Walnuts—A Western and Eastern Superfood

The talk in the health news circuit is all about superfoods—fruits, vegetables, seeds and even grains with high levels of nutrients, amino acids and antioxidant properties. You’ve surely been bombarded with marketing claims on the benefits of everything from avocado to acai juice. And the claims carry some weight. These foods—as Nature intended—are true superfoods, providing your body with the nutrition it needs to function at its highest level.

Walnuts are one of these foods, and they’re versatile, too. Walnuts can prepared in sweet and savory dishes. They can be eaten as a snack, ground into a creamy spread, used as a breading on chicken or fish or mixed with graham crackers to make a crust for your favorite pie.

Western Perspective

Rich in omega-3 fats, linoleic acid, vitamins and antioxidants, walnuts help lower cholesterol, improve memory, reduce inflammation and help metabolism function smoothly. Walnuts may also improve brain health and ward off cancer and heart disease. From a Western perspective, walnuts are a superfood in the truest sense of the word.

Eastern Perspective

But TCM views foods from an entirely different perspective. Foods are not looked at in terms of their nutritional content. Instead, they are powerful tools used to create and maintain wellness. The healing of essence of the food becomes paramount. Certain foods nourish and help rebalance the body, while providing energetic support to the whole being.

Walnuts are as revered in the Eastern world as they are in Western society. In our popular program, Dragon’s Way Qigong®, participants are encouraged to eat roasted walnuts with warm fruit or barley for breakfast and a handful of the crunchy nuts for snacks. Why? Walnuts are a warming food. Their healing essence supports Kidney Qi.

Five Element Framework Consciousness

TCM ascribes a season to each organ system. Winter, a time of rest and renewal, is the season of the Kidney. The Kidney stores all of our inborn or “pre-natal Qi” and distributes it to organ systems needing a bit of a boost as they get depleted. It therefore becomes essential that our behaviors and diet in the Wintertime are supportive of the Kidney.

So how do we go about living a lifestyle that supports this essential organ system? First and foremost, slow down and conserve your energy, especially in Winter. In terms of food, add more shellfish and bone soups into your diet. Black beans and nuts—namely our superfood, the walnut—also relate well to the Kidney

Go Beyond!

Walnuts can be used in just about every recipe. So roast some walnuts and judge its benefits for yourself. Your Kidney will thank you.

Check out our recipe section for many walnut recipes—whether sweet or savory!