Walnuts top health nut
WALNUTS have been found to be top of the tree when it comes to heart-healthy nutty superfoods.
The Christmas favourites are packed with more potent and abundant antioxidants than any other popular nut, as well as healthy fibre, 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.
Research suggests regular consumption of nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and type-2 diabetes.
But until now it has not been clear which nut is No. 1 in terms of health-giving properties.
To answer this question, scientists analysed the antioxidant content of walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias and pecans.
Study leader Dr Joe Vinson, from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, US, 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 t hat consumers s hould eat more walnuts as part of a healthy diet.’’ Vinson’s team found that walnuts not only had more antioxidants than other nuts, but more powerful antioxidants. Those in walnuts were between two and 15 times more potent than vitamin E, renowned for its antioxidant properties.