While walnuts are best-known for being essential brain-food, recent studies confirm they are top prize winners for heart-healthy, free-radical fighting, antioxidant properties.
According to professor of chemistry at Scranton University, Joe Vinson one gram of walnuts contains around 70 units of polyphenols, which is a form of antioxidant. This number is bigger than in any of the other nuts Vinson has tested along. The polyphenols were also up to 15 times more potent than those found in other sources like vitamin E.
So if you take one ounce of walnuts, you will consume more antioxidants than the sum of what we usually get from eating fruit and vegetables.
Of course it doesn’t mean that you should toss away spinach and apples, both of which contain a high level of antioxidants as well, for a handful of walnuts, but adding them to your diet could bring a lot of benefits to your health.
Many people try to avoid eating nuts due to the fact that they are also high in calories and fat. However, experts reported that the unsaturated fats found in them are not as dangerous for the heart as the fats we consume while eating meat or dairy products. Keep in mind that nuts are very low in carbohydrates as well, which makes them essential in balancing diet for weight loss.
Walnut oil is famous for its high omage-3 content, but also whole walnuts are packed with these health-protecting fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to exert strong anti-inflammatory effects, and a high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent or treat inflammatory conditions such as asthma, psoriasis, eczema, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory acne. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to reduce inflammation by acting on a receptor found in fat cells and on pro-inflammatory immune cells called macrophages.
If you’re not a fan of walnuts, you can get polyphenols from other nuts. Based on antioxidant content, according to Vinson, here’s how they stack up, from highest to lowest:
- Brazil nuts
- macadamia nuts
Even though there were no findings yet done by other researchers, experts do suggest to add couple of walnuts to your diet, as they are a great source of healthy antioxidants.