Walnut, this small fruit, contains an impressive array of nutrients. It lowers cholesterol, improves metabolism and maintains the health of diabetics. In addition, it helps to cope with viral diseases, obesity and bad mood. And this is only a small part of the huge list of useful properties of this amazing product.
It is believed that the country of origin of walnuts is Persia. But the distribution of this plant in ancient times was not limited to the vicinity of modern Iran. Archaeologists find fossilized remains of fruits near the Himalayas, in Turkey, Switzerland, Italy. And the oldest walnut, believed to have grown in 8000 BC, was found in Shanidar Cave (modern day Iraq).
- King's nut
- Why is it still "walnut"
- "Nut" folklore
- general characteristics
- Nutritional value
- Beneficial features
- Side effects
- How to choose the right one
- Areas of use
- Useful properties of walnut oil
In ancient times, this plant was treated with special respect. The Persians called it royal, and only the rulers of the country had the right to use this fruit for food. In Mesopotamia, lush walnut groves were a special pride. These trees were part of the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Memories of walnuts are found in the records of the Babylonians, in the Old Testament, as well as in Greek mythology. By the way, it is the Greeks who are credited with the first cultivation of the Volosh tree. Interestingly, the Hellenes called this plant the Persian or royal nut. They used it for food, as a medicine, and as a dye for hair, fabric and wool. In addition, the Greeks considered this product an aphrodisiac and called it "grains of love."
The walnut fruit was also worshiped by the Romans. In the ruins of the Temple of Isis in Pompeii, archaeologists also found these nuts. It is assumed that they were sacrificed to the goddess on the day of the eruption of Vesuvius.
Why is it still "walnut"
We call it walnut, while other nationalities have found other names for it. Historians say that it is by the name that it is easy to determine where the nut came from in certain countries. The plant was brought to Russia by the Byzantines, who were perceived as Greeks 
It is interesting that all the peoples that make up the Roman Empire later began to call this product simply a nut (in Latin - nux). The root of this word has so far remained in the names of Italians, Romanians, French, Spaniards, Portuguese. The then inhabitants of the imperial periphery "christened" the plant with the Volosh nut (Wallachia - modern Romania, Eastern Romanesque peoples). This name has survived in Czech, Polish, Ukrainian, German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch and English. In the USA, where the fruit was brought from Britain, it was called “English”. But in Afghanistan, the nut was given a name for its appearance - charmarghz, which translates as "four brains."
The tremendous popularity of the tree has given rise to many myths, legends and superstitions associated with this plant. So, the Romans, who considered the walnut the fruit of the goddess of marriage and motherhood, Juno, had a tradition to shower the newlyweds with kernels. The French kept sacks of nuts in their homes as a symbol of abundance and longevity. And the youth had a tradition: young men put a leaf from a tree in the shoes of a girl they liked.
In the 17th century, Italians considered walnuts a “witch tree” and tried not to plant them near the stables, so as not to cause pestilence of domestic animals 
For many centuries, in most countries of the world, the attitude towards the nut has changed dramatically: either it was revered as a fruit for the development of the brain, then it was despised as a food that dulls mental abilities.
What do modern researchers think of this product?
Today, over 30 cultivated varieties of walnuts are known in the world. For industrial purposes, its plantations are grown in China, Turkey, France, Moldova, Romania, Russia, the USA and many other countries. A young tree gives its first large harvest in about the fourth year. Mature plants grow up to 20-30 m, and the trunk circumference can reach 7 m. These are long-lived trees. Some are two millennia old.
By the way, it is undesirable to grow vegetables near nuts, since the roots of this tree release toxins into the soil 
The fruit of the walnut tree consists of three parts: the kernel (the edible part), the shell (hard shell) and the pericarp (green fleshy shell). Man has found a use for all of them.
Walnuts, along with Brazilian nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pine nuts and pistachios, belong to the Walnut family. Each of these species has a variety of nutrients. But if we talk about Volosh fruits, then most of the nutrients are contained in them in quantities close to 100 percent daily norms.
For example, a quarter cup of peeled fruits are exceptional servings of manganese, copper, molybdenum, biotin, omega-3 fatty acids, and a host of other ingredients. Walnuts contain over a dozen phenolic acids, numerous tannins, and a wide range of flavonoids.
Vitamin E, found in walnuts, is especially beneficial because instead of the more common form of alpha-tocopherol in nature, it is in the form of gamma-tocopherol. In this variation, vitamin E helps to strengthen the cardiovascular system.
Another unique feature of these fruits is the following: despite the high calorie content and high amount of fat, this product is very nutritious without causing obesity. Walnuts contain more polyunsaturated fats, which are important for the heart and blood vessels, than any other nuts.
In addition, this product contains the following items:
- copper - important for the heart, bones, nervous system, immunity;
- phosphorus - a mineral needed for bone density;
- folic acid - pregnant women especially need it;
- vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) - important for immunity, nervous system, prevents anemia;
- ellagic acid - an antioxidant that is essential for the proper functioning of the heart, prevents cancer;
- catechin - a flavonoid that is important for the heart;
- melatonin is a neurohormone necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system, heart and blood vessels.
|Calorie content||656 kcal|
|Vitamin A (retinol)||8 mcg|
|Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)||5.8 mg|
|Vitamin E (tocopherol)||2.6 mg|
|Vitamin K||2.7 mg|
|Vitamin B1 (thiamin)||0.39 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)||0.12 mg|
|Vitamin B3 / PP (niacin)||4.8 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)||0.82 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||0.8 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (folic acid)||77 mcg|
|Vitamin B4 (choline)||39.2 mg|
Usually, the simplest foods are the most beneficial to the body. This also applies to walnuts, which nature has endowed with an almost ideal ratio of proteins, healthy fats, dietary fiber, plant sterols, antioxidants and many vitamins and minerals. Therefore, among all nuts, walnuts are rightfully considered the king. And by eating 6-7 fruits a day, you can protect yourself from most diseases 
Walnuts have been shown to reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer. An experiment on laboratory mice showed that after 18 weeks of a nutty diet, malignant formations in prostate cells slow down in growth, and the area of damaged tissues decreases 
Substances found in fruits with anti-cancer properties:
- gamma tocopherol;
- ellagic acid;
Hazelnuts contain the amino acid L-arginine, which is especially important for people with heart disease or those predisposed to heart disease. But, by the way, precisely because of the high concentration of arginine, it is better not to use the product for persons with herpes, since at the stage of treatment this trace element will cause relapses of the disease.
The second component that makes nuts good for the heart is alpha-linolenic acid. It plays the role of an anti-inflammatory agent, prevents the pathological formation of blood clots. Research confirms that people with adequate levels of this substance in their diets are less likely to have heart attacks 
But that's not all of the heart health benefits of walnuts. This product helps keep cholesterol levels within safe limits, thereby preventing atherosclerosis and other troubles caused by clogged blood vessels.
Antioxidants: Unique and Powerful
Antioxidants are critical to health. They are believed by scientists to control the aging process by fighting free radicals. Hazelnuts contain several unique and very powerful antioxidants not found in other foods. Almost 90% of these elements are concentrated in the skin of the fruit. The high content of polyphenolic substances reduces the activity of oxidative processes. One study found that the antioxidants found in nuts prevent liver damage from chemical poisoning 
Adding hazelnuts to your diet will help you maintain a healthy weight. This is achieved not least due to the high protein content, which ensures the feeling of fullness for a long time.
Improving reproductive health
Scientists have proven the effect of nuts on male fertility. Studies show that individuals who consume about 75 g of fruit daily (slightly more than half a glass) significantly improve sperm quality, including sperm vitality and motility 
Fruits, which contain vitamin E, folic acid, melatonin, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, have a beneficial effect on the functioning of brain cells. All of these substances are found in walnuts. No wonder that even in ancient times, people considered these fruits useful for the brain. Even nature itself openly hints at this in the form of a nut kernel.
Studies in older adults have shown that regular consumption of nuts significantly improves memory 
For 10 months, scientists observed laboratory mice with Alzheimer's disease. It turned out that after the nut diet, their memory and learning skills improved significantly. And after eight weeks of consumption of walnuts in animals, age-related transformations in brain cells slowed down 
In addition, walnuts are believed to be beneficial in treating depression, insomnia, mood swings, and hyperactivity in children.
Benefits for Diabetes Mellitus
Diet nut fats have a beneficial effect on metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes. It is known that one of the "side effects" of this disease is being overweight. Regular consumption of walnuts (about a quarter of a glass on an empty stomach) reduces not only body weight, but also blood glucose levels 
Foods such as walnuts with near perfect chemical composition can be hazardous in some cases. The fact is that this fruit is one of the most common and strong allergens.
Moreover, allergy after nuts, as a rule, has serious consequences: anaphylactic shock or even death is possible (if medical assistance is not provided on time).
In addition, the product contains phytic acid, which, according to scientists, can interfere with the absorption of iron and zinc. However, people on a balanced diet should not worry about this.
How to choose the right one
When buying whole nuts, it is important to pay attention to their weight. Healthy fresh food in the palm of your hand should feel a little heavier for its size, and its shell should be bright brown. If the shell shows signs of mold, the fruit is unsuitable for consumption. When you have to choose among peeled nuts, it is better that it is a hermetically packaged product.
After opening the container, it is recommended to store the kernels in the refrigerator in order to avoid the appearance of a bitter aftertaste.
Areas of use
In the food industry
Kernels are consumed raw, toasted or dried, sweet or salted. They are added to baked goods, sweets, desserts, salads. This product is used for the preparation of creams and nut butters. It is especially common in oriental cuisine. Jams, marmalade and even liqueur are made from green nuts.
In ancient times, so that bread does not stick during baking, the base of the stove was sprinkled with chopped shells.
Even in ancient times, the walnut was used as a cure for many ailments. In particular, ancient healers prescribed it to patients after serious illnesses - to recuperate. In the East, nuts were a staple for troops on a campaign. And the oil of these fruits was used as a medicine for healing wounds and burns.
The wood of this plant is prized for its exceptional strength. Furniture, dishes, musical instruments are made from walnut. And during the First World War, propellers for aircraft were cut out of it.
Even in ancient times, artisans learned to cook brown paint from nut juice, and yellow paint from green shells. This dye was actively used by weavers to give their products a beautiful color.
In ancient times, women also noticed the coloring abilities of the nut. They made hair dye from the plant. Moreover, it performed two functions at once: it gave the hair a deep brown tint and strengthened it, since this fruit is an excellent source of biotin.
Useful properties of nut oil
This product, made from ripe kernels, has been known to mankind for many centuries. Walnut oil contains all the nutrients that a fresh fruit has. But apart from its medicinal goals (accelerating wound healing), this product played other roles as well.
The Egyptians, for example, used it for mummification, the inhabitants of the East - as raw materials for oil lamps, the inhabitants of Western Europe - as oil in temples. In cosmetology, walnut oil is known as an anti-aging agent that smoothes the skin and gives it a healthy color and radiance.
The artists also loved this oil. Over the centuries, they have used it for mixing paints. In particular, the examination showed that Picasso, Cezanne, Monet regularly used this product 
The inclusion of walnuts in the diet can be considered one of the easiest ways to replenish the reserves of nutrients. It seems easier to name the diseases from which this delicious fruit does not heal than to list all its advantages.