Walnut Oil Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts, and AllergiesSeptember 18, 2021 2021-09-18 0:46
Walnut Oil Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts, and Allergies
Walnut oil is an aromatic oil made by pressing whole walnuts. Walnut oil is available in unrefined and refined varieties, which are used for various culinary purposes. Like walnuts, walnut oil contains a combination of saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, but contains mainly polyunsaturated fats. Walnut oil is an excellent source of vegetable ALA omega-3 fatty acids and provides almost 100 percent of the daily recommended intake in 1 tablespoon.
Unrefined cold-pressed walnut oil, especially when toasted, has a strong nutty flavor ideal for making vinaigrettes or finished dishes, while refined walnut oil can be used in cooking and is more stable when heated.
Walnut Oil Nutrition Facts
Below is detailed nutrition information for 1 tablespoon of walnut oil (13.6 g) as reported by the USDA (source).
- Calorie: 120
- Fats: 14 g
- Sodium: 0mg
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Sugars: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Omega 3 fatty acids: 1.4 g
Carbohydrates in Walnut Oil
Walnut oil does not contain any carbohydrates and therefore zero sugar and zero fiber.
Fats in Walnut Oil
Walnut oil is primarily composed of healthy polyunsaturated fats, with approximately 63% of the fats coming from polyunsaturated fats, 23% from monounsaturated fats and less than 10% from saturated fats.
Walnut oil is an excellent food source of vegetable ALA omega-3 fatty acids, which your body converts in limited amounts to EPA and DHA; 1 tablespoon of walnut oil provides 1.4 g of ALA, which is almost 100 percent of the recommended daily intake for adults aged 19 to 50. Adequate intake (AI) for ALA for adult men is 1.6 g per day and for adult women is 1.1 g per day. Walnut oil contains more omega-3 fatty acids per serving than rapeseed oil, which is often cited as another excellent source.
Proteins in Walnut Oil
Walnut oil is pure fat extracted from walnuts, so it does not contain any protein.
Vitamins and minerals
Walnut oil contains a small amount of vitamin K, which provides 3% of the daily needs of an adult in 1 tablespoon. Walnut oil also contains very little vitamin E and choline, but this amount is less than 1% of the daily requirement per serving.
Walnut Oil Health Benefits
The health benefits of walnut oil are associated with its fat composition.
Promotes heart health
Thanks to polyunsaturated fats and a high concentration of vegetable-based omega-3 fatty acids, walnut oil is especially beneficial for heart health. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering triglycerides and increasing good HDL. Studies also suggest that replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats can lower bad LDL cholesterol and further reduce cardiovascular risk. ALA and natural polyphenols in walnut oil can also help lower blood pressure.
Supports glycemic control
One study suggested that regular consumption of cold-pressed walnut oil (just over 1 tablespoon a day) can help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, especially when replacing saturated fats. This can be due to a number of mechanisms, including the high concentration of antioxidants from polyphenols in the oil, as well as the anti-inflammatory benefits of polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats have also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity.
High levels of polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, along with polyphenols, can help reduce chronic inflammation, which contributes to a number of medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis.
Adding walnut oil to the diet instead of other unhealthy fats can help reduce overall inflammation in the body; however, further research is needed to determine exactly how much walnut oil needs to be consumed in order to achieve significant health results.
Walnut Oil Allergy
Unrefined cold-pressed or expeller walnut oil should be avoided by people with a nut or walnut allergy. Fully refined walnut oil is unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction due to refining, which results in almost complete removal of all proteins that cause allergic reactions. However, if you are allergic to walnuts, consult your doctor or dietitian before using refined walnut oil.
Walnut Oil Varieties
Walnut oil is available in two primary varieties: cold pressed and refined. Cold-pressed walnut oil is produced by pressing walnuts without the use of heat or chemical solvents, which results in better retention of natural nutrients in the oil (ie plant-based polyphenols) and a higher quality, tastier oil.
The advantages of using refined walnut oils are lower costs and a slightly higher smoke point; It would also be a good choice for those who are allergic to nuts because refining removes allergens. (Express pressed oil is another extraction method similar to cold pressing, but uses a screw press that does not add any heat, but results in some heat caused by friction).
There is also roasted or roasted walnut oil, which is made by pressing walnuts that have been dried or roasted before extraction, which gives the oil a richer hazelnut flavor. This oil is usually the most expensive variety due to the extra work associated with processing and is more of a gourmet food product.
Walnut Oil storage and safety
Walnut oil should be stored in a cool, dark place. To prolong shelf life after opening, store in a refrigerator to prevent rancidity.
How to consume Walnut Oil
Walnut oil should not be used for cooking at high temperatures due to its lower smoke point (300-350F). The best applications are in baking – walnut oil is a great substitute for butter or neutral oil – or cold, such as vinaigrette or sauce. If you use heat, use refined walnut oil. If you use it primarily for taste, choose quality, cold-pressed or roasted walnut oil.
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