Walnuts are top of the tree when it comes to heart-healthy superfoods, research has shown.
The Christmas favourite is packed with more potent and abundant antioxidants than any other popular nut, as well as healthy fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Tree and ground nuts are generally said to be among nature's most perfect ready-made foods.
As well as having all the nutritious elements necessary for a healthy diet, they also contain high levels of protective antioxidants which counter the effects of harmful molecules. Research suggests regular consumption of nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and type-2 diabetes. But until now it was not known which had the most health-giving properties.
To answer this question, scientists analysed the antioxidant content of nine different types of nut: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias and pecans. Study leader Dr Joe Vinson, from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, US, said: 'Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts.'