Walnuts, often observed as the healthiest food of the world, are full of healthy and high density nutrients with proteins and essential fatty acids. It has the unique ability to nurture the human fraternity both in men and women. It belongs to the Juglandaceae family and undoubtedly the most nutritious edible seeds of the genus Juglans. It is a single seeded stony fruit with closed seed shell and fleshy green husk.
Walnuts have numerous benefits due to the presence of many health promoting substances. Walnuts are the richest source of energy as it contains essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fatty acids needed for the optimal health. Its consumption helps during pregnancy, improves sperm counts for men, controls diabetes, aids in weight management and also good for hair & skin. Recent research also suggests the importance of walnut in arresting brain aging and improves its behavior.
Disadvantages of Walnuts
However, walnuts have many disadvantages as well, and one should keep away from the walnuts if the following conditions are perceived.
Consumption of walnut may result in diarrhea and bloating. Weight gain is also a concern as walnut contains high amount of fat. So removal of other sources of fat from the diet is essential to maintain the right balance.
Common walnuts may cause allergic reactions (hypersensitivity) in sensitive people, known as walnut allergy. This could often be quite severe, causing abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, swelling of throat and lips, chest congestion and difficulty in breathing. Even fatal anaphylaxis are reported for walnut allergy. Application of walnut to skin, may also result in a rash. If applied daily it might cause tongue or lip cancer due to the presence of a chemical called juglone. Juglone is also reported to be toxic to animals. Dust from the walnut wood has a toxic effect on the health.
As walnuts have high oxalates (contributes to kidney stone formation), over consumption of the walnuts may lead to the kidney stone. Oxalates also bind to calcium preventing its absorption and availability in the human body. Phytic acids which is present in high amount binds to certain minerals e.g. iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, manganese and chromium making them unavailable to human body as well.
To get maximum health benefits and avoid unnecessary calorie intake, the walnut should be eaten in the limit, i.e. around 40 grams (four or five walnuts) every day.
During which disease should walnuts be avoided?
Walnut is not always advisable for people with kidney problems. Especially people having high potassium and phosphorus levels should limit or avoid them. Moreover, as already discussed, people with a history of kidney stones should shun or limit the intake of walnuts.
Since the fat content in walnut is quite high is not advisable for obese patients and people with high BMI.
Possible drug interactionsNo specific well documented drug interaction known. Walnut interferes with the absorption of iron, calcium and other minerals due to the presence of oxalates and phytic acid.