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Which to select

Walnuts can be bough in their shells, already shelled or chopped. The more whole the nuts when you buy them the longer before they will become rancid.

Walnuts that are in their shells have a long storage life. Look for shells that are not split or stained, as this can be a sign of mould, which makes the nuts unsafe to eat. The whole walnuts should feel heavy for their size. 

To ensure freshness, buy shelled nuts that are prepackaged or in well-sealed containers from a store with good turnover. The nuts should be an even color and not soft of shriveled. The walnuts should smell sweet and nutty. If the smell is bitter or sharp, then the nuts are rancid. Taste one to be sure they are not old or rancid.

Because of the high oil content, nuts and seeds become rancid when they are hulled, this deterioration begins immediately. Buy, store and eat only fresh nuts and seeds.

If you want nuts with a roasted flavor, buy nuts that have been dry roasted without oil and no other additives such as sugar or preservatives, better still, roast your own.

Why Organic
Choose organically grown vegetables whenever possible. To eat organic means to live cleanly, free of pesticides and toxins. It is a conscious choice. One made in order to survive right along with the planet that sustains us. Organically grown foods do not over-run the landfills with toxic waste from their farming or subject your body to unhealthy toxins. For your health and for the planet, choose to eat organic foods. To understand more about why organic is better please read our “Why Organic?” special feature.


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Where to store

Because of the high fat content in walnuts it is very important to store them well to stop them from becoming rancid. Store shelled walnuts in a sealed, airtight non-plastic container in the refrigerator. Heat and light speed oxidization

Do not store in plastic, oil rich foods combine with plastics to form plasticides.

Shelled walnuts will keep for several months if stored in the refrigerator. Stored in the freezer they will keep for up to a year.

Unshelled walnuts should keep well for up to six months if stored in dry, cool and dark place.


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How to use

Eat nuts and seeds in moderation.

Shell the walnuts if they are still in the shell. The nuts can be eaten whole, chopped by hand and added to yogurts, other deserts or into a healthy curry or sauté.


Roasting reduces the effects of rancidity and reduces the oiliness making the nuts and easier to digest. Lightly roast at 160-170°f for 15 – 20 minutes, to preserve the healthy oils.

Walnuts can be added to cakes, muffins and breads for an extra sweet nutty flavor.

Chew well to increase the medicinal value of nuts and seeds.


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How much you need

To reach your health goals and become healthy the most important step is to eat a well balanced diet of food from across all the food groups. 

For an average person 
 
Servings per food group:
• Whole Grains (Carbohydrates):  6 – 8 
• Meat and beans (Protein):  1 – 2 
• High quality fats: 1
• Dairy:     2 – 3
• Fruit: 2
• Vegetables: 5
• Water: 6

This list is of recommended daily amount of each food group for an average person 19 to 50 years old with a low level of exercise (30minutes of less a day). If you are older you may need a little less, if you are younger, a little more and if you are very active even more food should be eaten. For more information on serving sizes see our special feature on Sizing Up A Serve.

It is important to ensure that the foods that you eat are of a high quality. The highest quality product is one that is fresh, whole and organic.

Fresh – over time the quality of nutrients degrades with their potency dying off.

Whole – many foods, particularly vegetarian foods carry a lot of their nutrients in their outer skins. So leave bran, germs and skins on the food where possible; always with grains and whenever the fruit of vegetable permits.

Organic – ensure you have the cleanest food by using only foods that are grown without pesticides, or other chemicals, in a natural way as people have in all bar the last 80 years of history. Chemical burdened foods are a modern invention designed to increase output with little regard to the health of the end user.


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Things to watch out for

Eating too any nuts and seeds can cause problems with digestion, blemishes and pimples and can cause bad smelling flatulence.

Roasting or other cooking methods will kill parasites that are often carried by walnuts.

People with signs of heat like watery stools and strong thirst and excess like a robust body and personality, ruddy complexion, thick tongue coating, strong voice and pulse should use most nuts and seeds little if at all.

Avoid walnuts if in the case of heat signs.
  
Walnuts do not contain measurable amounts of oxalates or purines and are not commonly allergenic.
 


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References

The Journal of Nutrition – The American Society for Nutrition, http://jn.nutrition.org, retrieved 02/2009.

Wikipedia, Walnut, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walnut, retrieved 02/2009.

Prepared by the editors at Harvard Health Publications in consultation with Meir J. Stampfer, M.D., Dr.P.H., Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Vitamins and Minerals: What you need to know,  Harvard School of Public Health, 2008.

Bratman, Steven, and David Kroll. Natural Health Bible. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1999.

Paul Pitchford. Healing with whole food, North Atlantic Books, 2002.

Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders, 2004.

Norton Greenberger M.D. and Roanne Weisman, 4 Weeks to Healthy Digestion, Harvard School of Public Health. (2008)


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Reviews
member From: Eclipse
on 15/12/2014
Love walnuts. The best taste and texture. Nothing better than walnuts in a banana loaf.