It's no secret that nuts offer all-round good nutrition, with some experts describing them as Mother Nature's almost perfectly packaged food. But when it comes to which nuts are the healthiest, walnuts rank the highest, say US researchers.
It's true that peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, Brazils, hazelnuts, macadamias and cashews contain loads of high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. But walnuts are even better for you as they contain all the vitamins, minerals and fibre plus almost twice as many antioxidants - health-boosting anti-ageing compounds - as any other nut.
According to the report, which has just been presented to the American Chemical Society, the antioxidants in walnuts are stronger than those in other nuts, and two to 15 times more potent as vitamin E (a well-known, powerful antioxidant).
Another good reason to eat walnuts as opposed to other types of nuts is that they are generally eaten raw, rather than roasted. That's because roasting nuts generally reduces the level and quality of the antioxidants, the researchers explain.
As the scientists point out, research already suggests that eating nuts on a regular basis may reduce your risk of heart disease, certain cancers and type-2 diabetes. And the best part is, according to an earlier study, while nuts may be high in fat and therefore calories, eating them doesn't mean you'll gain weight (in fact they may help you lose weight because they make you feel full, so you're less likely to overeat).
So exactly how many walnuts do you need to make the most of their anti-ageing and disease-combating effects? Just seven a day, the researchers suggest.