You are going to know everything about this little brain-shaped oilseed!
France is Europe's leading producer of walnuts and has a large number of walnut farms in Isère, Drôme, Corrèze, Lot and Dordogne. Two regions have obtained the AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) label: the Grenoble walnut (also AOP - Appellation d'Origine Protégée) and the Périgord walnut.
These two regions provide us with the walnut kernels in our little pouches. There is no question of bringing them from the other side of the world! When we tell you that quality comes first at Holyfat (Editor's note: Holyfat is a French sports nutrition brand, with no added sugar).
The nut is a dry fruit with multiple uses: nothing is lost! While the fleshy part around the shell emits a juice used in dyeing (the walnut brou), the shells are used as fuel, the male flowers and the leaves can be used to make alcohol, the green walnuts "walnut pickles", allow to make condiments. Finally, our fruit is used fresh or dry for multiple uses.
How to taste the nut?
- Fresh or dry : Harvested between October and November (high season), fresh walnuts are broken, extracted from their shells and can be eaten as they are. The kernels can also be used in salads, jams, pastries and are sometimes used in the composition of certain foods: walnut honey, walnut cheese, delicatessen, confectionery... The walnut tends to go rancid, or even mould easily if it is not kept in a dry, cool (+10°C), ventilated place, away from light. Spread on newspaper, they can be kept for 1 to 2 years.
- Roasted : The nut can be eaten raw but also cooked, either lightly roasted in a pan or browned in the oven. At Holyfat, a unique roasting process allows us to eliminate the astringency of the skin, which is very rich in polyphenols and adds a little unpleasant grating to the taste, while preserving their nutritional qualities!
- In oil, alcohol, jam, water...: Walnut oil is a high quality oil, rich in omega 3, produced by pressing walnuts. It should not be used for cooking but rather for seasoning and should be kept between +4°C and +13°C in a dark glass bottle, away from light and air to avoid rancidity.
The green walnuts, collected in June, are used to make green walnut jam or candied walnuts (mostly in Romania, Greece, Armenia or Turkey). Walnut water is a recipe that comes from the Périgord, a very important nut-producing region. It consists in letting walnuts macerate well before maturity (in June, when their size approaches that of a hazelnut) and letting them macerate for 3 months in brandy mixed with syrup and a piece of cinnamon added. The liqueur of brou is used to counter digestive disorders. Finally, the oilcake (residue of the pressing) can be consumed by livestock or used to make traditional cakes (after soaking and grating).
The benefits of nuts for everyone and for athletes
In 2013, a Spanish team conducted a major study on the Mediterranean diet, named PREDIMED. 7,500 elderly people, with high cardiovascular risk factors, consumed a diet based on the Mediterranean diet, enriched with olive oil and nuts. Despite this additional fat intake, the subjects did not gain weight and the study clearly demonstrated the benefits of the enriched diet in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke. A sub-study of the PREDIMED trial also demonstrated that patients receiving this diet enriched with olive oil or nuts maintained better intellectual performance as they aged.
Indeed, oleaginous nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds) are rich in monounsaturated fats, in particular omega 9 fatty acids, as well as omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The latter, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), are recognized by the European health authorities for their effects on maintaining normal cholesterol levels (for a minimum daily consumption of 2 grams of ALA). Different studies on the Mediterranean diet, including PREDIMED, seem to indicate that a daily consumption of about 30g of dried fruits (a handful of walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts) could reduce the cardiovascular risk, without promoting weight loss.
Benefits of nuts: a rich oilseed!
Walnuts are rich in lipids, but not just any lipids: They are very rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (43.6 g on 100 g of walnuts, that is to say 67.3 % of the total lipids), made up of omega-3 and omega-6, with a ratio ω6/ω3=4.8, considered to be beneficial for the body. This richness in omega 3 is particularly interesting for its anti-inflammatory role.
Discover our little focus on the benefits of lipids for athletes and our article on the ketogenic diet in the context of sports.
Walnuts are rich in vitamin B9 (folic acid/folates). This vitamin is involved in the process of cell renewal, particularly of blood cells. This function is doubly interesting in the context of an endurance sport, which implies an important consumption of oxygen. It also plays a role in the metabolism of amino acids, in the nervous and cerebral balance and participates in the proper functioning of the intestinal mucosa and the immune system. It also contains an interesting rate of vitamin E (tocopherol: anti-oxidant) and vitamin K (role in the regulation of blood coagulation and bone formation).
It contains an interesting content of proteins (15,7g/100g), which participate among other things in the renewal of muscular tissues and bone matrix and participate in many physiological processes.
The walnut is also recommended for sportsmen for its richness in magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral that is not produced by the body and plays many important roles in sports: muscle function, electrolyte balance, energy metabolism, protein synthesis for example. Sporting activity will increase electrolyte losses (via sweat and enzymatic reactions) which can lead to muscle cramps.
How do we value the vitamins and benefits of nuts at Holyfat?
A 40g pouch of Holyfat contains 280kcal on average, thanks to the nuts that we have incorporated! Very low in sugars (less than 3%, coming only from almonds, walnuts and cocoa for the cocoa recipes), rich in good fats, Holyfat will allow you to go further in your effort without slackening. And in addition to enjoying the benefits of nuts, you will be able to savor their slow-roasted taste, guaranteed 100% bitter-free in this unique blend of oilseeds, MCT oil, salt and flavors.
Nutritional values of the nut* (whole with skin, shelled)
*Data from CIQUAL 2020
|63,7% of Fat||15,7% Protein||6,7% Fiber||6.88% Carbohydrates|
Many benefits ... and legends.
Friend bikepacker or trailer of the extreme who would like to deploy your sleeping bag under a walnut tree to rest, this information is for you! In Europe, since Greco-Roman antiquity, legend tells that it can be dangerous to fall asleep under a walnut tree. In addition to a potential black eye linked to the fall of the fruit, the roots of the tree would release a toxic substance for the other plants, which could lead to headaches in case of prolonged untimely nap.