A new study found that walnuts might help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in lab animals. For this study, researchers at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in
Development Disabilities put mice bred to develop AD on a special daily diet that contained either 6 percent or 9 percent walnuts. In humans, that amount of walnuts is equivalent to 1 ounce and 1.5 ounces per day, respectively. (Roughly 4 or 5 walnuts.)
The control group–mice bred to develop AD who did not receive walnuts–showed severe memory deficits, impaired spatial learning, poor motor coordination, and anxiety.
By contrast, both groups of AD mice fed a walnut-rich diet showed significant improvements in learning skills, memory, and motor development. They also had lower anxiety levels.
The researchers suggested the high antioxidant content of walnuts might be a contributing factor in protecting the brain against the type of degeneration typically seen in AD. Previous research also links the essential fatty acids found in walnuts and other nuts with many health benefits…from preventing diabetes and heart disease to benefiting the brain and nervous system.
You can find walnuts in any grocery store. But it’s a good idea to purchase smaller quantities at a time so they don’t go rancid. Store shelled walnuts in a cool, dry place to help keep them fresh.
“Dietary Supplementation of Walnuts Improves Memory Deficits and Learning Skills in Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Volume 42, Number 4 / 2014