Walnut kernels: uses and nutritional benefits

The walnut tree is a deciduous tree of the Juglandaceae family. At the end of the summer, the harvest of fresh walnuts begins. The fruit consists of four main parts: the kernel, the skin, the shell and the green envelope. It is for its kernel that the walnut is best known: the walnut kernels. At the beginning of autumn, the dry walnuts are freed from the husk that holds them to the tree. This nut is popular worldwide for its sensory attributes and for its nutritional qualities. Walnut kernels can be consumed as they are or in the form of vegetable oil obtained after cold pressing. Walnut kernels join the first place of nuts richest in omega-3 and anti-oxidant. These scores are excellent for lowering the concentration of bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) in the blood and increasing that of good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol). Walnuts also have an excellent omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, which is important for reducing the incidence of cardiovascular risk. Although these benefits are no longer to be proven, their average consumption in France remains low: it is estimated at 500 g/year/inhabitant, which represents one walnut per week and per person. There is only one thing left to do: adopt the Walnut-attitude. Latin name: Juglans regia L. Botanical family: Juglandaceae. Part used : Almond.

Recommended consumption

Because of the energy density of Walnut kernels and their high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, daily consumption recommendations are defined. In classic cure or for pleasure: a portion of Walnut kernels is estimated at 15 g per day, which represents five to seven Walnut kernels per day.

In what form?

To make the most of their benefits, you can use them :

  • Whole
  • Ground, crushed
  • In pieces
At what time of day?

We advise you to use them during the following meal(s) to take full advantage of their benefits:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Dinner
What modes of use?

You can incorporate them into the following preparations to facilitate their intake:

  • Salad
  • Soup
  • Dessert
  • Dish
  • Mixed with other dried fruits
Precautions for use
  • Allergen : Nuts

Health Nutrition Benefits

15g of Walnut kernels contain a significant portion of the Population Nutritional Reference (PNR) for the following nutrients: Fiber, Copper, Manganese. They also contain, to a lesser extent, Protein, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B9.

As such, Nut kernels can complement your healthy and varied diet.


Walnut kernels are naturally low in simple sugar, rich in lipids and fiber. As a result, walnuts reduce the glycemic load of the meal, which moderates the rise in blood sugar after the meal. They also contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber and phytosterols. These last ones confer to Walnuts a real hypolipidemic power. In addition, walnut kernels are rich in antioxidants (copper, manganese, selenium and zinc). They neutralize free radicals, which limits the premature aging of cells and the evolution of atheromatous plaques.

Nervous system, well-being

Walnut kernels give energy to the body. In terms of macronutrients, walnuts are composed of over 85% lipids, the macronutrient with the highest energy yield. On the micronutrient side, the magnesium, iron and vitamin B9 present in walnuts are known to reduce fatigue. Others such as vitamin B1, zinc, phosphorus and copper are involved in the metabolism of macronutrients: they are essential for the transformation of macronutrients into energy. Without forgetting that associated with magnesium, potassium and vitamin B9, they all contribute to the functioning of the nervous system and the psychological functions.

As for intellectual performance, it is iron and zinc that maintain cognitive functions.

Immune system

Thanks to their micronutrients, walnut kernels influence the functioning of the immune system. This nut is composed of copper, iron, selenium, vitamin B9 and zinc. All of them participate in the activity of the immune cells. Within a varied and balanced diet, this phytonutrient provides walnut kernels with benefits for immunity.

Body, face and hair care

Walnut kernels offer a wide range of minerals and trace elements that maintain and enhance the appearance of nails, hair and skin. First of all, concerning nails and hair, copper influences their pigmentation, selenium and zinc strengthen them.

As for the skin, copper protects it from ultraviolet rays. Together with manganese, it supports the structure of the skin by participating in the synthesis of connective tissue. Finally, thanks to its antioxidant activity and its involvement in DNA replication, zinc protects the skin from skin aging.

Bone system

Walnuts are perfect remineralizers. They are vectors of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and zinc which join the mineral part of the bone, ensuring its solidity.

Nutritional properties

Main properties

  • Anti-oxidant (copper, manganese, selenium, zinc): walnuts neutralize free radicals thanks to the many anti-oxidants in them. Their ORAC score is estimated at 13541 µmol TE per 100 g. An extremely high score, they are in the top 3 of the most antioxidant foods.
  • Anti-inflammatory (omega-3, vitamin B9): nuts are the richest nuts in omega-3. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. In addition, they participate in the conversion of homocysteine, a pro-inflammatory amino acid.
  • Cardiovascular protector (omega-3, omega-6): walnuts have an excellent omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. In fact, this ratio is estimated to be less than 5. Walnuts rebalance the ratio and thus prevent the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Hypolipidemic (phytosterol, omega-3, fiber, omega-6): because of its excellent lipid profile, Walnut kernels are hypocholesterolemic and hypotriglyceridemic. Moreover, with the phytosterols and fibers which compose them, they will limit the absorption of the cholesterol of food.
  • Controls blood sugar (fiber, lipid): walnut kernels have a low glycemic index, as they contain very little simple sugar. Also, they lower the glycemic load of the meal, reducing the impact of blood sugar after meals.
  • Plaque antiaggregant (omega-3): walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). The latter increases the level of HDL-cholesterol (called good cholesterol) and promotes blood fluidity and vasodilation. In addition, walnuts are rich in antioxidants, which reduces the risk of cholesterol oxidation. The whole participates in the good blood circulation.

Secondary properties

  • Immunomodulating (copper, iron, selenium, vitamin B9, zinc): walnut kernels influence the immune response through several aspects. First, they provide vitamin B9 which participates in the synthesis of immune cells. Then, we find iron and selenium which fight against pathogens. Finally, they prevent copper and zinc deficiency, because in their absence, there is a decrease in the concentration of immune cells, leading to a lower resistance.
  • Stimulant (copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B9, zinc, vitamin B1, lipid): walnut kernels are balls of energy and vitality. They take part in the energy metabolism by bringing lipids and micronutrients intervening in the synthesis of energy. Moreover, they take part in the manufacture of red globules thanks to iron and vitamin B9. Red blood cells transport oxygen to the cells, an essential element to meet the needs of the cells.
  • Nerve balancer (copper, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B1): thanks to their nutritional profile, Walnut kernels participate in the functioning of the nervous system by being involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters or transmission of nerve impulses.
  • Skin Protector (copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc): walnut kernels are very rich in copper. Copper is a photoprotector of the skin. In addition, Walnuts are carriers of manganese, zinc and phosphorus, which promote skin regeneration and healing.
  • Hair Strengthener (copper, selenium, zinc): walnut kernels are excellent for strengthening hair. In addition, they influence hair pigmentation, due to their extreme richness in copper: a single handful of Walnut kernels covers 1/3 of our daily copper needs.
  • Firming (copper): copper gives Nuts a skin-firming property. This contributes to the synthesis of collagen.
  • Remineralizing (magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc): walnut kernels are vectors of minerals that constitute the mineral phase of the skeleton and teeth.

Nutritional values

*Recommended Daily Allowance

To know more about the plant : The Walnut

Walnut is a large tree in the Juglandaceae family. It was cultivated as early as the IVᵉ century, after its introduction to Europe by the Romans. Its name is said to come from the Latin "nocere" which means "to wound". The origin of this disadvantageous name comes from its bad reputation: its shadow was blamed for being harmful to humans, animals and plantations. Nowadays, it is believed that this superstition comes from a substance that it produces: juglone. Today, it is appreciated for its fruit, which is consumed as is or pressed to obtain oil, and its wood, which is highly valued in cabinet making. The walnut tree is very popular, so much so that the term "Walnut" has become the generic term to name the nuts.

The Man and the Walnut: centuries of mistrust

Over the centuries, Man has had a special relationship with the walnut tree. During the Antiquity, the societies noticed that the walnut tree was harmful to the Men and to the adjacent plantations: the walnut tree would make sterile the ground being in its neighbor. This superstition has lasted in time, since in the Middle Ages, it was the shadow of the walnut tree the main accused. Its harmfulness was the first characteristic that was attributed to it during this period. It was considered that it was capable of "generating an unhealthy air and dangerous for the health".

Gradually, the malignancy of the walnut tree became less important and it was strongly recommended to plant it for walnut oil, but always far from any other fertile land. Eventually, its toxic potential was moderated. Today, scientists have found the chemical responsible for its centuries of condemnation: juglone. This compound is found in the plant's leaves, roots and bark. It stunts the growth of other plants and can harm certain insects.

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