Walnuts are the No. 1 nut for heart health, says a researcher who presented his findings Sunday at the American Chemical Society annual meeting.
That's because walnuts were found to have more antioxidants -- and better-quality antioxidants -- than other popular nuts tested, says Joe Vinson, PhD, a researcher at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
Antioxidants protect cells against damage caused by harmful molecules known as free radicals. The damage can play a role in heart disease and other health conditions.
When Vinson analyzed the amount of antioxidants found in walnuts and a variety of other nuts, walnuts came out on top.
"Twenty-eight grams of walnuts (an ounce) have more antioxidants than the sum of what the average person gets from fruits and vegetables," he says. "That is not to say they are a replacement for fruits and vegetables, but they are very antioxidant dense.", WebMD informs.
Still, nuts only account for about eight percent of daily antioxidant intake for most people. Many people are not aware of the nutritious power of nuts, Vinson said, and may be concerned about the high fat and calorie content many associate with nuts. But, he said, the fat in nuts is healthy polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats.
Also, the addition of nuts to the diet can actually curb the appetite, he indicated, making people less likely to overeat. A 2009 U.S. study actually associated nut consumption with a significantly lower risk of weight gain and obesity, in fact, the study indicated.
Consumers should, however, keep nut consumption on the small side. According to Vinson, it only takes seven walnuts per day to get the impressive health benefits indicated by this recent University of Scranton study, HULIQ reports.