The first time I tasted an African walnut it was so bitter that I had to spit it out. I carried that impression all along that walnut had a bitter taste until a friend of mine convinced me to eat a fresh one that she bought. It was juicy and sweet then I realised that the one I tasted at first was old and the oil in it has gone rancid that was why it was bitter.
A walnut is the nut of any tree of the subfamily Juglans, it is usually of two types. The English walnut and the black walnut. The black walnut is native to native Americans in the U.S the major difference between both types is that the English walnut has a thinner, easy to crack the shell and a milder taste whereas black walnuts have an earthier flavor, and a harder shell. In Nigeria, walnuts are called gyada in Hausa, it is called Ukpa in Igbo language, Asala in yoruba language. The creamy nuts of African walnuts are enclosed in dark brown to black fragile shells, tied in transparent nylons and hawked in Nigerian traffic.
African Walnuts naturally has numerous health benefits due to its contents of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and many more. The vitamins and minerals include
- folic acid,
- vitamins C
- vitamin E
- selenium, melatonin, ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, tocopherol, ellagic acid, polyphenols, omega-3 fatty acids and oleic acid.
Let us take a look at the health benefits of African walnuts
1. It is useful for weight control
Walnuts have high content of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. These contents helps to give a feeling of satiety which prevents you from eating too much as it satisfies the body with less content. It is useful for weight control.
2. It promotes skin health
Walnut is packed full of natural antioxidants such as vitamin C, Vitamin E. These protects the body and skin from free radicals which could cause harmful effects and severe damages to the body. It can helping in aging processes.
3. It prevent cardiovascular Diseases
Due to the high content of antioxidants in walnuts, free radicals that could harm the heart are removed from the body. Also, the omega 3 component in the nut serves as good cholesterol which will pose no threat to arteries as opposed to bad cholesterol. This help to prevent cardiovascular disesases such as heart attack, coronary artery disease.
4. It helps to boost proper brain functioning.
Based on scientific research, lack of component of walnuts is usually associated with tantrums, hyperactivity, and irritability which leads to poor mental health. Walnuts is rich in omega 3 fatty acid. Also, consumption of walnuts aids brain function, including faster processing speed, more mental flexibility and better memory.
5. It is used for treatment of Infertility
Research has proven that Walnut seeds have been effective for tackling male infertility issues by boosting sperm productions in the testicles. Researchers reveal that men who include more African walnuts in their diet stand higher chances of improving their sperm health, sperm development and spermatozoa count. This is due to the high amount of healthy fatty acids present in the nuts. The leaf extracts of the African walnut can also be used for boosting fertility in women as well as for treating fibroids.
6. It promotes Hair growth.
Walnuts are rich in vitamin B7 which is biotin. Biotin reduces hair loss, aids hair growth and strengthens the hair, making it good for hair hair growth.
7. It can be used to Prevent Cancer
The phenolic compounds and antioxidants found in walnuts effectively control the growth of cancer cells in humans. Walnuts are rich in the polyphenol ellagitannins. Certain gut microbes can convert these to compounds called urolithins . Urolithins can have anti-inflammatory properties in your gut, which may be one way that eating walnuts helps protect against colorectal cancer. Urolithins’ anti-inflammatory actions could also help protect against other cancers .
8. It is used to promote quality sleep
Walnuts make melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep. This is bio-available in the nuts and when ingested as part of dinner meals, it can foster a good night’s rest.
9. It is good for the digestive system
Walnuts are high in fiber content, this helps bowel movement. The fiber binds the food together making it easier to be removed with feces.African walnut leaves and barks have also been used in folk medicines for treating individuals suffering from gastroenteritis diseases such as dysentery, stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting. Decocted African walnut leaves and seeds are effective for relieving abdominal pains.