Nutrition: Walnuts rated top heart-healthy nut

Most of us already know that tree nuts provide lots of protein, vitamins and healthy fats for our diet. Now,


Most of us already know that tree nuts provide lots of protein, vitamins and healthy fats for our diet. Now, a new study from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania shows walnuts have higher quality antioxidants and a mix of more healthful antioxidants than any other nut.

The study, presented at this week’s meeting of the American Chemical Society, found that a handful of walnuts has almost twice as many antioxidants as the same amount of other common nuts. Not surprisingly, based on these findings, researcher Joe Vinson suggested that people should consume more walnuts as part of a healthy diet. (This study was reported on EurekAlert!)

Earlier research has also shown that a diet rich in walnuts and walnut oil may help the body deal better with stress. That research’published last year in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition‘found that walnuts and walnut oil lowered both resting blood pressure and blood pressure responses to stress in the laboratory. The researchers said the study shows that a dietary change (eating more walnuts, of course!) could help our bodies better respond to stress.

For more on the benefits of nuts, including lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer, see 5 reasons to eat more nuts. And to add more of them to your meals, here are 10 tasty ways to cook with nuts, plus a great recipe for Fennel, Apple, Radicchio and Walnut Salad, and a Curried Pumpkin and Walnut Soup (I’d use more readily available sweet potato or squash instead of the pumpkin). It takes about 14 walnut halves a day to get the potential health benefits.

One thing I need to rethink about my own walnut consumption: Usually, I toast walnuts to enhance their flavour, but it turns out the heat from roasting any nut tends to reduce the quality of antioxidants. By eating walnuts raw, I’ll get the full hit of antioxidants.

What are your favourite ways to add nuts in general’and walnuts in particular’to your day?