Walnuts: Source of Omega-3

Walnuts are the only nut that contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids!

Walnuts were the first whole food to receive a health claim from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: “Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”

Walnut Facts:

  • California produces 99 percent of walnuts commercially available in the U.S.
  • California controls 70 percent of world trade in walnuts.
  • The industry is made up of over 5,500 growers and 55 handlers/processors.
  • California walnuts are English walnuts.
  • English walnuts have a thinner shell and more nut meat compared to black walnuts.
  • English walnuts originated in Persia. Black walnuts are native to North America.
  • English walnuts contain six times more omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Newly planted walnut trees take 4 to 6 years to start producing walnuts.
  • A walnut tree can produce walnuts for more than 100 years!

Walnut Nutrition Information

  • A 1 ounce serving of walnuts (about 1/4 cup) contains 185 calories.
  • The majority of fat in walnuts is the “healthy” polyunsaturated fat.
  • California walnuts contain no cholesterol, no sodium and no trans fat.
  • Walnuts are a good source of magnesium, phosphorus and copper.
  • Walnuts provide protein and dietary fiber.

How Walnuts Can Benefit Your Health?

  • Walnuts contain melatonin, a powerful antioxidant believed to reduce risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • Walnuts contain ellagic acid, a phytochemical associated with reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Walnuts contain L-arginine, an amino acid associated with reducing blood pressure.

Research has shown that eating a 1 ounce handful of walnuts every day — as part of a healthful diet — can:

  • Lower total cholesterol.
  • Lower LDL “bad” cholesterol.
  • Reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduce insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduce inflammation.
  • Improve the function of arteries.
  • Suppress appetite to aid in weight management.
  • Improve bone health.
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Help you better control your type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

Walnuts & Fatigue & Depression

Walnuts can alleviate symptoms of fatigue! A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that alphalinolenic acid found in walnuts can boost energy and relieve depression symptoms.

For depression, the alpha-linolenic acid in walnuts may help you be less depressed. In research from the Nurses’ Health Study, women who had the most ALA in their diets were less likely to be depressed. According to the study, when your blood levels of ALA are low, so are you. Low ALA levels also fan the flames of inflammation, which has been linked to depression. What’s more, ALA also decreases levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which inhibits anger and aggression.

Walnut Storage and Handling Tips

To maintain optimum freshness, flavor and nutritional value of California Walnuts, follow these guidelines:

Shelled Walnuts:

  • Store in air tight packaging.
  • Store away from foods with strong odors (e.g. cabbage, onions)
  • Rotate your inventory. Practice FIFO: First In, First Out!
  • For storage up to 6 months: Refrigerate at 32 to 41 degrees.
  • For storage longer than 6 months: Freeze at 0 degrees.

In-Shell Walnuts:

  • Do not shell walnuts until you are ready to use them.
  • Refrigerate in-shell walnuts until you are ready to use them.
  • Rotate your inventory. Practice FIFO: First In, First Out!
  • For storage up to 6 months: Refrigerate at 32 to 41 degrees.
  • For storage longer than 6 months: Freeze at 0 degrees.

Using Walnuts

  • Use walnut halves for candied or spiced walnuts or decoration — any where you want a beautiful walnut half.
  • Use walnut pieces when you want smaller bites: baked goods, salads, entrees.
  • Use chopped walnuts for coatings, in pancake batter or to sprinkle on soups or side dishes. Or use them in granola, muffins or quick breads, as a topping for cereal or yogurt, in trail mix, in desserts such as bars, cookies or as a topping for ice cream sundaes

Serving Suggestions

  1. Substitute walnuts for pine nuts in fresh pesto.
  2. Sprinkle them on top of an apple-and-caramelized-onion pizza.
  3. Add them to oatmeal, dry cereal, or salad.

Cheese and Walnut Balls Recipe

A tasty change of pace from plain cheese. For parties, you can make them ahead and freeze them.

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheesecloth4 ounces Gorgonzola or blue cheese
2/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

In a small mixing bowl, blend the cream and blue cheeses. Roll the mixture into 1inch balls with your hands (use about 1 teaspoon for each one).

On a sheet of wax paper, roll the balls in the chopped walnuts. Will keep 1 week refrigerated on a plate covered with plastic wrap. To freeze, place the balls in a single layer on a plate and cover tightly with aluminum foil. When frozen, transfer to double plastic bags (one inside the other) and freeze at 0 degrees. Will keep 1 month. Yield: About 24 Cheese and Walnut Balls.

Toasted Bread with Walnut Oil

1 loaf fresh baguette bread
Walnut oil (can substitute w/olive oil)
Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice bread in thin equal slices. Brush lightly with oil and toast on a cookie sheet in oven for 10 minutes or until golden. Servings: 10

Nutrition: One serving (2 slices) provides approximately: 127 calories, 3 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 6 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 23 mcg folate, 1 mg iron, 192 mg sodium.

Walnut History

  • In the 4th century A.D., the Romans introduced walnuts to many European countries, where they have been grown ever since.
  • Walnut oil was once used as lamp oil.
  • The walnuts grown commercially in the U.S. are known as “English walnuts” because they were first brought to our shores on British mercantile ships.
  • In 1704, while visiting Natchez, Mississippi, a French explorer, Penicaut, reported finding “large nuts, some as large as a fist” (Black Walnuts), and “”, which he described as the “best kind“. Penicaut is credited with the first recorded use of the Indian word ‘pacane,’ which meant “nut to be cracked with a rock.

Read More: Food Facts