Study Spotlight

Study Spotlight

Walnuts rank highest in antioxidant content among nuts


A study published in Food and Function shows that the content and quality, or potency, of antioxidants present in walnuts was highest among the nuts.

Free and total (after basic hydrolysis) polyphenols in nine types of raw and roasted nuts and two types of peanut butter (54 commercial samples) were analyzed after methanol extraction using catechin as standard. Walnuts had the highest free and total polyphenols in both the combined raw and roasted samples. Total polyphenols in the nuts were significantly higher than free polyphenols. Roasting had little effect on either free or total polyphenols in nuts. Raw and roasted walnuts had the highest total polyphenols.

Antioxidant compounds neutralize agents in the body called free radicals that do damage to cell membranes, perhaps leading to cancer, heart disease, premature aging, and cell death. Polyphenols are one type of antioxidant that specifically target LDL (bad cholesterol) and are known to help protect the heart and fight atherosclerosis by slowing plaque buildup and improving artery and vein health.

“In addition to providing fiber, high-quality protein, and an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), our research shows that an ounce of walnuts has more antioxidants than the daily sum of what the average person gets from fruits and vegetables,” said lead researcher Joseph Vinson, Department of Chemistry at The University of Scranton.

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