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Antioxidants, artichokes, and nuts

In 2004 the USDA conducted an in-depth study of the antioxidant content of commonly consumed foods. To my surprise, not far down the list from red beans, wild blueberries, and cranberries, were artichokes and pecans. Who knew? (I love artichokes.)

Follow this link to see the top 20. Even the russet potato made this prestigious list. But in terms of nuts, ONLY the pecan made the antioxidant top-20 cut. From a recent Men's Health chart, we understand that walnuts are next in the nutty line followed by hazelnuts, pistachios and then finally the ever popular almond.

A typical can of Planters Mixed Nuts supplies the pecans along with peanuts, almonds, cashews, brazils, and hazelnuts, BUT no walnuts! The same goes for Costco's Kirkland brand (cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil) and Harry & David's gourmet mix. What's the deal?

Well, today we read in the Parade Section of our local paper (in the "Ask Marilyn" column) that the reason that walnuts are left out of the mix is due to their high fat content, which means that they go "rancid" much faster than other nuts.

This sounds reasonable, but Diamond Nuts which owns the Emerald Brand has a deluxe mixed offering with walnuts as do a number of online nut purveyors. So we did a quick internet sleuth to check out Marilyn's answer. She's right (we never doubted her). Walnuts will go bad quickly. The recommendation is to store them in the fridge or freezer. So beware if you buy a mix containing the super food.

Bottom line, if you're looking to up your antioxidant level and like pecans, they're on top of the nut pyramid and also deliver vitamin A, E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and more.

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