USDA Says Pecans Top Antioxidant Nut
According to the USDA, pecans possess more antioxidant activity than any other tree nut. Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances, such as the polyphenolics found in pecans. They keep in check the potentially harmful effects of free radicals, reactive oxygen species which the body produces from normal metabolism and that are also encountered in the environment.
While there are several ways to analyze for the antioxidant content and activity of individual foods, the USDA has chosen a method known as ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). In the ORAC assay, a free radical is generated and then how fast and to what degree individual foods are able to render it harmless, based upon the food’s antioxidant capacity, are measured; the results are reported relative to a standard antioxidant. Findings from the ORAC assay show that pecans are an extremely rich source of natural antioxidants.
To get a daily dose of these natural antioxidants, try 10 raw pecan halves (a handful) as a snack.
by Dr. Ronald Pegg, BA Sc., Ph.D.
Department of Food & Science Technology at the University of Georgia