Can eating nuts daily boost your antioxidants? What the experts say

A daily handful of nuts may be a simple yet potent addition in the quest for optimal health. Experts weigh in on the potential antioxidant benefits associated with regular nut consumption [1].

Antioxidants are crucial in combating oxidative stress, a process linked to various chronic diseases and aging [2].

Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios, are hailed for their rich antioxidant content, contributing to their reputation as nutritional powerhouses.

For example, “One study conducted by Cornell University and published in the journal Nutrients found that pistachios have a high antioxidant capacity,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN.

“In fact, the antioxidant capacity of pistachios rivals that of popular antioxidant-containing foods, including blueberries, pomegranates, cherries and red wine.

The diverse antioxidants in nuts include vitamin E, polyphenols and selenium. These compounds have been linked to various health benefits, from cardiovascular support to immune system enhancement.

Vitamin E, abundant in almonds and hazelnuts, is a potent antioxidant known for neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells [3].

By incorporating nuts into one’s daily diet, individuals may increase their vitamin E intake, strengthening their defense against oxidative stress.

According to Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, eating nuts as a regular part of your diet can improve brain health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

“Nuts are beneficial for brain health because they are rich in essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E, which can help protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation,” says Best.

Polyphenols in walnuts and pecans are plant compounds renowned for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Research suggests that regular consumption of polyphenol-rich foods, like nuts, may positively impact heart health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases [4].

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Selenium, prevalent in Brazil nuts, is a trace element essential for various bodily functions [5].

With its antioxidant properties, selenium protects cells from oxidative damage, potentially reducing the risk of certain diseases.

While nuts offer a host of nutritional benefits, moderation is key. 

Despite their positive attributes, nuts are energy-dense and excessive consumption may lead to an overabundance of calories.

Therefore, experts recommend mindful portion control to reap the health rewards without unintended consequences.

In addition, the type of nuts consumed matters. Each variety boasts a unique nutrient profile and incorporating a mix of nuts into one’s diet ensures a broader range of health-promoting compounds.

The synergy of these diverse nutrients may contribute to a more comprehensive approach to overall wellbeing.

Including nuts in one’s diet is a flavorful strategy to boost antioxidant intake. The collective power of vitamin E, polyphenols, selenium and other beneficial compounds found in nuts may fortify the body’s defenses against oxidative stress, paving the way for improved health and wellbeing.

As with any dietary adjustment, consulting with healthcare professionals is advised to tailor recommendations to individual needs and ensure a balanced and sustainable approach to nutrition.

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[1] https://www.eatthis.com/benefits-of-nuts/
[2] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2020.00694
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997530/
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3513903/
[5] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/

The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.