When compared to the nutritional and antioxidant content of pistachios, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts and pecans, walnuts came out on top as the most nutrient-dense of them all, according to researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
Walnuts are high in protein, fiber, vitamin E and other essential vitamins and minerals. Despite this, Americans consume very little of the nut.
"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," said study author Joe Vinson, Ph.D.
In addition to dominating other nuts in the nutrient department, walnuts are also commonly eaten raw. This is an advantage since roasting nuts — and other foods — has the ability to destroy vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Study authors noted that while walnuts are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats and high in calories, they are not likely to cause weight gain since they have a tendency to quickly satiate hunger, which prevents overeating.