If you’re looking for ways to boost your brain health, then one of the best choices you can make is to eat more plant-based whole foods that contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and numerous phytochemicals that will nourish your brain cells.
Oddly enough, walnut meat, which to some resembles lobes of the brain, might actually be brain food! Scientists are now linking the consumption of walnuts with learning skills, memory, treatment of anxiety disorders, and most promising of all — reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. (1)
There are also some solid studies out there showing walnuts are protective against certain cancers and most are done on mice and cells. But, this study is particularly interesting as it tests the blood serum of nut eaters when dripped onto breast cancer cells. The blood of the walnut eaters suppressed the growth of human breast cancer cells so some components of the walnuts are absorbed into the blood stream and affect either directly or indirectly breast cancer cell proliferation. Pretty amazing, right?
Higher cognitive response
Several studies have been done on the association between what one eats and their cognitive levels. In fact, people who consume an abundance of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis perform higher than average on cognitive tests. (2) In contrast, those who consume a lot of sugar or processed foods are 1.5 times more likely to develop mental impairments than those who do not. (3)
Walnuts are a good source of plant-based omega-3 fats, which have been linked to a boost in brain function and healing. Research shows that because walnuts contain numerous neuroprotective compounds, regular consumption increased inferential reasoning in young adults. (4)
Decrease oxidative stress due to aging
When choosing foods, rather than counting calories or being overly concerned with the fat content, consider the health benefits that it provides to support overall health, especially as you get older.
Another study revealed that walnuts “can decrease the enhanced vulnerability to oxidative stress that occurs in aging and these reductions are expressed as improvements in behavior”, as well as “increase ‘health span’ and enhance cognitive and motor function in aging.” (5)
Buy, crack it open, and enjoy!
Walnuts, familiar in bowls of mixed nuts at Christmas and in Grandma’s treats, are a most perfect snack all on their own. They come in their own neat little biodegradable shell packaging, need no refrigeration, fit nicely in your pocket, are full of flavor, and offer numerous health benefits.
Break out the nutcracker and dive into these little goodies for a high protein delight prized by vegans and omnivores alike. Reap the benefits of omega-3, potassium, calcium, iron, vitamins, and flavonoids that promote cardiovascular health. (6)
Add walnuts to salads, granola, trail mix, stuffing, dips, salad, or on top of your favorite dessert. To go a step further, consider soaking them to increase the nutritional value and dehydrate to return to their crunchy state!
Sources for this article include:
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