Walnuts Contain Most Healthy Antioxidants

By Tamara Croes - 28 Mar 2011 9:8:0 GMT
Walnuts Contain Most Healthy Antioxidants

It is a well-known fact that nuts contain lots of healthy anti-oxidants. But a study presented yesterday (27th of March) at the 241st meeting of the American Chemical Society shows that out of 9 different nuts, walnuts contained both most anti-oxidants and the healthiest anti-oxidants.

J. Vinson, Ph.D. of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, who carried out the study, says that they compared walnuts with pistachios, almonds, macadamias, cashews, pecans, peanuts, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts, and walnuts contain twice as much antioxidants as any of the other nuts. When compared to vitamin E, a well-known antioxidant, the antioxidants in walnuts were 2 to 15 times more effective. Another advantage to walnuts is that they are usually eaten raw, whereas most other nuts are eaten roasted. The heat from the roasting affects the effectiveness of the anti-oxidants.

Vinson's research also shows that only 8% of the anti-oxidants people consume in their diet is from nuts. So why are nuts not more popular? Vinson believes it may have to do with their high fat and calorie content, which makes people believe they are unhealthy and will make them gain weight.

But one does not need to eat many nuts to gain the benefits; the study shows that eating only 7 walnuts a day is enough to gain all the benefits of the antioxidants. Besides, the fat in walnuts consists mostly of polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats(omega-3), which are beneficial. Nuts also contain lots of dietary fibre, phytonutrients, vitamins (among which vitamin E) and minerals such as selenium.

The study confirms earlier findings. Already in 1996 a study carried out by the Women's Health Institute in Iowa found 40% lower risk of heart disease among women eating nuts at least twice a week. Similar results were published in 2002 for men (Physician's Health Study). Dr. David Jenkins published a study in 2002 in the journal Circulation that eating a handful of nuts a day reduced high cholesterol levels.

A number of studies since the 1990s have found that eating nuts reduces the risk of stroke, of developing dementia, gallstones and type 2 diabetes. It is even thought that eating nuts helps reduce the chance of obesity, when nuts are eaten instead of other unhealthier snacks. The bottom line: we should be nuts about nuts.