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Healthy Nuts

Antioxidant Levels of Different Nuts

It is well known that consuming nuts have a number of positive health benefits. Researchers have highlighted the health benefits of a number of different nuts, including improved cholesterol levels, improved heart health and anticancer properties. 

Comparing one type of nut against another can be difficult as different types of nuts contain different amounts of oils, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants all of which have different health benefits. One way of comparing the health benefits of different types of nut is by looking at their antioxidant capacity - this is measured in Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). In simple terms the higher the ORAC level the greater the level of antioxidant activity in that nut.


It is now widely recommended that individuals gain around 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units per day from a variety of food sources including: fruits, vegetable, nuts, seeds and legumes. You will see from the table below that a number of different types of nuts provide a great source of antioxidants and accordingly it is fairly easy to achieve an intake 3,000+ ORAC units from nuts alone.The antioxidant capacity was measured per 100g of nuts. Unfortunately, eating 100g of most types nuts would significantly increase your calorific intake by around 600 calories with the majourity coming from fat.

List of the Most Healthy Nuts Based on Their Antioxidant Capacity

Ranking Fruit Variety Antioxidant Capacity
(Total ORAC μmol TE/100 g)
#1 Pecans 17,524
#2 Walnuts (English) 13,541
#3 Hazlenuts 9,645
#4 Pistachio Nuts 7,675
#5 Almonds 4,454
#6 Peanuts** 3,166
#7 Cashew Nuts 1,948
#8 Macadaimia Nuts 1,695
#9 Brazil Nuts 1,419
#10 Pine Nuts 720

 **Peanuts are actually a legume but for simplicity we've listed them in this category