In 2016, there were 56.9 million deaths with an average life expectancy of 72 years at birth that was recorded worldwide according to the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO is an authority of the United Nations that facilitates and implements initiatives to spread Universal Health coverage in every country. They have recorded at least the top 10 global causes of death, in the same year, which starts with Ischaemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lower respiratory infections, lung cancer, tuberculosis, and others. Knowing these data and causes of death gives us a better understanding of how health issues affect us, making us more aware that our health is very important. Hence, being healthy is always a top priority.
Walnuts have been a solution used by ancestors & great civilizations in the earlier years, such as Persia, Greece, Rome, and China to treat and sustain human health, and up until now, we’re still developing great potential of this wonder fruit that walnuts are healthy.
What Is Walnut? A Brief Introduction
A small rounded nut that is hard and thick wood covered shell surface that is grown in moderate climates of North and South Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. It is being used for commercial, nutritional, and medicinal purposes. They are consumed because of their great use for quality products and healthy contribution to our body. In earlier times, these fruits are used as a quick remedy to heal ailments such as bruises, bad breath, hair loss, and etc. Later on, it was used as an ingredient in recipes possessing qualities that is good for stomach digestion and other commercial production.
Walnuts have many classifications but the top two and well-known nuts are the English walnut, or Juglans Regia, also known as the Persian walnut which is said to be believed that the origin came from Persia, in the earlier centuries, and because of trade it arrived in Greece, Rome, and China. This is the most popular walnut and is traded by many countries. The other one is called the Black walnut, or the Juglans Nigra, which is highly seen in North Americas and known to have a very tough nutshell.
Use, Trading, and Production of Walnuts
Countries produce walnuts because of its many uses, like the walnut wood in the line of furniture business due to their hardwood and the dense surface it is actually good for cabinets while some car manufacturers and gun makers also use the wood for special parts of their products. In addition, Walnut’s saps are being utilized as well to create dyes which are colored ingredients being mixed with textiles and fabrics.
China has been the top producer of Walnuts followed by the United States of America (USA), Iran, Turkey, and Mexico in 2016. The Walnut market has a very good positive development in the previous years and is projected to have very strong growth in 2017 to 2027 due to the increase of health awareness, changing lifestyle, and growing demand for the use of walnut in the cosmetic industry according to Research and Markets, a company providing industry market research globally.
Trading walnut in the market is categorized into English, or Persian, Walnut and Black Walnut then are being segregated and classified into shelled and in-shell. Shelled walnuts are mechanically cracked by air separation, screened for size, and are sent to electronic laser sorting units for shell removal. While In-shell walnuts are being dried and sized according to jumbo, large, and medium standards.
Here is the process on how walnuts are being produced, handled, and market:
- Growing: Walnut saplings are planted. The plant is expected to grow for 5 to 7 years and be categorized as an adult bearing walnut tree. It is also assumed that the tree can produce fruit for as long as 100 years.
- Harvesting: Ones the walnut has seen with the drying and splitting of the outer green hulls it is ready for harvest.
- Processing-Hulling: Pre-cleaners are used to clean the walnuts, ones they are cleaned the huller removes the outer green hull while the nut is mechanically dehydrated till it reaches an 8% moisture level for quality purposes then transported to packing plants and stored until it is ready for cracking.
- Grading: Ones transported to the packing plant, walnuts are now being graded based on their usage, in-shell or shelled. Two more procedures are being done through color and size. Shelled walnuts are being graded based on color, while walnut kernels are filtered and allocated according to their sizes.
Nutritional Aspect of Walnuts
Walnuts are a nutrient-rich superfruit that has a great amount of Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), which is an omega 3 fatty acid, which is good for the heart, lowers high blood pressure, prevents hardening of the blood vessels, and helps treat other diseases. Among all the other nuts, Walnuts have the biggest content of Omega 3 fatty acids compared with Pecans, Almonds, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Pistachios, and so forth.
The fat in walnuts contains no cholesterol and no trans fat. Ongoing studies are exploring walnut’s role in reducing other risk factors for heart disease, reducing inflammation, and aiding in weight management.
Health Benefits of Walnut To Your Body
Walnuts, which are rich in ALA, are beneficial to the skeletal system by strengthening bones through unique nutrient-dense whole food sources from ALA.
Studies show 28 grams of walnut in-take a day lowers total cholesterol, lowers low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, progresses endothelial cell function and improvements in blood lipid levels.
Walnut has several antioxidants including selenium, melatonin, gamma-tocopheral (a form of Vitamin E) and several polyphenols.
Walnut provides a filling of fullness that prevents indulgence which helps the success of weight management.
ALA is an essential fatty acid that cannot be produced by the body and must be consumed through diet. Walnuts contain the highest amount of ALA among the classification of nuts.
Walnuts have been a solution used by many in so many ways. Health benefits have been very apparent and continuously being developed. Hence, being healthy is always a top priority.