Walnuts

This Snack Gives You a Mental Edge

In All Health Watch, Cognitive Health, Diet and Nutrition, Featured Article, General Health by INH Research0 Comments

As we age, the memory, quick learning, and mental energy we once took for granted is often replaced by forgetfulness and embarrassing “senior moments.”

But a new study shows that one food may be key to keeping your brain power as the years go by.

Scientists have long known that nuts are good for longevity and brain health. They have high levels of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that improve cognitive performance and prevent age-related decline.1

But which type of nut is best?

Researchers at Loma Linda University in California tried to find the answer.

They gave volunteers different nuts to eat. Then they gave the subjects electroencephalography (EEG) tests. EEGs measure brain waves.2

Brain wave activity can reveal a person’s cognitive strength. The stronger your brain waves in certain areas, the mentally sharper you will be.3

The scientists tested walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, almonds, and peanuts.

After eating one of the kinds of nuts, the subjects were asked to perform mental tasks. They included tests of memory, visualization, learning, and information processing. While the participants were doing the tests, scientists monitored their brain-wave activity.

Walnuts Are Strong Medicine for Your Brain

The researchers found that all the nuts (including peanuts, which are technically not a nut but a legume) improved brain performance and brain-wave strength.

But walnuts stood out. They boosted overall brain power the most.4

Dr. Lee Berk is an associate dean for research at Loma Linda University. He is the study’s principal author. Dr. Berk said that all the nuts tested contain high levels of brain-healthy antioxidants. But walnuts contain the highest antioxidant concentrations of all of them. This explains why they showed the most potent effects, he said.

In previous studies, nuts have been shown to improve heart health, lower blood pressure, boost immunity, lower blood sugar, aid weight loss, and fight inflammation.5

The new study shows “that nuts are as good for your brain as they are for the rest of your body,” Dr. Berk said.6

Dr. Michael Samardzija is associate vice president for research affairs at Loma Linda University. He oversees research at the university.

“These results coming from Dr. Berk’s research show that nuts can now be considered one of the superfoods helping to support brain health,” Dr. Samardzija said.

The study was published in the FASEB Journal.

When You Go Nuts, Go Organic

You might think that you’d be OK eating conventionally farmed nuts since it is the hard outer shell that is sprayed with chemical pesticides. But the residues do penetrate the shells.

Even worse, many pesticides are fat soluble. This means the chemicals sprayed on nuts will be absorbed and stored in the fatty part of the nut that you eat.

Walnuts, in particular, have a lot of pest issues. So non-organic walnuts tend to contain more agrichemicals than other kinds of nuts. This makes it important to buy organic.

We recommend eating 2 ounces of organic shelled walnuts every day. They make a terrific between-meal snack that staves off hunger while keeping your brain young.
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References:
1 https://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-healthy-foods-nutrition/nuts-brain-health
2 https://www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.31.1_supplement.636.24
3 https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/llua-sfc111417.php
4 http://mobile.dudasite.com/site/preventdisease/default?url=http%3A%2F%2Fpreventdisease.com%2Fnews%2F17%2F102217_Eating-This-Food-Strengthens-Beneficial-Brainwave-Frequencies.shtml#2785
5 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-benefits-of-nuts#section7
6 https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/llua-sfc111417.php
7 http://mobile.dudasite.com/site/preventdisease/default?url=http%3A%2F%2Fpreventdisease.com%2Fnews%2F17%2F102217_Eating-This-Food-Strengthens-Beneficial-Brainwave-Frequencies.shtml#2785

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