Raw Walnuts Have 15x More Antioxidant Potency than Vitamin E

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on , Last Updated on

Walnuts are perhaps best-known for being the quintessential healthy brain-food. But who knew that walnuts were also winning top prizes for their heart-healthy, free-radical fighting, antioxidant properties as well?

Antioxidants in Walnuts

Recent scientific evidence shows how the walnut may possibly be the number one food on the planet for heart healthy antioxidant support. And it’s not just that the walnut alone that was studied for its antioxidant quantity.

The study included many varieties of tree and ground nuts, with walnuts ranking top dog over other healthy nuts, like almonds, pecans, peanuts and pistachios. In fact, just a handful of walnuts holds two times more heart-healthy antioxidants than all other commonly-purchased nuts.

In a recent March 2011 report, given at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in California, scientists offered an in-depth analysis demonstrating how walnuts have a unique mix of more free-radical neutralizing antioxidants, as well as higher quality antioxidants than any other nut on the planet. The study analyzed both the amount and quality of antioxidants found in walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias and pecans.

The study was direct and conclusive: Walnuts hold the largest amounts, and the highest potency’s, of antioxidants, as compared to other nuts. The study also found that the nut has up to 15 times more antioxidant potency than vitamin E, an oil known for its strong antioxidant effects. This suggests that walnuts may play a role in preventing us from getting cancer, as well as other free-radical-based diseases.

What the walnut has that other foods may not:

  1. A unique combination of nutritional benefits and antioxidants
  2. A complete high-quality protein that packs almost as much protein-punch as meat
  3. Tons of vitamins and minerals
  4. A natural form of dietary fiber in a raw and easy to eat form

Because of these great health benefits, the scientists conducting the study encourage us to include more walnuts in our diet. The best way to eat them is in-the-raw and organic, as we can reap most of the antioxidant benefits this way. In fact, years of research by other scientists suggest that the regular consumption of small amounts of nuts, such as walnuts, can lower our chances of developing heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, gallstones, as well as other health issues.

Joe Vinson, Ph.D., who did the analysis, explains:

“A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. But unfortunately, people don’t eat a lot of them. This study suggests that consumers should eat more walnuts as part of a healthy diet… There’s another advantage in choosing walnuts as a source of antioxidants. 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.”

It’s important to eat nuts for antioxidant support, and the aforementioned study says that you only need 7 walnuts a day for great levels of antioxidants! And yet, despite these high numbers of antioxidants, most people are not eating nuts!

In fact, research from Vinson shows that nuts only make up approximately 8% of the daily antioxidants found in the average person’s diet. This may be due to a lack of awareness around their health benefits, but may also come from the myth that nuts are “high in fat,” and should be avoided. This is sad news, as the fats in nuts are some of the best fats on the planet, and are high in healthy forms of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (the kinds that do not clog your arteries).

How often do you eat Walnuts? Will this study encourage you to eat more? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below!

References (1)
  1. American Chemical Society. Walnuts are top nut for heart-healthy antioxidants. ScienceDaily. 2011 March 28.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • rachel

    This is great news, I love walnuts.

  • Brian P.

    Coincidentally, Walnuts are also 15x more delicious than Vitamin E.

    Great post.. I need to eat more walnuts.

  • Buzz Bishop

    That’s awesome news! I just had a bowl of walnuts this morning. They’re my favorite nut, so it’s good to see evidence that they are healthy for me! 🙂

  • Navamanas

    I’m a proponent of eating raw foods according to your blood-type/lectinology, etc. The information provided in this article is misleading. The walnut has decent nutritional value ( http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3138/2 ), but it doesn’t quite stack up to raw beef ( http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/6193/2 ), which has been the main part of my diet for nearly 14 years.

  • ghc_health

    Thank you for your post! I personally eat vegetarian and I of the meat eaters I know none eat raw meat. This may be the case for yourself but I find that there are very few that eat meat in this fashion. Be it that I am a vegetarian and I have found this diet to be beneficial to most anyone, I feel that walnuts are a good source for vitamin E.

    I hope that this helps to clarify my point of view, if eating raw meat works for you then maybe its best that you stick with that.

    Thank you again for your post, take care and be well!

  • Walnuts are great. If only there was some way to prevent the oil from going rancid so quickly and to make them keep longer.

    Maybe some healthful way of preserving walnuts can be worked out. One that doesn’t involve chemical preservatives?

  • Sarah

    I love walnuts and eat a 1/4 cup every night mixed with a 1/4 cup of dried cranberries. Some times I also add 1/2 Tbsp of 60% or higher dark mini chocolate chips, it makes for a great and some what healthy substitute if you have a sweet tooth!

  • Buy raw walnuts, put them right into the freezer *(best a chest freezer and not an upright so temps are constant). Same goes with most any of the foods where we want quality fats espeically omega 3s, they are typically prone to spoilage and degradation of the oils so freezing them when raw is ideal.

  • Eating beef drastically INCREASES your risk of cancers across the board. Not a good alternative.

  • Machine Fuel

    Really? Do you have any evidence of that – i.e., studies not funded by a pharma co, or a major food producer? Don’t call a study funded by the FDA or AMA as legitimate, either.

 Specific nutrients when used as part of a comprehensive diet do not signal mitosis in defective cells in a healthy person. Health, of course, is more than the foods you eat. It’s also hydration (top of the list – most people are dehydrated consistently, and this impairs all body functions), exercise on a regular and consistent basis, relaxation/meditation/prayer – take your pick, and sleep, sleep, sleep…


About 2500 years ago Hippocrates stated that “Foods do, or do not nourish according to the differences between individuals…” Here’s another one of Hippocrates’ quotes that often misquoted: “Let your food be your medicine.” It wasn’t advice. He stated it very plainly: ““Your lifestyle/way of life [Gr: diatrofí̱] is your medicine [Gr: farmakeĂ­o],” [Corpus Hippocraticum]. In other words, you reap what you sow. A couple of centuries down the road, Titus Lucretius wrote that “What is food to one, is bitter poison to another.” [De Rerum Natura]. 

It has long been known that food can be a medicine or a poison, but as the profession of medicine has become more complex, the majority of doctors focus on their specialties – and many do so well – losing sight of the full body (they can’t see the forest for the trees, or they lose sight of the picture in the details – you know the idioms).

    The point is, we can see the “evidence” that many foods that have been blamed for increasing cancers rates. Most people look at the macro level, because they fail to understand biology, especially biochemistry. Think of every plate in font of you as a bundle of chemicals that are about to enter your bloodstream to interact with another set of chemicals – like a 10 grade lab class. Sometimes the reactions are negligible, and sometimes they are oxidative and reactive. We ought to be able to tell when a food disagrees with our bodies = and just because it agrees or disagrees with mine doesn’t mean that it will with yours.

  • Why do you think walnuts are a good source for vitamin E when an ounce of them only has 1% of the RDA?

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  • Havolas

    I eat 3 ounces of walnuts nearly every day. It’s actually a staple food for me now. I basically eat spinach, collard greens, wild caught fish, walnuts, and I drink organic concord grape juice and spring water. Superfoods for the win!

  • Havolas

    That’s the ALPHA tocopherol that is listed. Walnuts are high in GAMMA tocopherol, and that is never listed.

  • Click on the “More details” tab for vitamins on the page I listed the link for above, and it shows 5.8 mg for Gamma Tocopherol for 1 oz. And the 1% RDA is supposed to represent the total for all forms of vitamin E on that page…Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta. (At least I think that’s the way it’s supposed to work.)

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  • Rachel

    Alkaline or acidic.

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