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Walnuts Top the List for Antioxidant Content

Findings presented the week of March 27, 2011 at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society found that walnuts have the highest level of antioxidants of all nuts.

Despite the abundance of research on the nutritional benefits of nuts, this is the first comparison done regarding the amount and quality of antioxidants found in different nuts.

Researchers with the University of Scranton analyzed antioxidants in walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, and pecans.

They found that walnuts had the most potent antioxidants among all of the nuts analyzed. In addition, the antioxidants in walnuts were found to be 2-15 times more potent than vitamin E, which is renowned for its powerful antioxidant effects.

Beyond their antioxidant capacity, walnuts are also a good choice because people often eat them raw rather than roasted. The heat generated when roasting nuts tends to reduce the quality of their antioxidants.

Despite the increasing amount of attention nuts have been receiving because of their health benefits, the study found that they only account for approximately 8% of people’s daily intake of antioxidants. This is likely due to the fact that people don't realize their benefits and are wary of the fat and calories in nuts. However, nuts actually contain healthy polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats rather than artery-clogging saturated fats.

Previous research has found that the benefits of walnuts include reducing the risk of diabetes and improving heart health. These benefits are a result of their antioxidant and ant-inflammatory properties. Walnuts are also a great source of protein and are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E.

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