Walnut Oil

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Walnut oil is a nut oil obtained from walnuts. Depending on the varieties of walnuts, there are some types of walnut oils. It is a good source of omega – 3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids. So the body needs to get them from diet. Walnut oil has a nutty flavor and a light aroma. Walnut oil makes a nice base oil ( carrier oil ) for massage and aromatherapy uses. It is used as a cosmetic ingredient in many skin care products. This oil has immense nutritional value and is safe to be taken in diet.



Source

Almond oil comes from the most common walnut species Juglans regia, which is known as the common walnut or the English walnut. The oil can be obtained via solvent extraction or cold pressing. The cold pressed organic walnut oil is best for health. The demand for walnut oil has decreased in recent time, which has led to lower production. Most of the production today comes from France.

Walnut Oil
Walnut Oil (Image:Shutterstock)

Another kind of walnut oil is the black walnut oil which is obtained from black walnuts, Juglans nigra. Black walnut oil has got its own unique combination of health benefits, which are quite different from the common walnut oil. Black walnut is more of a medicinal herb and its oil too possesses many medicinal properties.

Walnut trees are probably native to Himalayas. Presently in Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan, there are complete forests of walnuts. This leads to tremendous production of walnuts.



Properties

Common walnut oil has the following therapeutic properties, which make it useful for personal use and as ingredient in medicinal products, even home remedies.

  • Antiseptic – reduces the risk of catching an infection on an open wound.
  • Anti-inflammatory – Because of omega – 3 fatty acids in walnut oil, it is strongly anti-inflammatory.
  • Anti-bacterial – kills many strains of bacteria.
  • Anti-fungal – Walnut oil is a strong anti-fungal, especially against Candida fungus.
  • Laxative – promotes regular emptying of bowels.
  • Analgesic – natural pain reliever.
  • Antihypertriglyceridemic – reduces the risk of developing high triglycerides in blood.
  • Anti-ageing – can slow down ageing from within.
  • Skin regenerative – It promotes the regeneration of skin cells to replace dead, shedding cells.
  • Skin toner – helps one achieve toned skin which fights sagging in skin.
  • Emollient – fine moisturizer of skin.
  • Anti-cancer – Walnut oil may have potential anti-cancer properties against a wide range of cancers. These are being evaluated. This can be attributed to the omega-3 fatty acids and other phytonutrients in walnut oil like ellagitannins. [2]
  • Antioxidant – mops up free radicals before they cause damage to the DNA and the mitochondria of our cells.
  • Weight Loss – Walnut oil may have weight loss, similar to green tea .
  • Wood finishing agent – Walnut oil polishes wood and makes it look better. It keeps the wood protected.
  • Paint thinner – removes color from paint brushes like nothing else.

Uses and Health Benefits

Walnut oil for Wood Finish

Add 1/3 walnut oil to 2/3 beeswax. Use this combination to polish your wooden products, like wooden handles, furniture, cutting boards. It lends a nice glossy finish to the wood. If the walnut oil seems costly, one can try a substitute like mink oil, or even the relatively inexpensive mineral oil. The results may not be so appreciable with mineral oil as with walnut oil.

Walnut oil for Paint Thinners and Medium

Walnut oil is preferred by many artists as a natural “non toxic” and “no harmful fumes” oil painting medium. It is a nice solvent for paints. Secondly, it is a good paint thinner. It dissolves away the paint from the brush completely, so that there is absolutely no trace of the previous colors on that brush. Walnut oil substitute for this application is linseed oil, which is a relatively cheaper oil.

Walnut oil for Healthier skin

Walnut oil can be applied Neat ( undiluted ) on the skin. Regular application of small amount of walnut oil can provide the following health benefits for skin.

  • Reduces the signs of ageing, predominantly wrinkles. Apply it on wrinkle prone skin and massage the skin in various circular motions. It is actually very good for eye wrinkles where the skin is very thin and easily prone to fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Protects the skin from free radical damage – If you are regularly applying walnut oil to skin, many antioxidant compounds get stored in the fat layer under the skin. There they provide antioxidant power as and when needed.
  • Relieves fungal infections of skin – Apply walnut oil to fungal infections like ringworm, athlete’s foot  and candidiasis. One can mix it with coconut oil, or oil of oregano which are powerful anti-fungal themselves.

Walnut oil for Hair

Walnut oil can be applied directly to hair to make it smooth and glossy. However, one can get greater health benefits by taking walnut oil in diet. Why ? Well, that’s because walnut oil is also very high in omega – 6 fatty acids ( linoleic acid ). Omega – 6 acts as a factor in hair growth[3]. A deficiency of omega-6 may lead to stunted hair growth.
How much walnut oil to take for improved hair growth ? A dosage of about 1 – 3 gm per day can yield positive results.
Walnut oil can be added to egg yolk to create a protein enriching hair treatment. Add few drops of walnut oil to egg yolks. The nutrients in egg yolks are better absorbed in the scalp skin in presence of healthy fatty acids from walnut oil. This penetrates deep into the hair follicles and boosts the protein content of hair shafts. Our hair is primarily made up of protein and water, so this treatment helps a lot.

Walnut oil in recipes

Walnut oil is used in many recipes when you need a nutty flavor. So, one can use it in confectionery items so that they don’t taste too sweet, to mellow the sugar a bit. One can add walnut oil as salad dressings. Adding a few drops of this oil to bread dough makes the bread carry a walnut smell. One can make vinaigrette with walnut oil as ingredient.



Walnut oil improves liver health

Walnut oil helps in fatty liver condition [5].Walnut oil stops the accumulation of lipids ( fats ) in liver cells, thus relieving fatty liver condition. However, people with serious liver disease, like hepatitis should avoid taking oils internally as a general rule. When the liver is weak, it has difficulty processing the nutrients from food.

Walnut oil massage

A simple massage with walnut oil relieves arthritic pain, muscular pain ( like that from muscle knots ) and any general pain sensation relieves. This oil is a natural analgesic and when applied topically, it reduce pain sensation.

Walnut Oil Lowers Triglycerides and Cholesterol

Walnut oil has been identified in a study [1] to lower blood triglyceride levels substantially. Such an effect is not commonly seen as even the most healthy oils have a strong lowering effect on cholesterol but only mild effect on triglycerides. In the study, walnut oil, given in capsule form 3 gm per day for 45 days. The blood triglycerides (TG) decreased by as much as 33% , which is tremendous improvement.
One can make use of this fact and use walnut oil in dishes without heating it. When walnut oil is heated, it loses much of its nutritional value and antioxidant power when heated.
Walnut oil also helps the body release excess cholesterol. [4] So, it is effective in reducing cholesterol.

Other health benefits of walnut oil

  • Consumption of walnut oil can help in reducing inflammation all over the body.
  • Since walnut oil has both omega – 6 and omega – fatty acids, it is a slightly balanced oil in terms of omega – 6 /omega – 3 ratio. This ratio is important. High omega-6 for omega-3 may lead to pro-inflammatory environment in the body. But, walnut oil has omega-3 s to balance out the potential negative effects of omega – 6. [6]
  • Walnut oil intake in diet helps one to deal with stress better. It may also improve mental faculties and lower stress naturally.

Nutritional and Medicinal Information

Walnut oil contains very few vitamins and minerals besides its fatty acids. However, it contains many micro-nutrients in small concentrations which have potent health benefits. Of the total fats, this is the breakdown of saturated fats and unsaturated fats.
100 gm walnut oil contains –

  • Saturated Fat – 9.1 gm
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 22.8 gm
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 63.3 gm

Added up, this makes only 95 % of the oil. This shows that the oil contains many more nutrients and healthy natural compounds.
Fatty acid nutrition profile of Walnut Oil

Nutrient Percentage Property
Palmitoleic Acid 0.1 % MUFA
Stearic Acid 2 % Saturated fat
Palmitic Acid 7 % Saturated fat
Oleic Acid 22.1 % MUFA
Linoleic Acid 52.9 % PUFA
Alpha Linolenic Acid 10.4 % PUFA
Gadoleic Acid 0.4 % MUFA
Eicosenoic Acid traces % PUFA
Behenic Acid traces % PUFA
Erucic Acid traces % PUFA

 Complete Nutritional Profile of Walnut Oil ( per 100 gm )

Nutrient Value Percentage
Energy (Calories) 884
Carbohydrates 0 0
Proteins 0 0
Fats 100 100 %
Dietary fiber 0 0
Cholesterol 0 0
Sugars 0 0
Vitamins  Value  Percentage
Vitamin A 0 0
Thiamine (B1) 0 0
Riboflavin (B2) 0 0
Niacin (B3) 0 0
Pantothenic Acid (B5) 0 0
Pyridoxine (B6) 0 0
Biotin (B7) 0 0
Folic Acid (B9) 0 0
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin C 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin E 0.4 mg 2.6 %
Vitamin K 15 μg 18.75%
Electrolytes Value Percentage
Potassium 0 0
Sodium 0  0
Minerals Value Percentage
Iron 0 0
Calcium 0 0
Magnesium 0 0
Phosphorus 0 0
Zinc 0 0
Manganese
Copper
Selenium
Micro-Nutrients  Value  Percentage
Phytosterols 176 mg

Besides these macro nutrients and phyto-nutrients, many more chemical properties are of significance.

Nutrient Percentage Property
Density  0.921  g/ml  great for massage oil
Storage temperature  –  No specific requirements
Comedogenicity  –  Rated from 0 to 5
ORAC  –  Antioxidant power
Acid Value 0.4  Measure of acidity
Saponification Value 188  Average mol. wt of fatty acids
Iodine Value 132  Measure of unsaturation of fat

References

1. Antihypertriglyceridemic effect of walnut oil.  Zibaeenezhad MJ, Rezaiezadeh M, Mowla A, Ayatollahi SM, Panjehshahin MR. NCBI.
2. Ellagic Acid and Natural Sources of Ellagitannins as Possible Chemopreventive Agents Against Intestinal Tumorigenesis in the Min Mouse. Essi Päivärinta, Anne-Maria Pajari, Riitta Törrönen & Marja Mutanen. Nutrition and Cancer.
3. Omega-6 fatty acids. University of Maryland Medical Center.
4. Walnut oil increases cholesterol efflux through inhibition of stearoyl CoA desaturase 1 in THP-1 macrophage-derived foam cells. Zhang J, Grieger JA, Kris-Etherton PM, Thompson JT, Gillies PJ, Fleming JA, Vanden Heuvel JP. NCBI.
5. Dietary walnut oil modulates liver steatosis in the obese Zucker rat. Fink A, Rüfer CE, Le Grandois J, Roth A, Aoude-Werner D, Marchioni E, Bub A, Barth SW.
6. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Simopoulos AP.
7. Walnuts, walnut oil improve reaction to stress. Penn State University.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I’m being completely serious. Can walnut oil be used as a furniture polish, or to refinish furniture?

    • Yes you can. Indeed walnut oil products are available for wood finish and can be easily found on amazon store.

  2. I take one or two tablespoons of walnut oil at night because it tastes so good. Is that healthful?

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