Walnut belongs to the family Juglandaceae, genus Juglans and is the consumable seed of a drupe (a fleshy fruit usually consisting of a single seed) of these trees. It is considered a nut in culinary usage but it is not a true botanical nut. The shell is thrown away after full ripening and the kernel is used as a garnish or snack. Walnut was known as the ‘’royal nut’’ during the byzantine era.
Walnut is a very important part of the horticulture industry of J & K.Kashmiri walnuts are locally known as ‘akhrot’ or ‘doon’ and are in demand all over the world for their superior quality and taste. Kashmir is the major producer of walnuts in India contributing to 90 % of India’s walnut production. The temperate climatic conditions favor the cultivation of walnuts.
As per the National Horticulture Board, in 2016-17, Jammu & Kashmir produced 206.43 thousand metric tons of walnut with an area under its cultivation of 69.24 thousand hectares in contrast to it the rest of India produced 21.8 thousand metric tons with an area of 22.85 thousand hectares.
Kashmiri walnuts are purely organic because they are grown in naturally induced conditions without the use of fertilizers and sprays. The harvesting of walnuts is done in the month of August, September, and October. The districts that are major producers of walnuts include Anantnag, Kupwara, Kulgam, Budgam, Doda, Poonch, Kashtiwar, and Kathua.
The types of walnuts that are grown in Kashmir include:
- Wonth: It is a very hard nut that is difficult to crack and is mostly used locally for its oil.
- Kagazi: It is large in size and has a thin outer shell.
- Burzul: It is a medium-sized variety.
These types of walnuts are known by their local names.
Area and Production of Walnuts (2016-2017):
|District||Area (in Hectares)||Production (in Metric Ton)|
5 Amazing Health Benefits of Kashmiri Akhrot:
Good for heart health:
The presence of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in walnuts reduces the bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglyceride levels in our body. Many types of research have been conducted on the effect of walnuts on heart health, some of them are listed below:
- A research article was published in The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition in 2009 titled,‘ Effects of walnut consumption on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis and systematic review’ and as per the results of the research, a walnut-rich diet decreased the LDL and total cholesterol. The researchers also concluded that lipid profiles were improved and reduced oxidative stress and inflammation.
- A research article was published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2013 titled,’ Acute Consumption of Walnuts and Walnut Components Differentially Affect Postprandial Lipemia, Endothelial Function, Oxidative Stress, and Cholesterol Efflux in Humans with Mild Hypercholesterolemia ‘ and as per the results of the research, the acute consumption of walnut oil benefits endothelial function and whole walnuts can improve the process of eliminating ‘ bad ‘ LDL cholesterol.
- A research article was published in The British Journal of Nutrition in 2006 titled,’ Nuts and coronary heart disease: an epidemiological perspective ‘ and as per the results of the research those who consume nuts more than four times a week have a 37 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease compared to those who never or rarely consume nuts.
Helps in weight loss:
Many kinds of researches have been conducted that demonstrate the effect of walnuts in weight management, some of them are listed below:
- A research article was published in The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010 and as per the results of the research, if we consume nuts daily, greater levels of energy are used while resting. The trials were conducted that compared the weight loss diets that included or excluded nuts and the weight loss was in moderation in those diets that included nuts.
- A research article was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition titled, ‘Prospective study of nut consumption, long-term weight change, and obesity risk in women’ and as per the results of the research women who consumed nuts occasionally had more weight gain over an 8-year period than those who consumed nuts twice a week or more.
Reduces risk of cholecystectomy:
A research article was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004 titled, ‘Frequent nut consumption and decreased risk of cholecystectomy in women ‘ and as per the results of the research, regular nut consumption reduced the risk of cholecystectomy (an operation to remove gall bladder).
Good for bones:
Osteoporosis is very common in women nowadays, it is a condition in which bones become thinner and prone to fracture. Severe copper deficiency causes an increased risk of osteoporosis, Kashmiri akhrot is a good source of copper that can prevent osteoporosis. Copper is essential for the maintenance of collagen & elastin which are the main structural components of the body.
Maintains good brain health:
Walnuts are rich in phytochemicals and polyunsaturated fats which are excellent for brain function. Many kinds of research have been conducted on the effect of walnuts on brain health, some of them are listed below:
- A research article was published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2014 titled,’ Role of walnuts in maintaining brain health with age and as per the results of the research, the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids helps in reducing oxidative stress in the brain. The process of brain aging is slowed and the risk of chronic neurodegenerative disease is also reduced.
- A research article was published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition Journal titled ‘Health benefits of walnut polyphenols: An exploration beyond their lipid profile’ and as per the results of the research, walnuts have neuroprotective and memory-enhancing properties.
In Kashmir there is a famous saying,’’ A doon(walnut) a day, keeps the doctor away’’, because of the immense health benefits of walnuts. Kashmir Basket brings to you both Walnut Giri and Walnuts Kagzi so hurry up before they go out of stock!