They contain healthy amounts of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals and other trace elements necessary for a healthy diet.
Eating nuts regularly helps reduce the risk of a number of serious illnesses including heart disease, certain cancers, and type-2 diabetes.
Scientists recently analysed the antioxidant content of nine different types of nut: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias and pecans.
He said that around seven walnuts a day was the right amount to obtain maximum health benefits.
Dr Vinson’s team found that walnuts not only had more antioxidants than other nuts, but more powerful antioxidants.
Those in walnuts were between two and 15 times more potent than vitamin E, renowned for its antioxidant properties. And unlike other nuts which are generally roasted and loose nutrients as a result, walnuts are generally eaten in their raw state.
Nuts account for just eight per cent of the daily antioxidant consumption in an average person’s diet.
Dr Vinson said many people were put off nuts because they were thought to be fattening. But he pointed out that nuts generally contain healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats rather than artery-clogging saturated fat.