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SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – During a time of year when diet and exercise are a top priority, more and more people are grabbing a handful of walnuts.
According to a study published in Food and Function, researchers from The University of Scranton in Pennsylvania compared the amount of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols in nine types of roasted and raw nuts and two types of peanut butter, in an attempt to “crack” the antioxidant code.
The results? Walnuts are the valedictorian.
The analysis found the content and quality, or potency, of antioxidants present in walnuts was highest among the nuts. According to lead researcher Professor Joseph Vinson “a handful of walnuts has almost twice the antioxidant content as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut.”
Vinson thinks consumers are confused about antioxidants and do not truly understand what foods are good sources of antioxidants or what they do.
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.
Vinson said walnuts are a convenient nutrition powerhouse that should be included more frequently in the diet.