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Walnuts - micronutrients

High in Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

  • A quarter cup of walnuts supplies around 90% of the daily value [DV] for the omega-3 essential fatty acids.
  • These are important anti-inflammatory fats and individuals with inflammatory diseases such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, eczema or psoriasis can benefit from consuming these nuts.
  • Walnuts are a rich source of gamma tocopherol
  • Walnuts are rich in Alpha Linolenic Acid [ALA]

Sesame Seeds Increasing Gamma Tocopherol Concentrations

  • Sesame lignans such as sesamolin [the most prevalent sesame lignan] have been thought to increase gamma tocopoherol levels in the blood yet not affect alpha tocopherol levels91.
  • Increased blood gamma tocopherol levels of 20% - 40% have been shown in studies on either consuming sesame seeds or sesame oil91.
  • “consumption of moderate amounts of sesame seeds appears to significantly increase plasma gamma tocopherol and alter plasma tocopherol ratios in humans and is consistent with the effects of dietary sesame seeds observed in rats leading to elevated plasma gamma tocopherol and enhanced vitamin E bioactivity.”
  • For the reasons above, it would be prudent to have sesame seeds along with walnuts.

Polyphenolic Compounds

  • Walnuts also have polyphenolic compounds such as ellagic acid and gallic acid, powerful antioxidants that support immune system function and have anti-cancer properties. They help to decrease oxidation of LDL [the ‘bad’ cholesterol] and thus help protect against the development of atherosclerosis.

L-Arginine and Cardiovascular Disease

  • Walnuts have been found to have high levels of l-arginine which is a precursor of nitric oxide and important compound in blood vessel relaxation. This is beneficial in those individuals with hypertension [high blood pressure].

Gamma Tocopherol

  • Is not as powerful an antioxidant as alpha tocopherol
  • However, gamma tocopherol was found to be the only vitamin E fraction that was capable of quenching reactive nitrogen oxide species such as peroxynitrite and nitrogen dioxide.
  • These nitric oxide reactive oxygen species are generated by inflammatory processes, and are dangerous free radicals that damage cellular structures.
  • These nitric oxide reactive oxygen species are implicated in numerous degenerative diseases, which include atherosclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis.

Gamma Tocopherol and Colon Cancer

  • Gamma tocopherol has been found to inhibit the formation of mutagens produced by oxidized fecal fats in the colon, and to decrease oxidative damage to the epithelial cells of the colon90

Gamma tocopherol and Cardiovascular Disease

  •  Study after study has looked at supplementing with alpha tocopherol and these studies have found no benefit of Vitamin E supplementation in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. 
  • What these studies failed to recognize is that supplementing the diet with alpha tocopherol can result in significantly lower blood and tissue gamma tocopherol levels92,93.
  • One important finding is that consuming more gamma tocopherol, not only increased blood and tissue gamma tocopherol levels but also alpha tocopherol levels94.

  • Include walnuts everyday in your diet
  • Have mixed nuts but increase your intake of these nuts in particular
  • Add Almonds as well to your diet
  • Store walnuts in the fridge in an air-tight container to preserve the ALA component which can go rancid in a warm storage environment.




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