A new scientific study has found that walnuts have the highest level of antioxidants compared to eight other tree and ground nuts.
This top heart-healthy super-nut was shown to contain the most healthful antioxidants and higher quality antioxidants than any other nut, as well as healthy fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
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:
"Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts,"
"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.
Walnuts had the highest levels of antioxidants. It was also discovered that the quality, or potency, of antioxidants present in walnuts was the highest among the nuts.
Antioxidants in walnuts were 2-15 times as potent as Vitamin E, known for its powerful antioxidant effects that protect the body against damaging natural chemicals involved in causing disease.
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.
American Chemical Society (2011, March 28). Walnuts are top nut for heart-healthy antioxidants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2011.