A new study has suggested that walnuts have a combination of more healthful antioxidants and higher quality antioxidants than any other nut.
It positioned walnuts in the No. 1 slot among a family of foods that lay claim to being among Mother Nature`s most nearly perfect packaged foods: Tree and ground nuts.
"Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts," said Joe Vinson, who did the analysis.
"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," he added.
Vinson found that the quality, or potency, of antioxidants present in walnuts was highest among the nuts.
Antioxidants in walnuts were 2-15 times as potent as vitamin E, renowned for its powerful antioxidant effects that protect the body against damaging natural chemicals involved in causing disease.
"There`s another advantage in choosing walnuts as a source of antioxidants," said Vinson, who is with the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
"The heat from roasting nuts generally reduces the quality of the antioxidants. People usually eat walnuts raw or unroasted, and get the full effectiveness of those antioxidants," he added.
The report was presented at the 241st National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.