Walnuts can boost brain power; know all benefits, how to consume them

By, New Delhi
Apr 29, 2023 01:16 PM IST

Eating walnuts regularly can work wonders for your brain health, digestion and blood pressure. Know the benefits and best ways to consume them from an expert.

Walnut, the brain-shaped dry fruit, has been known for its many benefits, especially for brain health. Numerous studies over the years have talked about the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties of the superfood that can help support cognitive function. A recent study done by Spanish researchers published in the journal eClinicalMedicine finds out that boys and girls who eat handful of walnuts per day or at least have it three times a week can substantially improve their cognitive abilities which includes attention. (Also read: Soaked walnut: Why it is a superfood; know wonderful benefits and right time to eat from experts)

Walnuts: They contain omega-3 fatty acids and they tend to improve the motility of your sperms.(Unsplash)
Walnuts: They contain omega-3 fatty acids and they tend to improve the motility of your sperms.(Unsplash)

Rich in what are considered critical brain foods - alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, and polyphenolic compounds, walnuts can effectively reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, the two factors that cause cognitive decline. According to National Library of Medicine, oxidative stress and neuroinflammation are part of aging process, and mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and other brain disorders. Walnut supplementation can improve cognition and reduce the risk of or progression of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's.

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Walnuts can boost brain power across all age groups from newborns, adults to elderly.

"Walnuts are the top nut for brain health. They have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. Among other things, DHA has been shown to protect brain health in newborns, improve cognitive performance in adults, and prevent or ameliorate age-related cognitive decline," says Sonia Bakshi, Nutritionist and Founder DtF.

Best time to eat walnuts, how to add them to your diet

One can soak walnuts overnight to improve their digestibility and nutrition absorption and have them in the morning. Adding them to your smoothies, salads, shakes, chutneys, breakfast cereal, desserts, dalia is also a good idea.

"The best time to eat walnuts in summers is in the morning. You can soak 6 to 8 halves of walnuts at night and consume them on an empty stomach. You can also add them to your smoothies or make walnut chutney. Ground walnuts can be sprinkled on salads," says Bakshi.

Benefits of walnuts

Walnuts are not only amazing for your brain function, but also great for gut health. Their anti-inflammatory properties provide protection against heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. Besides having a handful of walnuts can also make you feel satiated and thus help curb the urge for repeated snacking in between the meals.

1. Curbs inflammation

Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Since walnuts contain polyphenols, they can help fight inflammation.

2. Gut health

Studies have shown that a healthy gut ensures good overall health. Eating soaked walnuts helps in increasing the beneficial bacteria that nourishes and promotes gut health, thereby keeping your brain active.

3. Controls appetite, promotes weight loss

Regular consumption of soaked walnuts has been associated with increase in activation in a region of brain that helped resist highly tempting food. This is how walnuts help in controlling hunger and appetite.

4. Helps lower BP

High BP can be a major risk factor for stroke. Soaked walnuts are known to lower BP especially the diastolic BP.

5. Protects against Alzheimer's

The nutrients in walnuts help reduce oxidative damage to the brain. Regular consumption of soaked walnuts has shown significant improvement in memory and learning skills, faster processing speed and more mental flexibility.

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