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Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007
By LINDA INOKI
Walnuts are deciduous trees of the temperate zone, and they can be found in America, Europe, central Asia, China and Japan. There are about 20 species in all. The Japanese walnut ( Juglans sieboldii ) has particularly attractive leaves, while the Persian walnut ( J. regia ) provides fine wood and exceptional nuts. The tree's botanical name, Juglans , comes from the Latin for "Jupiter's acorns," meaning that the nuts were food for the gods. When young, the nuts are protected by a thick green rind, which darkens and shrivels as they become ripe. It was once thought that walnuts were good for the head since the shells resembled skulls and the kernels resembled brains. An English doctor, writing in 1657, said, "if the kernel be bruised and moistened with the quintessence of Wine, and laid upon the Crown of the Head, it comforts the brain and head mightily." Well, he was leaning in the right direction! Recent research in America shows that eating walnuts, which are rich in Omega 3-type fatty acids, may protect the brain against Alzheimer's disease.