A new scientific study positions walnuts in the No. 1 slot in a family of foods that lays claim to being among Mother Nature's most nearly perfect packaged foods: Tree and ground nuts. In a report presented on March 27, 2011, at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, scientists presented an analysis showing that walnuts have a combination of more healthful antioxidants and higher-quality antioxidants than any other nut. "Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts," said Dr. Joe Vinson, who did the analysis. "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 that consumers should eat more walnuts as part of a healthy diet." Vinson noted that nuts in general have an unusual combination of nutritional benefits — in addition to those antioxidants — wrapped into a convenient and inexpensive package. Nuts, for instance, contain plenty of high-quality protein that can substitute for meat; vitamins and minerals; dietary fiber; and are dairy- and gluten-free. Years of research by scientists around the world link regular consumption of small amounts of nuts or peanut butter with decreased risk of heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, gallstones, Type 2 diabetes, and other health problems. Despite all the previous research, scientists until now had not compared both the amount and quality of antioxidants found in different nuts, Dr. Vinson said. He filled that knowledge gap by analyzing antioxidants in nine different types of nuts: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, and pecans. Walnuts had the highest levels of antioxidants. Dr.
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