BRAIN HEALTH | 12.12.2016 | BY DAYA ALEXANDER GRANT, PH.D., M.S.
Have you ever noticed how walnuts look a lot like miniature brains? Both have two halves (i.e. hemispheres), ridges and grooves (i.e. cortical folds), and are contained within a hard shell (i.e. skull). Although it’s only a coincidence, walnuts do pack quite a few brain-health benefits.
- The main brain-boosting components in walnuts are Omega-3s. Walnuts are one of the best sources of ALAs, a particular type of Omega-3s, and have been shown to aid the brain’s information processing. These fats are considered essential fatty acids because they can only be absorbed through the foods you eat, instead of derived from other nutrients. Unfortunately, most people do not get nearly enough Omega-3s in their diet.
- Walnuts are also rich in Vitamin E, an antioxidant that has been associated with slowing cognitive decline and lowering the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease
- Lastly, walnuts boost melatonin, which is an important hormone involved in sleep regulation
Walnuts are perhaps the healthiest (in terms of brain health) of all the nuts, and there are countless ways to add them to your meals and snacks. Try roasting walnuts to enhance their flavor and texture, then add them to a salad, side dish or simply snack on a handful to experience the health benefits of this delicious food.