Health Benefits of Walnut Oil Linked to its Omega-3 Content
Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, unrefined walnut oil cold-pressed from English walnuts is one of the healthiest plant-based oils out there. It contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a 4:1 ratio which is considered optimal for human health. Although cold-pressed walnut oil is quite expensive, buying a bottle of this gourmet oil is well worth its price, both due to its wonderful health benefits and its delicate nutty flavor that can enhance a wide range of dishes, from salads to cold soups. Let's take a closer look at the nutritional and health benefits of walnut oil.
Walnut Oil: An Optimal Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio
According to a French study published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging in 2005, 100 grams of walnut oil contains 12 grams of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is primarily found in plant-based foods. With such a high omega-3 content, walnut oil easily makes it to the list of the best vegan sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
But it's not only the absolute amount of omega-3s in walnut oil that makes this delicate nut oil such as wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids. Turns out, walnut oil contains omega-6 and omega-3 acids in a ratio that is considered particularly beneficial for overall good health: the ratio of linoleic fatty acid (the primary omega-6 fatty acid found in walnut oil) to ALA is about 4:1. (Note: Oil pressed from black walnuts, as opposed to English/Persian walnuts, has an omega 6 to 3 ratio of about 16:1.)
Most experts today agree that the optimal omega 6:3 ratio is somewhere between 1:1 and 5:1. Modern Western diets typically have omega 6:3 ratios of around 16 to 1, some as high as 30 to 1. A large body of scientific evidence suggests that this imbalance of fatty acids in modern diets may increase the risk of a number of diseases.
One of the most common health concerns associated with the imbalanced fatty acid profile of modern diets is the rapid increase in cardiovascular diseases in Western countries. Omega-3 fatty acids from foods and supplements like walnut oil may help reduce this risk by lowering LDL cholesterol levels, regulating blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and maintain the integrity of blood cell platelets.
In addition to providing cardiovascular benefits, the omega-3 fats in walnut oil may help prevent asthma, enhance brain health, and treat depression. There's also evidence suggesting that a diet rich in omega-3 promotes acne-free skin, and some experts believe that the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fats may also help treat eczema.
With its high omega-3 content, walnut oil pressed from English walnuts is very sensitive to light and heat. Therefore, to ensure that your walnut oil is safe to consume, store it in a refrigerator and make sure you use it well before the expiration date. Not only is rancid oil bad for your health, it is also sure to turn a delicious meal into inedible waste.
Where to Buy Walnut Oil
You can buy walnut oil at most large grocery stores, health food stores, and gourmet food stores. If you like the convenience of online shopping, you may also want to check out the range of walnut oils available on Amazon.com (or Amazon.co.uk if you live in the UK).
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