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Optimum health is the prime concern in every human's life!" We all live and we try to live healthy, Nuts are a good source of nutrients which play an important role in the maintenance of overall health. The edible kernel known as the walnut is one of the best nutritious food one can take regularly for better health due to its highly rich nutritious content and because of its amazing health benefits essential for a disease free healthy life. Walnuts are rich in calorie, vitamin E, and fatty acids like the Omega 3 fatty acids. All these components present in walnut makes the tree nut a rich source of nutrient food with excellent nutritional benefits. Walnuts possess enormous health benefits provided the consumption is regular in controlled quantity and of course hygiene is utmost important which propounds processing of walnuts on modern scientific lines. Walnuts are probably one of the most nutritious nuts available that is why; they are often referred to as the 'Imperial nut'. Walnut is highly beneficial for skin, hair, healthy heart, type 2 diabetes, reducing obesity, fighting against cancer, stress relaxant and much more. Keeping all these facts in view, due consideration is demanded towards progression of Walnuts in market. This will not only keep rates stable in the market but will facilitate a common person to procure Walnuts as per desire for upkeep of health. For the hygienic processing of walnut kernels, automation of processing in Walnut Industries is highly required.
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ISSN 2229-760X (Print)
ISSN 2319-7625 (Online)
Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Sciences, Vol.6(8), 783-793, August 2016
(An International Research Journal),
Scientific Processing of Walnuts Necessary for Amazing
Health Benefits
G. M. Mir, Owais Nisar and Uzma Iqbal
Division of Agricultural Engineering,
Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and
Technology of Kashmir, INDIA.
(Received on: August 29, 2016)
Optimum health is the prime concern in every human's life!" We all live
and we try to live healthy, Nuts are a good source of nutrients which play an
important role in the maintenance of overall health. The edible kernel known as the
walnut is one of the best nutritious food one can take regularly for better health due
to its highly rich nutritious content and because of its amazing health benefits
essential for a disease free healthy life. Walnuts are rich in calorie, vitamin E, and
fatty acids like the Omega 3 fatty acids. All these components present in walnut
makes the tree nut a rich source of nutrient food with excellent nutritional benefits.
Walnuts possess enormous health benefits provided the consumption is regular in
controlled quantity and of course hygiene is utmost important which propounds
processing of walnuts on modern scientific lines. Walnuts are probably one of the
most nutritious nuts available that is why; they are often referred to as the ‘Imperial
nut’. Walnut is highly beneficial for skin, hair, healthy heart, type 2 diabetes,
reducing obesity, fighting against cancer, stress relaxant and much more. Keeping
all these facts in view, due consideration is demanded towards progression of
Walnuts in market. This will not only keep rates stable in the market but will
facilitate a common person to procure Walnuts as per desire for upkeep of health.
For the hygienic processing of walnut kernels, automation of processing in Walnut
Industries is highly required.
Keywords: Benefit, Consumption, Hygiene, Processing, Walnut.
There are a number of natural gifts in the world which help people keep them fit,
fine and healthy in a natural way. Among all those natural gifts created by the nature for the
G. M. Mir, et al., J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(8), 783-793 (2016)
benefits of mankind, is an edible kernel from the tree belonging to the Juglandaceae family
with the genus Juglan. Each nut is roughly spherical in its shape and its size is about a
middle sized lemon (Figure 1) which weighs about 10-15 grams. It encloses a single bi-lobed
edible kernel inside1. The walnut kernel consists of two uneven lobes which are off white in
colour and are covered by a thin papery layer of light brown colour.
Apart from being great at taste, walnuts are rich in various nutrients and thus help
greatly to the better health of human beings. The most important component present in
walnuts is the omega 3- fatty acid.
Studies have found that around 38% of the walnuts are grown in United States and
about 90% of those 38% walnuts are grown especially in California. Among all the health
benefits walnuts provides, some of the most crucial benefits includes the benefits to heart
health, anti-cancer benefits, benefits in fighting against type 2 diabetes, benefits to skin
health etc2-4. However it is also mainly beneficial to the people who prefer a calorie rich diet.
A comparative study between the tree-nut eaters and the non eaters of the tree nuts suggests
that people who eat tree nuts are found with gaining 5 grams of more fiber, 73 milligrams of
more calcium, 260 milligrams of more potassium, 95 milligrams of more magnesium, 3.7 mg
of more vitamin E and 157 mg of less sodium.
Walnuts are round, single seeded fruits of the walnut tree growing in temperate
regions. Each walnut is enclosed in a green, leathery fleshy husk which is inedible. When the
husk is removed, it reveals the wrinkly walnut shell joined in two halves which are off white
in color and covered by a paper-thin light brown skin5. This hard shell encloses the kernel
which is edible. The seed kernels are enclosed in a brown seed coat which contains
antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the seed from atmospheric oxygen, thus preventing
Walnuts are usually ready for harvesting in the month of August when the thick
green hull cracks open to reveal the light brown colored nut. There are generally two
varieties of walnuts- Persian/English walnut and black walnut. The Persian or English walnut
has its origin in Persia and is produced commercially. The black walnut has a high flavor but
it has a smaller kernel and an extremely tough shell. Due to its poor hulling characteristics, it
is not grown commercially for nut production. Since ancient times, walnut has been
regarded as a symbol of intellectuality not only due to the resemblance of its shell to the
human brain but also because of its health benefitting nutrients, particularly omega- 3 fatty
acids. Ancient Romans used it as a delicacy as well as to dye wool and color hair. Oil
extracted from walnuts is used in cooking and as a base or carrier oil in medicine and
Figure 1 Shape of walnut stone
G. M. Mir, et al., J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(8), 783-793 (2016)
The list providing the nutritional information of walnuts as per the best possible facts
available are as under.
It provides about 654 kilocalorie of energy
It has about 13.71 grams of carbohydrates
It has a principle nutrient value of 15.23 grams proteins
It has a total fat of about 65.21 grams
It has about 6.7 diet fiber
It must be noted there are no cholesterol
It has about 441 mg of potassium and only 2 mg of sodium
It is a good source of vitamins, Vitamin C lists about 1.3 mg, Vitamin A content includes
20 IU, vitamin E list 20.83 mg
It is rich in minerals like calcium (98 mg), magnesium (158 mg), phosphorous (346 mg)
It has iron content of around 2.9 mg.
They contain some percentage of phyto-nutrients essential for human health and
1. Anti-ageing Benefits
Most nuts are good for skin and walnut is no exception. The wide array of nutrients
in this nut, particularly omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E helps to maintain a nourished and
smooth complexion. Walnuts are rich in antioxidants which counter the action of free
radicals that can harm your cells and accelerate the ageing process6,7. Walnut oil has been
used since the 17th century as a remedy for wrinkles, thanks to its high levels of essential
nutrients and rich minerals. Though this oil is greasy and rich, applying it on your face helps
treat wrinkles and fine lines, thus making your skin look younger.
2. Improves Skin Quality
Both walnuts and their oil contain abundant amounts of vitamins B1, B2 and B3 as
well as vitamin E and B complex. The phytonutrients and fatty acids present in walnut oil
improve the texture and quality of your skin.
3. Treatment of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a persistent, painful skin ailment that can be alleviated by using walnut
oil. You can add this oil to your bath or apply it topically on your skin for an hour to soothe
the inflammation caused by psoriasis.
4. Treatment of Skin Infection
The anti-fungal properties of walnut oil make it great for the treatment of fungal
infections like athlete’s foot and candida. This oil can be applied topically on the affected
G. M. Mir, et al., J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(8), 783-793 (2016)
areas or mixed with other herbal anti-fungal ingredients such as garlic to enhance its
5. Treatment of Eczema
Omega-3 fatty acids contained in walnut oil help in treating eczema. All you need to
do is mix some garlic juice with walnut oil and apply it on the eczema affected area. Do
this regularly to experience beneficial results within 10 days.
6. Healing Qualities
Walnuts contain amino acids which are naturally found in healthy skin. Thus, eating
walnuts is a natural way of making your skin beautiful, healthy and damage resistant. They
also contain Vitamin E which is a skin friendly antioxidant. Taking it internally makes your
skin softer and accelerates healing of injured skin.
7. Walnut: Hair Benefits
Walnuts are considered the most hair friendly among all nuts, primarily due to their
high content of omega-3 fatty acids as well as zinc, iron, B vitamins (B1, B6 and B9)
and abundant amounts of protein. These nuts offer the following benefits for your hair.
Omega-3 fatty acids in walnut oil form a vital part of cell structure as they stop
dehydration of cells and maintain the physical property. In this way, walnut oil hydrates your
scalp, thus preventing dry scalp which is a cause of hair loss.
8. Prevents Dandruff
Dandruff is a common problem these days, which if left unattended can lead to
severe hair loss. Walnuts contain alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that helps
condition your hair. Walnut oil moisturizes your scalp region to ensure that the skin does not
become flaky. Thus, topical application of this oil helps in preventing dandruff.
9. Promotes Hair Growth
Walnut oil also contains minerals like potassium and copper which play an
important role in promoting hair growth. Deficiency of potassium can disable the cells to
repair and regenerate which might cause hair loss and even balding. Copper, on the other
hand, is required for the synthesis of the melanin pigment, deficiency of which can cause
stained and lack luster hair.Thus, topical application of this oil can invigorate hair growth.
10. Anti-ageing Property
The anti-ageing property of walnuts can be attributed to the presence of omega-3
fatty acids. This property enables it to work at the cellular level to prevent cell damage or
cell death resulting in hairless patterns or hair loss.
11. Anti-fungal Properties
The anti-fungal properties of walnut oil prevent fungal infections, thus stimulating
hair growth and providing you with a clean and healthy scalp.
G. M. Mir, et al., J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(8), 783-793 (2016)
12. Walnut For heart health
Walnuts are greatly beneficial for the heart. The presence of a larger quantity of
antioxidants and also due to the presence of these antioxidants in a mixed manner; walnuts
are known to be effective in greater cardiovascular functioning8-10. The presence of omega 3
fatty acids in walnuts assists in lowering of blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart
13. Walnut Benefits in Fight against Cancer
A study at Marshall University School of Medicine in West Virginia found that
taking around 28 walnuts everyday helps in reducing the risk in breast cancer because of the
antioxidants and phytosterols provided by it11. So, walnuts are helpful in reducing breast
cancers, prostrate cancers and various other cancer developments mainly due to the
antioxidants. The presence of omega 3 fatty acids which are known for their anti-oxidant
properties, aids in cancer prevention.
14. Walnut Helps in Treating Type 2 Diabetes
There is presence of mono and polyunsaturated fats in walnuts. Due to the presence
of such unsaturated fats, it is known that walnuts are highly essential in reducing the type 2
diabetes12.13. These mono and polyunsaturated fats helps in insulin sensitivity.
15. Benefits in Providing Relaxation and Managing Stress
Walnuts and walnut oils are essential in reducing or managing stress in a wonderful
way. Some other health benefits of walnuts includes its ability in reducing obesity or
prevention of excessive weight gain, better mental health benefits like benefits in reducing
depression, Alzheimer's etc., helps in bone health and also the MLT or melatonin component
present in walnut help in good sleep14. Walnuts are beneficial for patients diagnosed with
metabolic syndromes. It is recommended that one ounce of walnuts everyday for about three
months can help in treating or reducing metabolic syndrome greatly.
Walnuts are mostly harvested by traditional methods by beating the walnut bunches
lying on the branches of walnut tree. Leaning and stretching towards walnuts lying on
extreme branches puts the labour at risk and in many cases results in slipping from the huge
tree. The falling from tree mostly results in damage in spinal cord disabling the person for
entire life and in some cases resulting in on spot death. Thus extreme care is needed to be
exercised during harvesting of walnuts, it is better to use mechanical shakers which agitate
the branches of walnut tree providing the desired force for dislodging walnuts, or otherwise
dwarf walnut trees are to be propagated for less risk.
G. M. Mir, et al., J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(8), 783-793 (2016)
The walnuts obtained after harvest are covered in black cover which needs to be
removed. Most of the growers dehull walnuts by hands or foot thereby causing many skin
diseases and damaging their clothes with unwanted stains. This process is time consuming
and laborious. The mechanical dehuller is a better alternative for this process and is available
around Rs 20000.
Sometimes in order to improve the appearance of nuts, these are bleached with either
alkali or acid solution. After removal of the husks, cleaning and drying, they should be
stored and marketed separately to fetch a higher price. Delay in drying causes rapid loss in
nut quality and makes walnuts susceptible to the mould. Drying of nuts stabilises the
product’s weight and prolongs storage life. Walnuts are stored in gunny bags in a small
ventilated room free from excess humidity. For export purpose, these are packed in double
gunny bags.
Grading of any agricultural produce enhances its market value, so grading of walnut
stones are necessarily to be graded. Mostly growers grade their walnuts by traditional
methods of handpicking, which is cumbersome and inefficient. Low cost mechanical graders
are also available for grading of walnuts at around Rs 25000. Since marginal farmers can not
normally afford theses mechanical gadgets, but they can approach related Government
agencies for subsidy purpose so that they can have these gadgets. Different multipurpose
graders have been designed at Division of Agricultural Engineering, SKUAST-K, which are
suitable progressive farmers and for Industrial level.
The walnuts are then set for cracking, normally walnut cracking machines are not
available in India as yet so traditional cracking is employed. The labours usually women are
employed to crack by hammering walnuts and remove kernels in Walnut Industrial units.
The kernels are then graded sieve based mechanical graders wherein different sieves are
agitated and kernels are obtained underneath each sieve. This eliminates/removes the fine
broken parts left after cracking. This broken part is used in confectionary items. The graded
kernels are then graded on the basis of colour, and are finally separated by hand picking. The
light colour with lesser broken parts forms the highest grade similarly other grades are
Walnut kernels are then set for drying; growers normally put kernels on mats in open
sunshine for few days and then sell in the market. The desired moisture level is never being
achieved, so these kernels usually develop fungus with time. In walnut processing Industries
G. M. Mir, et al., J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(8), 783-793 (2016)
the kernels are put in vertical racks heated by electrical heating system and blowing out
moisture by circulating air. The moisture content is not maintained at the desired level,
because they don’t have that mechanism to have automation based measuring system. So the
excess moisture content in kernels usually results in development of fungus, even if not
visible to naked eye. This fungus deteriorates the taste and may result in health hazards if
fungus level is high. So automatic moisture content measuring needs to established, which
may be achieved by a load cell put under the drying rack, and sample checked for the present
and required moisture level.
The dried kernels are then vacuum packed in different measures by weight as
demanded by the market. These packets can preserve kernels for longer use if all the steps of
processing are base on scientific methods.
How to Select Walnut Stones for Purchase
In the markets, they are displayed for sale all the year round in several forms such as
shelled, unshelled, salted, sweetened and ground walnuts. While buying shelled walnuts,
look for plump, crisp nutmeats. Shelled nuts should be brittle, compact, and uniform in size,
plus heavy in hand.
The nuts that grow on the sunnier side of the tree generally have a darker brown
color and richer flavor. They should be free from cracks, molds, spots and rancid smell.
While buying shelled walnuts, ensure that the shells are not cracked, pierced or stained
which often indicates mold development in the nutmeat, rendering it unfit for consumption.
Shelled nuts are also available in pre-packaged containers and bulk bins. While buying them,
ensure that the bins containing them are covered and the store has a good product turnover to
ensure their freshness. Avoid the nuts that look rubbery and shriveled as this is an indication
of age. Smell the nuts, if possible, to ensure that they are not rancid.
It is advisable to buy whole unshelled nuts rather than processed ones, as the latter
are often treated with ethylene gas, fumigated with methyl bromide, and dipped in a solution
of glycerin and sodium carbonate to loosen their skins and then rinsed in citric acid.
Storage of Walnuts
The high content of polyunsaturated fats in walnuts makes them highly
perishable and hence, they should be stored with immense care. Unshelled walnuts should be
kept in a cool, dark and dry place where they can last up to 6 months. Shelled kernels should
be placed in an airtight container and kept in a refrigerator for up to 6 months or placed in
the freezer where they will last for a year. Walnuts should be used as soon as possible as they
turn rancid quickly.
Scientific Processing and Possible Outcome
The quality of food products is very important for human health and must not be
compromised at any cost. Healthy food makes healthy society, so this demands scientific
G. M. Mir, et al., J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(8), 783-793 (2016)
processing of food products. Walnuts’ being considered as an important food supplement for
good health, so considerable attention is needed towards the processing of walnuts and its
products. The two processes that is Grading and drying are very important amongst all other
processes, because these two processes are highly required for market attraction and good
health consideration. So these two processes will be discussed in detail.
Sorting/Grading: The vision based sorting system consists of different subsystems. Fig.1
shows the different components of the sorting system. Fast single camera or multiple
cameras are used to capture the image of the products. Single camera with mirrors can be
used to check the different sides of the product, while multiple cameras fixed in different
directions get more clear images. Usually, isolated box with lighting is used to overcome
lighting variation problems and get better images. The captured images are sent to the
computer to be processed and analyzed in real time. The decision, "pass" or "fail”, is sent as
an electronic signal to interfacing circuits. These circuits drive an electronic valve to open or
close the path of the products. By closing the path, the product is pushed to "bad product"
store. Finally, the high quality products only will continue to the "pass" store. Sometimes,
products are classified into more than two classes. The different classes represent different
degrees of quality. The vision system consists of many modules, and it is required to finish
all processing in real time.
Figure 1 Sorting system
Drying: Maintaining moisture content in Walnuts is necessary because excess moisture
content leads to the development of fungi and renders Walnuts useless thus wastage of
resources. Figure 2 and Figure 3 shows vertical electrical dryers used for drying of kernels
wherein temperature can be set and maintained at any desired level. But this is not going to
help for reducing moisture of kernels to the recommended level of 8-10%, unless some
mechanism is involved for checking the moisture level of kernels. As of now Industrial unit
holders just guess about the moisture level, which can never be correct and it has been
observed that the final moisture content of the dried kernels is around 20-25%, which is
prone to the development of fungi. The solution to this problem can be obtained by
analyzing a sample for weight basis detection of moisture content and applying same to the
loaded kernels. A load cell kept under the rack for final desired moisture level. Figure 4
G. M. Mir, et al., J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(8), 783-793 (2016)
shows a frame containing load cell with digital display. The vertical rack can be installed
over this load cell system and it can be reset when rack is empty, and then Walnut kernels
will be loaded in rack which will give us the weight of loaded kernels. The display will
indicate the real time loss of weight in kernels as moisture is reduced with time. The heating
is continued till desired calculated weight is obtained. These kernels will be then removed
and cooled before set for vacuum packing.
Figure 2 Vertical electrical dryer Figure 3 Vertical electrical dryer
Figure 4 Load cell with display
The simulation results obtained by using Mamdani Inference Engine is shown in
Figure 5 and Figure 6. Triangular membership functions have been used for evaluation
purpose where three classes low, medium and high have been used. The three dimensional
view giving relationship between various variables obtained clearly shows that;
Low moisture content and High grading results in High market value and
Low moisture content and High grading results in High health benefit.
G. M. Mir, et al., J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(8), 783-793 (2016)
Figure 5 Grading, Moisture content Vrs Market value Figure 6 Grading, Moisture content Vrs Health benefit
In order to compete at the high standard of the world level market trade our states
have also to be uplifted with modern technological interventions. This can be achieved by
due consideration from Governmental organizations, various schemes of the central
Government, and general awareness about the benefits of post harvest processing for value
addition and proportionate benefits. Since walnuts have a good demand now because of the
health conscience of public, and About 7 shelled walnuts are recommended to intake
everyday for optimum health benefits.
The authors are highly thankful to Department of Science and technology New Delhi
for extending financial support under sponsored project “Electronic Saffron Corm Grader
and Walnut Grader”
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... So, the versatile approach to the sub-complex analysis provides a number of opportunities for further researches. For this reason, the sub-complex can be determined by the raw material, that is processed by its enterprise, or by the end product/service intended for the certain market [32][33][34][35][36]. ...
... Their suggestions allowed for the peculiarities of indigenous grades of walnut trees, while focusing on possible yield [37][38][39][40]. It is equally important that there are a lot of different aspects of deep walnut processing that are considered widely and should be allowed for further researches, such as: walnut production technology [41,42]; genetic resources [36,43,44]; walnut peeling processes [45][46][47]; walnut processing waste valorization that emphasizes the high interest in providing technological non-waste processing considerations [48,49]. ...
... Other walnut derivative products are being investigated currently. Among them are such products as: walnut shell [19], organic walnut kernel [27], walnut kernels mixed with wild honey [28], jaggery coated walnut kernels and honey glazed walnut kernels [31], green walnut [36], derivative produces that allows to receive complementary benefits from walnut (anti-ageing, improving of skin quality, treatment of psoriasis, treatment of skin infection, treatment of eczema, healing qualities) [37], by-products of walnut, such as green husk and walnut shell [38]. The given study emphasizes walnut fruits, confectionary kernels and oil. ...
Full-text available
The main goal of this study was to provide a critical analysis of the oil and fat sub-complex for deep walnut processing, to determine and compare the profitability of enterprises' activities under different business models for implementation in the agro-food value chain. The latter was considered as an important factor for the development of the domestic market of walnuts and export opportunities. Business modeling of the enterprise activity in the oil and fat sub-complex for deep walnut processing was carried out. The stages of production and marketing activities of the enterprise from the garden planting or the purchase of the processed raw materials to the sale of the processed raw materials and products obtained from walnut processing depending on the chosen business model were considered. A comparative analysis of profitability of the enterprise activity and absolute values of income and profitability indicators under various business models of the enterprise activity were shown. The most cost-effective business-model entailed the combination of walnut production and its processing, which will provide profitability of up to 4640.32% in the 20th year of the project implementation. The results of the given study are intended for the agricultural enterprises of central region of Ukraine.
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Short-term trials support that adding tree nuts or peanuts to usual diets does not induce weight gain. We reviewed the available epidemiological evidence on long-term nut consumption and body weight changes. We also report new results from the SUN ("Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra") cohort. Published epidemiologic studies with ≥1-yr follow-up were located. Two published reports from large cohorts (SUN and Nurses Health Study-2) showed inverse associations between frequency of nut consumption and long-term weight changes. A beneficial effect of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with tree nuts on waist circumference was reported after 1-yr follow-up in the first 1224 high-risk participants in the PREDIMED ("PREvencion DIeta MEDiterranea") trial. After assessing 11,895 participants of the SUN cohort, a borderline significant (p value for trend = 0.09) inverse association between baseline nut consumption and average yearly weight gain (multivariate-adjusted means = 0.32 kg/yr (95% confidence interval: 0.22-0.42) and 0.24 (0.11-0.37) kg/yr for participants with no consumption and >4 servings/week, respectively) was found after a 6-yr follow-up. Consumption of nuts was not associated with a higher risk of weight gain in long-term epidemiologic studies and clinical trials.
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It is commonly accepted that melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine), the most relevant pineal secretory product, has oncostatic properties in a wide variety of tumors and, especially, in those identified as being hormonedependent. The objective of the present article is to offer a global and integrative view of the mechanisms involved in the oncostatic actions of this indoleamine. Due to the wide spectrum of melatonin's actions, the mechanisms that may be involved in its ability to counteract tumor growth are varied. These include: a) antioxidant effects; b) regulation of the estrogen receptor expression and transactivation; c) modulation of the enzymes involved in the local synthesis of estrogens; d) modulation of cell cycle and induction of apoptosis; e) inhibition of telomerase activity; f) inhibition of metastasis; g) prevention of circadian disruption; h) antiangiogenesis; i) epigenetic effects; j) stimulation of cell differentiation; and k) activation of the immune system. The data supporting each of these oncostatic actions of melatonin are summarized in this review. Moreover, the list of actions described may not be exhaustive in terms of how melatonin modulates tumor growth.
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Data concerning the long-term association between nut consumption and weight change in a free-living population are sparse. The objective was to determine the relation between nut consumption and long-term weight change. The participants were 51,188 women in the Nurses' Health Study II aged 20-45 y, who had no cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or cancer. We prospectively evaluated the dietary intake of nuts and subsequent weight changes from 1991 to 1999. Women who reported eating nuts > or =2 times/wk had slightly less mean (+/- SE) weight gain (5.04 +/- 0.12 kg) than did women who rarely ate nuts (5.55 +/- 0.04 kg) (P for trend < 0.001). For the same comparison, when total nut consumption was subdivided into peanuts and tree nuts, the results were similar (ie, less weight gain in women eating either peanuts or tree nuts > or =2 times/wk). The results were similar in normal-weight, overweight, and obese participants. In multivariate analyses in which lifestyle and other dietary factors were controlled for, we found that greater nut consumption (> or =2 times/wk compared with never/almost never) was associated with a slightly lower risk of obesity (hazard ratio: 0.77; 95% CI: 0.57, 1.02; P for trend = 0.003). Higher nut consumption was not associated with greater body weight gain during 8 y of follow-up in healthy middle-aged women. Instead, it was associated with a slightly lower risk of weight gain and obesity. The results of this study suggest that incorporating nuts into diets does not lead to greater weight gain and may help weight control.
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Nuts are energy-dense foods, rich in total fat and unsaturated fatty acids. The favorable fatty acid profile probably contributes to the beneficial effects of nut consumption observed in epidemiologic studies (prevention of coronary heart disease and diabetes) and feeding trials (cholesterol lowering). Besides fat, the complex matrices of nuts contain many bioactive compounds: vegetable protein, fiber, minerals, tocopherols, and phenolic compounds. By virtue of their unique composition, nuts are likely to benefit newer cardiovascular risk biomarkers, such as LDL oxidizability, soluble inflammatory molecules, and endothelial dysfunction. Protection of LDL oxidation by nut intake has been documented in some, but not all, clinical studies. In one study, feeding one daily serving of mixed nuts was associated with lower oxidized LDL concentrations. Regarding inflammation, cross-sectional studies have shown that nut consumption is associated with lower concentrations of circulating inflammatory molecules and higher plasma adiponectin, a potent antiinflammatory adipokine. Clinical studies with nuts have documented reduced inflammatory cytokine concentrations but no consistent changes of C-reactive protein. Only walnuts have been formally tested for effects on endothelial function. After both walnut diets and single walnut meals, favorable vasoreactivity changes have been observed. Walnut consumption also reduced expression of endothelin 1, a potent endothelial activator, in an animal model of accelerated atherosclerosis. Beneficial effects on vascular reactivity may be ascribed to several constituents of walnuts: l-arginine, the precursor of nitric oxide, alpha-linolenic acid, and phenolic antioxidants. Although more studies are warranted, the emerging picture is that nut consumption beneficially influences cardiovascular risk beyond cholesterol lowering.
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Epidemiologic and clinical trial evidence has demonstrated consistent benefits of nut and peanut consumption on coronary heart disease (CHD) risk and associated risk factors. The epidemiologic studies have reported various endpoints, including fatal CHD, total CHD death, total CHD, and nonfatal myocardial infarct. A pooled analysis of 4 U.S. epidemiologic studies showed that subjects in the highest intake group for nut consumption had an approximately 35% reduced risk of CHD incidence. The reduction in total CHD death was due primarily to a decrease in sudden cardiac death. Clinical studies have evaluated the effects of many different nuts and peanuts on lipids, lipoproteins, and various CHD risk factors, including oxidation, inflammation, and vascular reactivity. Evidence from these studies consistently shows a beneficial effect on these CHD risk factors. The LDL cholesterol-lowering response of nut and peanut studies is greater than expected on the basis of blood cholesterol-lowering equations that are derived from changes in the fatty acid profile of the diet. Thus, in addition to a favorable fatty acid profile, nuts and peanuts contain other bioactive compounds that explain their multiple cardiovascular benefits. Other macronutrients include plant protein and fiber; micronutrients including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and tocopherols; and phytochemicals such as phytosterols, phenolic compounds, resveratrol, and arginine. Nuts and peanuts are food sources that are a composite of numerous cardioprotective nutrients and if routinely incorporated in a healthy diet, population risk of CHD would therefore be expected to decrease markedly.
To assess the prevalence, risk and management of hyperglycemia in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Design: a multicenter prospective observational study of a representative sample of patients with ACS consecutively admitted to intensive cardiac care units (ICCU). 31 out of 61 ICCUs in Lombardy, the most heavily populated Italian region. From May 2009 to April 2010 1260 patients (69.4% male; mean age 68 ± 13 years) were included in the study: 301 (23.9%) were known diabetic patients (D) and 265 (21.0%) had hyperglycemia (H) (blood glucose >180 mg/dL) at hospital admission, 174 with a history of diabetes (D+H+) and 91 without (D-H+). On the first day after admission intravenous insulin infusion was prescribed to 72 D+H+ (41.4%) and 10 D-H+ (11.0%), according to different protocols. Approximately one third of D+H+ patients (59) and one fifth (17) of D-H+ maintained mean blood glucose higher than 180 mg/dL during the first day in the ICCU. Patients with diabetes or hyperglycemia had a higher incidence of major adverse cardiovascular events or death in hospital. However, at multivariable analysis neither diabetes nor blood glucose at admission was associated with a poor prognosis whereas mean blood glucose on the first day was an independent negative prognostic predictor (OR 1.010, 95% CI 1.002-1.018, p = 0.016). Hyperglycemia is frequent in patients with ACS and is independently associated with a poor in-hospital prognosis if it persists in first day. Unfortunately, however, this condition is still poorly treated, with far from optimal blood glucose control. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Oxidative stress has a key role in atherosclerosis, cancer and other chronic diseases. Some bioactive compounds in nuts have been implicated in antioxidant activities. We assessed how nut consumption affected several markers of oxidation and endothelial function (EF) in metabolic syndrome (MetS) patients. A randomized, controlled, parallel feeding trial was conducted on 50 MetS adults who were recommended a healthy diet supplemented or not with 30 g of mixed nuts (Nut and Control groups, respectively) every day for 12 weeks. The plasma antioxidant capacity (AC), oxidized LDL (oxLDL), conjugated diene (CD) formation, urine 8-isoprostanes, DNA damage assessed by yield of urine 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG), and EF assessed by peripheral artery tonometry (PAT) and biochemical markers, were measured at baseline and the end of the intervention. No significant differences in changes between groups were observed in AC, oxLDL, CD, 8-isoprostanes or EF during the intervention, whereas the reduction in DNA damage was significant in the Nut group compared to Control group (P < 0.001). Nut consumption has no deleterious effect on lipid oxidation. The decrease in DNA damage observed in this study could contribute to explain the beneficial effects of regular nut consumption on some MetS features and several chronic diseases.
Histone deacetylases (HDAC) have been under intense scientific investigation for a number of years. However, only recently the unique class III HDAC, sirtuins, have gained increasing investigational momentum. Originally linked to longevity in yeast, sirtuins and more specifically, SIRT1 have been implicated in numerous biological processes having both protective and/or detrimental effects. SIRT1 appears to play a critical role in the process of carcinogenesis, especially in age-related neoplasms. Similarly, alterations in circadian rhythms as well as production of the pineal hormone melatonin have been linked to aging and cancer risk. Melatonin has been found act as a differentiating agent in some cancer cells and to lower their invasive and metastatic status. In addition, melatonin synthesis and release occurs in a circadian rhythm fashion and it has been linked to the core circadian machinery genes (Clock, Bmal1, Periods, and Cryptochromes). Melatonin has also been associated with chronotherapy, the timely administration of chemotherapy agents to optimize trends in biological cycles. Interestingly, a recent set of studies have linked SIRT1 to the circadian rhythm machinery through direct deacetylation activity as well as through the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) salvage pathway. In this review, we provide evidence for a possible connection between sirtuins, melatonin, and the circadian rhythm circuitry and their implications in aging, chronomodulation, and cancer.
The cancer-preventive activity of vitamin E has been studied. Whereas some epidemiological studies have suggested a protective effect of vitamin E against cancer formation, many large-scale intervention studies with a-tocopherol (usually large doses) have not demonstrated a cancer-preventive effect. Studies on α-tocopherol in animal models also have not demonstrated robust cancer prevention effects. One possible explanation for the lack of demonstrable cancer-preventive effects is that high doses of α-tocopherol decrease the blood and tissue levels of d-tocopherols. It has been suggested that γ-tocopherol, due to its strong anti-inflammatory and other activities, may be the more effective form of vitamin E in cancer prevention. Our recent results have demonstrated that a γ-tocopherol-rich mixture of tocopherols inhibits colon, prostate, mammary and lung tumorigenesis in animal models, suggesting that this mixture may have a high potential for applications in the prevention of human cancer. In this review, we discuss biochemical properties of tocopherols, results of possible cancer-preventive effects in humans and animal models and possible mechanisms involved in the inhibition of carcinogenesis. Based on this information, we propose that a γ-tocopherol-rich mixture of tocopherols is a very promising cancer-preventive agent and warrants extensive future research. © The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: [email protected] /* */