Tree and ground nuts are generally said to be among nature's most perfect ready-made foods. As well as having all the nutritious elements necessary for a healthy diet, they also contain high levels of protective antioxidants which counter the effects of harmful molecules.
One of the researchers said:
"A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. But unfortunately, people don't eat a lot of them. This study suggests that consumers should eat more walnuts as part of a healthy diet."
The scientists noted that nuts in general have an unusual combination of nutritional benefits - in addition to antioxidants - wrapped into a convenient and inexpensive package. nuts, for instance, contain plenty of high-quality protein that can substitute for meat, vitamins and minerals; dietary fiber, and are dairy- and gluten-free.
Years of research by scientists around the world link regular consumption of small amounts of nuts with decreased risk of heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, gallstones, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.
Despite all the previous research, scientists until now had not compared both the amount and quality of antioxidants found in different nuts. In a first, this study analyzed antioxidants in nine different types of nuts: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, and pecans.
Nuts contain healthful polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats and studies have linked nut consumption with a significantly lower risk of weight gain and obesity. The author noted that it takes only about 7 walnuts a day to get the potential health benefits uncovered in previous studies.