With all its health and medicinal values, walnut remains unpopular in our daily diet hence this article seeks to spark a change. This article is to open our eyes to the health and medicinal benefits of African walnut so that we begin to take advantage of these benefits for a healthier lifestyle. Awusa, asala, okpa are all popular local names for the Africa walnut in Nigeria and it is called “Tetracarpidium conophorum” scientifically. Walnuts are a rich source of protein, carbohydrates, fats and oil, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for growth and overall nutritional wellbeing.
They are found growing naturally in the tropical forests but are also being planted domestically for their decorative, nutritive, medicinal, agricultural, and industrial values. In this article, our focus is on the health/medicinal benefits of walnut. Here are the benefits:
#1. Faster wound healing
Biologically, wound healing is an inbuilt bodily process in which the skin or other organ tissue repairs itself after injury. It’s an automatic series of events referred to as the “cascade of healing,”. This remarkable and complex process is also susceptible to interruption due to some factors that may be either internal or external, including moisture, infection, maceration age, nutritional status, body type e.t.c. With the right healing factors in place, the body automatically ensures the healing and replacement of devitalized tissue.
Studies have shown that walnut possesses some properties that are required to provide the right factors, and for wound healing such as antibacterial antioxidant and immune-stimulating activities. Research revealed that a faster healing pattern of wound closure was observed with the consumption of walnuts.
#2. Antioxidant activity
Walnut contains antioxidants that protect against a form of cell damage called oxidative stress that is caused by free radicals. Free radicals a.k.a reactivate oxygen species (ROS) are waste chemical substances produced by cells as the body processes food and reacts to the environment. If the body cannot remove free radicals efficiently, it can result in oxidative stress. This can harm cells and body function. Consumption of certain foods and lifestyle activities can increase the production of ROS in the body, especially refined and processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and certain dyes and additives.
Smoking, environmental pollution, radiation, exposure to chemicals, such as pesticides and drugs, including chemotherapy, industrial solvents, ozone e.t.c. are all situations/activities and exposures that can result in oxidative stress. More so, excessive exercise, trauma due to inflammation, and injury can also cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke, respiratory diseases, immune deficiency, Parkinson’s disease, and rapid aging. Know today that including walnut in your daily diet will reduce the likelihood of you ever developing any of these conditions and likely decrease the rate at which you age.
#3. Male fertility activities
Problems with male fertility can be caused by several health issues, especially erections or ejaculation problems, low sex drive to mention a few. Scientific studies indicated that the consumption of walnut could enhance the production of reproductive hormones in men and may be used in the formulation of useful fertility therapies. Results showed walnut’s significant contribution to semen quality in the terms of sperm count, morphology, sperm viability, and semen pH. So, for a general overall healthy sex life/performance, you should consider a walnut diet often.
#4. Weight control and Anti-diabetic Activity
Diabetics occur in an individual with largely excessive sugar in the blood. The condition is dangerous and deadly. Eating walnut may help manage type 2 diabetes and lower your risks of crisis. Studies suggest that one reason walnuts are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes is that they help control weight. Excess weight increases your risk of high blood sugar and diabetes.
Yet, eating walnuts may help control blood sugar by mechanisms beyond their influence on weight control. Revealed in a study was that, the consumption of walnuts can be effective in the treatment of diabetes because the decrease in the fasting blood glucose levels of a test group was significant.
#5. Cancer prevention activities
Cancer, a condition caused by damage to the cell replication/multiplication cycle after exposure to carcinogens (cancer-causing substances). Given the wide variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients found in walnut, it is not surprising to see research on this plant showing measurable anti-cancer benefits. The antioxidant properties of African walnut help lower the risk of chronic oxidative stress and the anti-inflammatory properties help lower the risk of chronic inflammation and it is precisely these two types of risk when combined, pose the greatest threat for cancer development.
Other health benefits of walnut
Walnut extracts that are rich in dietary omega – 3 fatty acids may play a role in the prevention of some disorders including depression as well as dementia, especially Alzheimer‘s disease. anti-inflammatory nutrients in African walnuts may play a role in support of bone health. The ability of walnuts to reduce cholesterol seems to be the heart of their health benefits. Results of studies have shown that walnuts have a high potential as an antimicrobial medicinal plant in the treatment of infections. The fruit is also being investigated for its effectiveness against ulcer-causing pylorus.
Finally, how shall we count the stars of the sky or the sands of the sea, is it exactly the situation with the enormous benefits of walnuts? Shall I begin to recount the nutritional benefits, environmental benefits or the industrial values, and most importantly the amazing medicinal benefits? The nutritional analysis of walnuts reveals it as a fair source of carbohydrate and fiber with appreciable protein content but significantly rich in edible and industrially useful oil as well as a dependable quantity of essential dietary minerals for both children and adults. With all that has been said, don’t be amazed they are merely a scratch to the surface. Further research studies are needed on the health benefits of walnuts.