Recently, researchers have found walnuts to contain the highest concentrations of antioxidants when compared to peanuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, and pecans. Typically, one hand full of walnuts has twice the antioxidants as the other nuts.

Walnuts are also a significant source of protein and beneficial oils. Findings suggest a link and the regular consumption of tree nuts with a decrease in the risk of heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, gallstones, Type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.

“There’s another advantage in choosing walnuts as a source of antioxidants,” said Joe Vinson, Ph.D., who is with the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. “The heat from roasting nuts generally reduces the quality of the antioxidants. People usually eat walnuts raw or unroasted, and get the full effectiveness of those antioxidants.”

Some avoid eating nuts thinking that the high fat and calorie content will cause weight gain. However, a study in the US in 2009 showed that eating nuts did not result in weight gain, but rather weight loss by helping people feel more full and avoiding overeating.

One more recent finding shows that eating nuts may affect our lifespan.  People who eat at least 5 walnuts a week live an average of 7 years longer.