Wisdom of Walnuts
As an example, when walnuts are consumed whole, including the skin, people get more nutritional benefits. That slightly bitter, flaky outer part of a shelled walnut contains 90 percent of the polyphenols found in this incredible nut. These polyphenols are excellent antioxidants.
Walnuts have a very beneficial form of vitamin E. Instead of vitamin E being present in the alpha-tocopherol form, in walnuts it is in the form of gamma-tocopherol. This form of vitamin E is significant in cardiovascular health. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of walnuts help with metabolic disorders, Type 2 diabetes and breast and prostate cancers.
Walnuts have been around for thousands of years. Roman lore holds that the gods feasted on walnuts, which they believed brought good health and increased fertility. In the Middle Ages, Europeans believed that evil spirits lurked in walnut branches and were thought to be useful in warding off lightning, fevers, witchcraft, the evil eye and epileptic fits.
There are many different types of walnuts including the black walnut, Chinese walnut, Japanese walnut and the white walnut, which is commonly called a butternut. All of them are harvested when their outer green skin begins to crack.
The English walnut is available all over the world, has a thin shell, which can be easily crushed and has curly nutmeat halves. Their flavor is both bitter and astringent. Eastern black walnuts are native to America. Their shells are very hard and some people use a hammer to crack them open. The flavor is rich and nutty and popular for nibbling.
Walnuts have a very high oil content and can easily become rancid so after purchase, put them in the refrigerator or freezer. Be careful of purchasing commercially shelled walnuts because they are frequently treated with ethylene gas, fumigated with methyl bromide, and dipped in hot lye to loosen their skins. These shelled walnuts are less healthful than an organic nut opened at home.
Walnuts are warming and laxative and can help strengthen the kidneys and lungs and lubricate the large intestine. They also improve metabolism. They contain the essential arachidonic fatty acid which helps alleviate bursitis symptoms. They are full of heart healthy monounsaturated fats and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Walnuts combine well with herbs and all types of spices and can be used to create some delicious raw dips. Try this Spicy Walnut Dip recipe for something truly delicious and healthy.
Spicy Walnut Dip
- 1 cup walnuts
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup almonds
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp Himalayan salt
- ¼ cup onion
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
- 3 Tbsp red bell pepper
- 1 Tbsp jalapeno pepper
- ¾ tsp cumin
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes
- 2 medjool dates
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil
For a delicious finger food, dehydrate patties of the walnut dip at 105 degrees for 24 hours. This enhances the spicy rich flavor. For a less spicy taste, just leave out the jalapeno pepper.
Brenda Cobb is author of The Living Foods Lifestyle and founder of The Living Foods Institute, an educational center and therapy spa in Atlanta, offering healthy lifestyle courses on nutrition, cleansing, healing, anti-aging, detoxification, relaxation and cleansing therapies. For more information, call 404-524-4488 or 800-844-9876 and visit LivingFoodsInstitue.com.