Did you know that walnuts are the oldest tree nut that man has consumed? That is a distinction by itself and the sheer number of years we’ve been cultivating and eating the stuff has likely led to the number of ways walnuts have been used worldwide over the centuries.
As with all nuts, walnuts too are densely packed with calories and nutrients. Little wonder then that nuts used to be, for thousands of years, the preferred food supplement for long distance travel, and in fact still are. Their hardiness and propensity to keep for a long time without refrigeration makes them even more favoured for such purposes.
So, considering we’ve been using walnuts since 7,000 BC, or about 9,000 years, what have we found out about them?
The green husk of walnuts can be used to make ink, with the black walnut being the preferred variety for the purpose. It was used to dark paper as well as produce stains, even used by legendary artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt. Apart from art and printing applications, it was also used in ancient times to mark the skin of criminals, by the Romani tribe, a nomadic, European ethnic group.
Ground fine, walnut shells are great for gently scrubbing the skin, exfoliating it of dead cells. The same principle was at one time applied to aviation parts in the US Military, but was ultimately stopped some time in the 80s. The same thought can be applied to home made mixtures to scrub stubborn stains off cooking utensils and other surfaces at home.
As we know by now, what we eat affects our hair longer than what we apply externally. Full of B Vitamins, walnuts aid hair care due to their Vitamin B7 or Biotin content, which is said to strengthen hair, improve hair growth and reduce hair fall.
Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts helps in keeping skin bright and healthy by aiding the retention of moisture and nutrients. Vitamin E, also found in walnuts, is a powerful anti-oxidant that not only promotes skin health, but also accelerates healing. Other healthy fats in walnuts among other nuts aid in the reduction of inflammation and in protecting the skin against UV rays.
Lung Cancer Risk Reduction
Walnuts are a significant source of gamma tocopherol, which according to preliminary research, may aid in reducing lung cancer risk. While we’re on the subject, alpha tocopherols do so too, to a greater extent, and are found in fresh egg yolks and spinach among other significant sources.
As per a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the consumption of walnuts could reduce the risk of prostrate cancer in men, in addition to improving the vitality, motility and morphology of sperm.
Studies have indicated that those who include even a handful of walnuts in their daily diets show greater weight loss than those who don’t. This is attributed to the types of fats contained in walnuts and the longer feeling of satiety provided as opposed to other snack foods.
Ultimately, there’s a whole bunch of positive effects associated with walnuts and the downside is only present if we eat too many of them. It just makes sense to include them in our daily diets and those of our families. I’ve already done so and hope you’re going to too!