Walnut oil is far more than just a tasty ingredient in soups, salads and dressings. The natural product offers countless benefits for internal and external health. You can find out everything about its health-promoting effects and how to use the oil correctly below.
With its tart and nutty taste, walnut oil is a high-quality gourmet oil, especially in French cuisine. There is a lot more behind the delicious aroma: Walnut oil protects the cells, increases performance and is even used in oil painting. You can find out exactly what walnut oil is here.
Things to know about walnut oil
In order to obtain walnut oil, ripe and partly roasted walnuts are pressed in a specific process. The common walnut originally comes from Central Asia. It first found its way to Europe via Greece and finally even to Central America. It is now cultivated from Asia to America – no wonder, since it has a delicious aroma and has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.
The pale yellow to greenish oil is characterized by its exceptionally intense nutty taste. At the same time, it is very thin for a natural oil and is therefore suitable for numerous non-nutritional applications. Two kilograms of nuts are needed to produce one liter of walnut oil . The particularly high-fat walnuts are full of vitamins, nutrients and healthy fats.
Only ripe walnuts are used to produce the healthy oil. First, these are peeled, ground and partially roasted to intensify the aroma. The oil is then pressed from the crushed nuts under pressure. Subsequent filtration removes any remaining impurities in the natural product. Ideally, the oil is cold- pressed – i.e. produced in a gentle process at temperatures below 40 degrees Celsius . This is the only way to guarantee that all ingredients are actually preserved.
Hot-pressed walnut oils are less rich. The intense heat supply destroys most of their nutrients. On the other hand, these oils have a longer shelf life , but only have a fraction of their aroma and smell. For people who dislike the strong taste of walnuts, these oils are a correspondingly good alternative. With the low nutrient content, however, the question arises to what extent the not exactly cheap oil from hot pressing makes any sense at all.
Healthy ingredients of walnut oil
The high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids makes walnut oil a particularly valuable oil. In a ratio of around 90 percent unsaturated and not even 10 percent saturated fatty acids , the particularly health-promoting fatty acids predominate. They are particularly important for the formation and regeneration of cells.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids stand out in particular . Both are polyunsaturated fatty acids and are essential. This means that while they are vital to the body’s ability to function, they cannot be manufactured on its own. Instead, they are ingested through diet. Both fatty acids can be converted into hormone-like messenger substances in the body – which is particularly beneficial for performance and positive blood lipid levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in fish , which is why vegetarians and vegans in particular are dependent on a suitable alternative. With walnuts, you could hardly make a better choice. Because no other nut has such a high proportion of the important omega-3 fatty acid linolenic acid . This in turn protects the cell membranes, strengthens the heart and has a positive effect on cholesterol levels .
Walnut oil is rich in vitamin E. The fat-soluble and essential vitamin – which must be ingested through food – is responsible for many important functions. In particular, it protects cells from so-called free radicals . Among other things, these are released in the event of oxidative stress, which arises, for example, from smoking , excessive alcohol consumption or intensive sunbathing. While free radicals cause lasting damage to individual cells, antioxidants protect them from dangerous damage. Vitamin E is also considered a miracle cure in the fight against wrinkles and for their prevention. In addition, it plays a central role in heart function, circulation and a healthy nervous system.
In addition to vitamin E, there is a high proportion of B vitamins – especially vitamin B7 – in the nuts. B vitamins are essential for the formation of keratin . Keratin, in turn, is an important component of nails, skin, and hair . The vitamins also strengthen your nervous system and play an important role in various metabolic processes.
Although it is an oil, i.e. an extremely high-fat product, walnut oil has a positive effect on health. In addition, it can even support healthy weight loss in certain cases . You can find the most important nutritional values of the oil here at a glance:
|nutrient||per 100 grams|
|Vitamin E||0,44 mg|
|Vitamin K||0,015 mg|
|Saturated Fatty Acids||10,51 g|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids||65,46 g|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids||19,16 g|
|stearic acid||2,29 g|
|oleic acid||18,30 g|
|linoleic acid||52,40 g|
Applications of walnut oil
Although walnut oil is becoming increasingly popular in the kitchen, it is by no means the only area of application. Few people know that the thin oil of the walnut is used in oil painting in particular . The refined oil offers several advantages here: It has a high pigment absorption capacity, dries very quickly and leaves a beautiful shine on the surface.
Refined walnut oil is also often used to treat wooden surfaces . It protects wooden items or furniture from wear and tear. It has the unbeatable advantage of not having any harmful substances or side effects and is therefore also suitable for impregnating children’s toys.
Health effects of walnut oil
However, walnut oil is particularly enriching for skin, hair and internal health. The natural product, which has almost no side effects, can be used in a variety of ways.
Against free radicals
The vitamin E in the common walnut oil is also known as an antioxidant . It protects cells from free radical damage caused by oxidative stress. This suggests that walnut oil can reduce the risk of cancer. Furthermore, walnut oil protects the nerve cells of the brain , which in turn can prevent Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases.
Both walnuts and the oil extracted from them are considered true performance boosters . The oil should not only be able to increase physical but also mental performance. This is probably due to the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They increase concentration and regulate blood pressure even in stressful situations. Therefore, walnut oil can help to keep a cool head even in moments of stress and to focus on one thing.
With elevated cholesterol levels
Polyunsaturated fatty acids have a particularly positive effect on cholesterol levels – and they are found in high proportions in walnut oil. American researchers found in a study that walnut oil can have a beneficial effect on bad blood lipid levels and regulates cholesterol levels . Certain other vegetable oils also lower the proportion of bad LDL cholesterol in the blood. At the same time, they usually also reduce the good HDL cholesterol – this is not harmful to health with its low proportion of lipids. If there is a balanced relationship between the two types of cholesterol, this is positive for the cholesterol level.
Walnut oil is so good for your health because it lowers bad LDL cholesterol while raising good HDL cholesterol. The American study also showed that the test subjects’ inflammation levels also decreased. Thanks to its healthy fatty acids, walnut oil can therefore prevent high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases as well as the associated diseases.
Walnut oil for body care
In addition to health, skin and hair also benefit from an application with walnut oil. It almost doesn’t matter whether you use the oil externally for body care or ingest it through food – both variants have a positive effect on your appearance.
For the skin
The oil of the common walnut should beautify the complexion and in particular counteract premature wrinkling . Allegedly, women of the 17th century used the high-quality oil for body care and, above all, to combat wrinkles. The healthy ingredients of the walnut support the body in regenerating and renewing the cells. In addition, walnut oil provides a lot of moisture and absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving a noticeable greasy film.
If your skin suffers from severe dryness or irritation, a treatment with walnut oil can help. Thanks to its disinfecting effect , the oil is said to be particularly effective against blackheads and pimples. You can use the oil on both impure and dry skin and, thanks to its naturalness, you don’t have to worry about any side effects. However, you should avoid the oil if you suffer from a nut allergy.
Incidentally, walnut oil not only makes the skin more supple – you can also care for your lips with the natural product. Dry lips are thus supplied with moisture and softened.
For the hair
Dry hair is not just a typical winter problem. Heated air, chlorinated water or UV rays: Many factors contribute to the hair losing moisture. But a hot shower can also contribute to hair becoming brittle and losing its shine. This is because the hair opens up when wet and the hot water can attack the hair structure. Like many other hair oils, walnut oil can protect the hair from severe drying out . To do this, apply a little of the oil to dry hair and use it to detangle before washing. Or you massage it into damp hair . This locks moisture in the hair structure and your hair regains its suppleness.
You can use walnut oil as a treatment, conditioner, or leave-in product . Especially if you use the oil after washing to tame flying hairs, you should use it sparingly. Otherwise, your strands will quickly look greasy.
Nothing for nut allergy sufferers
People who suffer from a nut allergy should better avoid walnut oil. This applies to both internal and external use. Especially in cold-pressed walnut oil there are still allergens that can be dangerous for people with nut allergies. Some of these are still contained in refined oil. To be on the safe side, you should completely refrain from using walnut oil if you have a nut allergy.
Buy walnut oil
As already mentioned, you should better use cold- pressed oil . This is the only way to ensure that the special ingredients are preserved. In addition, carefully produced walnut oil has a significantly more intense aroma – which tastes particularly delicious in salads and in dressings. If possible, opt for a product with an organic seal from Europe. Most walnut oils are imported into Europe from the USA and are therefore not particularly sustainable.
After buying your walnut oil, you should store the sensitive natural product accordingly. The oil will keep for two to three months in a cool, dry place . It is therefore more worthwhile to use smaller bottles that you should use up quickly.
Walnut oil in the kitchen
The application possibilities of the aromatic nutty oil are enormously diverse. It is not for nothing that walnut oil is indispensable, especially in upscale French cuisine. You can also take the oil pure for health-promoting purposes . With a walnut oil cure, you take one to two teaspoons of the oil daily before a meal.
Cook with walnut oil
Since the smoke point of walnut oil is around 130° Celsius , you should never overheat the oil. Unfortunately, it is therefore unsuitable for roasting and deep-frying. When the oil is heated above 130°, it quickly turns bitter and releases menacing trans fats , which are suspected carcinogens.
However, you can use walnut oil very well at low temperatures. The very filling oil tastes particularly good for refining soups, salads, fish and vegetables .
Make your own walnut oil
Making your own walnut oil is not only cheap, it’s also fun to hold your own product in your hands. You just need to be patient: it takes about two months for the oil to finish . For the production you need: Two kilograms of walnuts, a blender, a sieve and a salad spinner as well as clean bottles that can be closed well.
1. For about 300 to 500 milliliters of pure walnut oil you need a full two kilograms of walnuts. First you remove their shells and place them on a spread out cloth in a warm and dry place to dry. Here they will have to rest for about four weeks .
2. After about a month, you can finely puree the dry nuts in a blender.
3. Then put the porridge in a salad spinner and spin it until all the liquid has separated . This process can get really tedious with the large amount. It’s best to take turns with a partner. When the liquid has settled, pass it through a sieveto filter small particles.
4. Now put the liquid in well-sealable bottles and let the oil mature. To do this, place the bottles in a very warm place: temperatures of around 20° Celsius are required for the process.
5. Before the oil is ready, it has to mature in the bottles for about a month . You shouldn’t move the bottles until then, because they have to be completely still.
6. After four to five weeks , your walnut oil will be ready. When closed, it can be stored in the bottle for a few months.