Walnuts are the ultimate brain food
Walnuts and Memory
Walnuts are the same shape as the human brain. So what’s new here? Considered the ultimate superfood, walnuts are now being served up as brain medicine for many reasons, not the least of which is because they are replete with omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fatty acid to keep the brain functioning normally.
According to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, eating walnuts may improve performance on cognitive function tests, including those for memory, concentration and information processing speed. Participants included adults ages 20-59 as well as 60 and over. Cognitive function was consistently greater in adult participants that consumed walnuts, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. There were some limitations, such as the cross sectional methodologies causing bias from underlying differences between the groups. The presented analyses are based on single 24 hour recalls, which reflect only one day of intake. The presence of an effect in studies of older individuals, but not among young college students, might reflect a greater vulnerability in older subjects and therefore a greater potential benefit.
For over two decades, walnuts have been shown to improve cardiovascular risk factors by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol by 9-16%, and diastolic blood pressure by 2-3 mmHg.(4) These two risk factors are major contributors to heart disease risk.
They are the only nuts that are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based essential omega-3 fatty acid that has positive anti-inflammatory effects.(5) Research has found that omega-3 fatty acids may decrease the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) in those with high cholesterol.(5) Walnuts contain 2.5 grams of ALA per ounce.
When walnuts are part of an overall eating pattern such as the Mediterranean diet (a diet rich in fish, vegetables, fruits, olive oil and nuts), your risk of heart disease and stroke may be significantly reduced. A recent study shows that, among persons at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, including walnuts, reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events.(6)
NUTRIENTS IN ONE OUNCE OF WALNUTS
Detary Fiber 2g
Omega-3 Fatty Acids 2.5g
ALPHA-LINOLENIC ACID (OMEGA-3)
Unique among nuts, walnuts contain the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega 3 essential fatty acid that decreases LDL cholesterol more then the omega-3 fats in fish oil
POTENTIALS IN DISEASE/CANCER PREVENTION
Studies show walnuts may protect against breast cancer and prostate cancer and decrease risk of heart, cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s diseases