Nutritional Benefits of Walnut:Brain Nourishing Effect and Pharmacological Mechanism.
- Basic Botanical Information of Walnut:Juglans nigra.
- Countries of origin,and habitat of Walnut.
- Names of the Walnut in History.
- Walnuts Uses in Ancient Times.
- Habitat of the Walnut,Juglans nigra.
- Parts and Uses of Black Walnut:Juglans nigra.
- Walnut,Juglans nigra:Parts Used Medicinally.
- Characteristics of Walnut Tree.
- Phytochemical,Constituents,Nutritional Composition and Profile of Walnut.
- Qualities of Walnut,Juglans nigra.
- Common Health Benefits of Walnut,Juglans nigra.
- Medicinal Benefits,Action and Uses of Walnut Part.
- Benefit of Walnut Oil.
- Nutritional Benefits of Walnut:Brain Nourishing Effect and Pharmacological Mechanism.
- Walnut or He Tao:Notes from Ancient Herbal Classics and Herbalists.
- Walnut Varieties and Grading.
- Some of the Common Walnut Species.
- Walnut:Applications,Combinations,Administration Guide and Safety.
- Walnut and Human Civilization:History and Archeology,World Cuisines,Folklore.
- Walnut In Pandit Heritage:Rituals and Recipes.
- Research Update of Walnut.
Nutritional Benefits of Walnut:Brain Nourishing Effect and Pharmacological Mechanism.
Nuts are a highly concentrated form of excellent nutrition; however, it's important to stress that they ought to be eaten in moderation. Because walnuts, like other nuts, are high in fats, it's important to note they are also high in calories.
While one-fourth cup of raw, unsalted walnuts contains 180 calories, be aware they contain 18 grams of fat, 1.5 grams saturated. The fat in walnuts is mostly polyunsaturated. If you are watching the fat, you can calculate your fat intake by dividing the 77% of calories from fat by the180 calories to learn that a one-fourth cup serving contains 43% fat. That percentage may sound high, but it should not discourage a healthy person from gaining nutritional benefits from eating walnuts in small quantities.
Walnuts are rich in protein, providing 7 grams for that same one-fourth cup, 2 grams of fiber, and only 7 grams of carbohydrates. Walnuts can be considered a super food because they contain a full complement of vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and folic acid. They also contain a wealth of minerals, such as iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Walnuts contain Vitamin E--alpha, beta, delta and gamma-tocopherol, making it exceptionally high in antioxidants.
Nutritionists tell us that Omega 3 fatty acids are found in only a few plant food sources, yet are essential to a healthy body. In a 2,000-calorie diet, 3 tablespoons of walnuts will provide our daily requirement of these Omega 3 fatty acids.
The Brain Nourishing Effect of Walnut Seed:
Many of walnut's nutrient contents are very helpful to the growth of the nervous system, performing complementary effects in the process of uptake by the brain. They are the nutrients that can be rapidly absorbed and utilized by the brain.
It is good to stir and fry walnut seed with black and white sesame, which benefits the brain. Walnut seed looks like the human brain in shape and is known to have the brain supplement effect based on the concept "to supplement form with like form". (However, you can not get the same effects with the pig brain although it also looks like human brain.)
However, what I said about the concept "to supplement form with like form" is different from what is usually understood. What is the most common fallacy among Chinese people? They misunderstand the meaning of these words. Since the brain grows in a particular shape, people think that "to supplement form with like form" means that we should look for foods in that shape to get benefit. In fact, we should look at these words from another perspective. The human brain grows into a particular shape. Why does another thing also grow into such a shape? The genes of walnut make its seed grow into a similar shape as that of the human brain. "To supplement form with like form" means that the energy developed in the growth of walnut seed coincides with that of the human brain. That is to say, the energy on which walnut grows (the nutritional contents) develops it into a particular form (shape) similar to human brain. Therefore, the "form" does not refer only to the appearance but also includes the specific structure of the food and its nutritional ingredients and other components, such as vitamins, etc.
The real meaning behind the concept "to supplement the brain with food of like form" is that certain nutrients in the food are much easier to be absorbed by the brain. Many ingredients in different foods are all helpful to the brain and the body except that some are more absorbable than others. That is because different nutrients of food interact in the process of absorption. Some interrupt while some promote the absorption of other ingredients. In the case of the walnut seed, many of its nutrient contents are very helpful to the growth of the nervous system, performing complementary effects in the process of uptake by the brain. They are the nutrients that can be rapidly absorbed and utilized by the brain, and therefore are very effective in supplying nutrition to the brain. This is supposedly the real meaning of the words "to supplement the brain with food of like form".
The Study of Walnut in the Sciences of Food and Nutrition:
For many years, walnut has been regarded as a health food that is nutritious and delicious as well. Both the preventive and therapeutic effects of walnut are documented in the Chinese medicine and the Western folklore medicine.Consequently, many scientists have long been engaged in the study of walnut.Though scientific studies have not completely verified the mysterious healing effects of walnut, most of them are positive and affirmative in that aspect. From the viewpoints of nutrition, walnut's nutritive value can be primarily divided into the following aspects:
(1).The supplement of sufficient calories: Walnuts, like other nuts, are rich in calories. In the case of California walnut, each 100 grams edible portion provide approximately 630 kilocalories, approximately three or four times of that in rice. The calories in walnut come mainly from its abundant fat and protein. In the past, people living in some areas of the world relied heavily on walnuts to supplement energy needed in life. However, as life gets more affluent, walnut is not so highly valued for rich calories it contains, rather it becomes the food that weight watchers and beauty pursuers stay away from.
(2).Rich in essential fatty acid: Every 100 grams of edible portion of walnut contains as much as 68 grams of fat, in which a majority is the polyunsaturated fatty acid, such as Linoleic Acid and Linolenic Acid, accounting for 70% of the total fatty acid (Table 1). The rest are the monounsaturated fatty acid (18%) and the saturated fatty acid (12%). Therefore, though walnuts are rich in calories, its fatty acid is mainly the unsaturated acid that would not cause burden to human cardiovascular system. It is worth mentioning that walnuts contain rich Linoleic Acid (58%) and Linolenic Acid (12%), both are essential fatty acid in sustaining a healthy body. Especially, Linolenic Acid is an omega-3 type of fatty acid. 20:5n-3 (EPA) and 22:6n-3 (DHA) that become popular in recent years also belong to this omega-3 type, which is known for its significant effect of lowering blood lipid and cholesterol.
(3).The source of quality protein: People usually weigh the quality over the quantity of protein. Walnuts, however, are excellent both in quality and quantity. Every 100 grams of edible walnuts contain 14.4 grams of protein, of which most are of good quality and is therefore easy to digest. From walnut's amino acids (Table 2), we know that walnuts have a considerable variety of amino acids.In addition to several essential amino acids that the human body cannot synthesize, it also contains many amino acids that are difficult to obtain from other vegetarian foods. Therefore, vegetarians are able to obtain all the proteins the body needs if taking walnut with other bean products.
(4).Rich in fiber: Walnut is rich in fiber. 9.7 grams of fiber contained in every 100 grams of edible walnuts, in addition to the plentiful fat, taking walnuts satisfies the stomach easily. Beside, fibers ingested help the stomach and bowel movement, digestion and excretion, preventing constipation. Some researches point out that fiber-rich foods help lower serum cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases, such as heart diseases and stroke.
(5).Other vitamins and minerals: Walnuts contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. As for vitamins, the abundant fat in walnut carries fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A and E, and it also contains water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, B1, B2, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and niacin. As for minerals, walnut has iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, etc. Among minerals, walnut is very low in sodium and in every 100 grams of edible walnut, there are only 10 milligrams of sodium, meeting the prevailing low sodium health concept. Besides the above-mentioned nutrients, there are several hundreds micronutrients, including several pigments, phenolic compounds, etc., which still remain to be studied scientifically. Based on the available information, these micronutrients interact with other nutrients in the body. Some of the micronutrients have such effects as anti-oxidation, immune stimulation, anti- carcinogenesis, and anti-infection.
The Pharmacological Mechanism of Walnut, and the Concept of the Brain Supplement Effect in the Chinese Medicine:
The Emperor Huang's Inner Classic Conversation(Huang Di Nei Jing), a Chinese medicine book from 2500 years ago, discussed about the brain in many places:
"The brain is inside the skull, connecting the spinal cord."
"The Du meridian of the extra eight meridians exists in the spine, connecting up to Fengfu, being part of the brain."
"The leg Greater Yang meridian governing bladder -- its top connects the brain"
The Chinese medicine believes that man's spirit, consciousness, and intellectual faculties are governed by heart and also related to liver and kidney.Therefore, it is said that "the brain is the ocean of marrow; all the marrow are part of the brain; the area between the brain on the top and the end of spine at the bottom is the passage of the marrow". These statements explain that the "brain" is where all marrow merges. Li Shi Zhen in the Ming dynasty pointed out explicitly that "the brain is the house of the soul and that man's memorizing ability is in the brain". That further explains man's spirit, consciousness, and intellectual faculties are brain functions. He also thinks that all bodily movements, all the activities of the nervous system and the mental activities, such as vision, hearing, etc. are related to the brain.Ling Shu Hai Lun (medical theses on the ocean of marrow) says, "If the ocean of marrow is deficient, one suffers from vertigo, tinnitus, leg pain, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue and sleepiness." Based on "the Theory of Organ Symptoms", we can relate the physiological, pathological, and intellectual activities of the brain to different organs: mainly, heart, liver, and kidney. (Editor: these are the names of the bio-energy system not the organs in its usual sense.)
(1).The heart stores the spirit: the heart is the leading organ that governs the spirit. Primarily, it governs the mental activities and intellectual faculties.
(2).The liver governs the physiological activities of excretion and muscular tissue, which are partially the brain functions: "Liver Chi stagnation", "liver Yang excess", "liver wind inner movement" are basically the symptoms of the central nervous system, while medications used to relieve the liver, smooth the liver, reduce Yang, and still the wind are effective to the central nervous system.
(3).The kidney stores the vitality: As the kidney generates marrow and the brain is the ocean of marrow, the kidney is closely related to the brain."Kidney vitality deficiency" interferes with an infant's brain development and reduces an adult's or an elderly's brain functions. "Kidney vitality deficiency" is what is generally known as the lack of kidney vitality, of which the major symptoms are dizziness, decrease of the intellectual ability, decrease of the reproductive function, the incomplete development of skeletal system, slow growth, dwarfism, slow intellectual activities, bone pain, difficulty in walking, slow mental state and physical actions.
The above are the brain disorders listed in "Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic(Huang Di Nei Jing)", of which the names of the diseases or symptoms coincide with those of the Western medicine.Therefore, the Chinese medicine is scientific despite the fact that the systems described (such as heart, kidney, and liver) are based on the bio-energy systems of the body, which are different than those in the Western medicine.Clinically, we have to see doctors in time for the treatment of major diseases or apparent symptoms. If someone feels tiredness, dizziness, lost of memory easily, hearing noises, waist and knee pain, and disorders of reproductive system, the kind of problems due to "kidney vitality deficiency", doctors of Chinese medicine would prescribe for the supplement of the kidney or the brain. The "supplement" means to benefit from what is supplemented. This treatment supplements things that are insufficient and benefits things that are declining. It enhances Yin, Yang, Chi, or blood with medicine, helps with the bodily functions of certain internal organs that are declining. This supplement treatment is basically divided into four categories: the supplement of Chi, blood, Yin, and Yang. In general, the medicine doctors prescribe for the benefit of the brain can also be obtained from ordinary foods (medicinal meal), as what Master Lee has instructed on the brain strengthening effect from animal or vegetarian foods.
Interestingly, the Chinese medicine has a form therapy that is based on the particular shape of the food: "to supplement form with like form". For example, the pig brain or liver has been considered to have the supplementing effect on the brain or liver, respectively because of their shape. Master Lee brought out a scientific explanation for this concept. He points out that it is a fallacy that people evaluate the medicinal effect of a food based on its similar form to a specific organ. The effect people get from the supplement of like form appears only in the condition that the ingredients and the appearance match precisely.
Although the Chinese traditional medicine books do not list walnut seed as a brain-supplement herb, this effect is quite clear and definite in consideration of its shape and ingredients as well. Besides, according to the medical effects of walnut seed described in the traditional medicine texts, it indeed has the brain supplementing effect. In reference to the traditional medicine texts, walnut seeds supplement the kidney, benefit the brain, warm the lung, calm down the asthma, moisten the intestines, facilitate bowel movement, and heal skin wound and infection. Based on modern pharmacological study, walnut seeds have the following effects:
(1). Prevention of blood coagulation, facilitation of blood circulation and relief of obstructions.
(2). Anti-allergy, anti-inflammation.
(3). Dissolution of blood clots
(4). Improvement of liver dysfunction
(5). Prevention of immune dysfunction and inhibition of the formation of abnormal antibody.
(6). Promotion of protein synthesis, and reduction of serum cholesterol.
(7). Promotion of urination and discharge and dissolution of stones.
Consequently, instructions on walnut seed stand on clear and definite argumentation of the traditional Chinese medicine.
The Pharmacological Mechanism of Walnut in the APA Guide Book and PDR:
Pharmacological Mechanism from APA Guide for Black Walnut:The APA Guide book give some explains of the pharmacological properties and mechanism notes of the herb Black Walnut,it attributed some properties to the juglone which existed in the hulls and leaves of the herb,as it noted:"Will It Work for You?What the Studies Say:There is very little information on black walnut's medicinal properties.No clinical trials are reported in the literature,and apparently very few studies have been done in the laboratory.A substance called juglone has been identified in parts of the plant including the hulls and leaves and is believed to possess astringent properties that aid in shrinking tissues and preventing oozing when applied externally,qualities valuable in treating some wounds,mouth and throat sores,and irritations such as hemorrhoids.In the proper concentration,astringents are also beliebed to decrease inflammation in the intestines and help control loose stools.Several sources also assert that judglone contains antifungal properties,which might justify its use for fungal skin infections such as ringworm,for example.Others have shown that juglone fights numerous oral bacteria and may work in combination with other substances to control infectious diseases in the mouth.However,black walnut's ability to do these things has not been verified in animal or human studies,and information on the concentration of juglone in the various parts of the plant is hard to find.Although implications for treating human disease are far from clear,studies in laboratory mice suggest that extracts of the leaves and fruit hulls have anti-tumor activity,and test-tube experiments indicate that the fruit has the ability to fight dangerous cell changes(mutations)in certain substances.A 1990 German patent contends that extracts(polysaccharides) from the dried nut shells inhibit the HIV virus in the test tube."(2)
Pharmacological Effects from PDR for Walnut(Juglans regia):The PDR 4th edition herbalists noted some effects of the Walnut at its section under title "Actions and Pharmacology",and attributed to the juglone and essential oils,as it noted:"Effects:Walnut is astringent and fungistatic.The juglone content in the walnut hulls has been linked to mutagenic action.The topical use of walnut hulls has been linked to cancer of the tongue and leukoplakia of the lips.The main active principles are the tannins and juglone.There is an astringent effect because of the tannins.The antifungal effect comes from the juglone content and the essential oil."(3)
- 1.Black Walnut:Juglans nigra and Walnut Extracts Benefits.
1: Black Walnut:Juglans nigra and Walnut Extracts Benefits.
2: see The American Pharmaceutical Association Practical Guide to Natural Medicines,1st Ed,under title "Black Walnut",p93~94.
3: see PDR for Herbal Medicines 4th Ed.under title "Walnut(Juglans regia)",p881~882.
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