Improving your memory and boosting your brain function could be just a handful of walnuts away, new research suggests.
Snacking on a handful of walnuts a day could lead to improved memory and information processing due to their cognition-enhancing ingredients, according to a study by the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles and published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging.
In the study, funded by the California Walnut Commission, researchers assessed participants between the ages of 20-59, as well as participants aged 60 and over who undertook a series of cognitive tests. They found that those who had a higher walnut consumption performed significantly better on the tests, regardless of age or ethnicity.
Walnuts are the only nut that has a substantial source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is an omega-3 fatty acid that can have health benefits for the brain and the heart. They are also high antioxidant, vitamins and minerals.
They study highlights the growing population of elderly due to the baby boomer generation and the growing number of cases of dementia and other conditions affecting memory, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Globally in 2013, there were an estimated 44.4 million people with dementia and that number is estimated to increase to 75.6 million in 2030, and 135.5 million in 2050, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International.
Dementia symptoms affect memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. Dementia indicates problems with at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and impaired judgment or language, and the inability to perform some daily activities such as paying bills or becoming lost while driving.
Though memory loss generally occurs in dementia, memory loss alone doesn’t mean you have dementia. There is a certain extent of memory loss that is a normal part of aging. Many causes of dementia symptoms exist. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of a progressive dementia. Some causes of dementia may be reversible.