Eating Walnuts Improves your Memory and Cognition

Eating Walnuts improves memory

Finally a news item where walnuts doesn’t represent a prostate

Regularly eating walnuts improves many cognitive functions including memory, processing speed and concentration.

Nuts are often described as a snack with many health benefits, containing many attractive ingredients like antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibers. In addition nuts are rich in alpha-linoelic acid (ALA), an essential fatty acid. Not everything about them are positive, nuts do contain plenty of calories and adding large quantities of nuts to your diet might cause unintended weight gain. It’s also important to stay away from contaminated nuts, a type of fungus growing on nuts contain a dangerous liver toxin, aflatoxin, that you want to avoid. So how healthy are walnuts specifically? New research from David Geffen School of Medicine at The University of California, Los Angeles find that regularly eating walnuts improves many cognitive functions, giving your brain a boost.

Eating Walnuts Improves Both Memory and Cognition

The findings were published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging.

This study was a cross-sectional study, using data collected from National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES) surveys, collectin data from surveys on people of all ages. In this study researchers used data from people above 20 years old.

Researchers investigated if daily walnut consumption could improve brain function in elderly people. They found that people who regularly ate a handful of walnuts actually performed better on a series of cognitive tests. Tests designed to test how fast the brain processes information and translates information gained into action.

“It is exciting to see the strength of the evidence from this analysis across the U.S. population supporting the previous results of animal studies that have shown the neuroprotective benefit from eating walnuts; and it’s a realistic amount – less than a handful per day (13 grams).” – study leader Dr. Lenore Arab.

In the study researchers found that people averaging 10.3g/day of walnuts improved in a variety of cognitive tests. On average they improved reaction time by 16.4 ms, improved the the speed they matched symbols with digits on a computer screen and how fast they could memorize single digits. In people over the age of 60 eating on average 13.1g/d of walnuts researchers also noted a much better story recall overall compared to people not eating walnuts as a daily snack.

These small improvements in cognitive tests hint at a possible health advantage of eating walnuts regularly. Though eating walnuts improves cognition, an overlooked reason to eat them is deliciousness! Eat them for the taste and take any health improvement as a bonus. Remember it’s never nuts to eat nuts!

Image credit: Roger via flickr.com, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0