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The antioxidant properties of tree nuts

Studies have existed for some time which highlights the beneficial effect of tree nut consumption on health, especially as regards cardiovascular illnesses.

A recent study, published in the Journal of Nutrition and led by Dr. Rune Blomhoff, speaks of a new mechanism by which tree nuts may have a protective effect against certain pathologies. This study stresses the antioxidant content of several types of tree nut, including walnuts which, out of over 160 vegetable foodstuffs assessed, came second after rosehips - a type of fruit - in terms of antioxidant content. Walnuts contain a wide variety of compounds with antioxidant properties including certain vitamins, some minerals and other phytochemical compounds such as polyphenols; they are therefore an ideal source of antioxidants for the human body. Tree nuts' antioxidant properties help to prevent oxidation in the organism and to control oxidative stress, making them useful in preventing some disorders where oxidation plays a role, including some types of cancer, cardiovascular illnesses, cognitive deterioration linked to age and ageing in general. This study conducted by Dr. Blomhoff's team highlights the importance of knowing the total antioxidant content of foodstuffs, as it is becoming increasingly apparent that they may be related to a better state of health in our organism. For this reason, unlike other studies which simply analysed the concentration of some isolated antioxidant component such as vitamin C or vitamin E, this study analysed the total concentration of antioxidants; an interesting concept, as it seems that certain compounds could act together in synergy, that is to say, stimulating each other's action. The tree nuts which are richest in antioxidants are walnuts, followed by pecans, which are also very rich in this respect. Hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pine kernels, pistachios and cashews also contain significant concentrations. Therefore, in view of the growing prevalence of certain pathologies linked to oxidative stress, following a diet rich in foods of vegetable origin, high in antioxidant compounds, is increasingly recommended by specialists in diet and nutrition. Tree nuts could help to enrich our diet in terms of this type of compound.Nucis (Health and Tree Nuts) Foundation is a non profit organisation born in 1999, headquartered in Spain, which main objectives are the study, investigation and the diffusion of the nutritional and dietetic characteristics of tree nuts, especially of the healthy beneficial effects. Nucis promotes the healthy qualities of almonds, Brazil walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine kernels, pistachios and walnuts. More information in http://www.nucis.org

Keywords

Nutrition