Snack on a handful of brain-boosting nutrients

Don’t let your intellectual abilities implode. A simple snack can help your brain power grow instead of letting it slip slide away as you age.

Walnuts have long enjoyed a reputation as a healthy snack. Lab tests have connected them with a reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer, a better insulin response (which means a lowered chance of diabetes) as well as a healthy cholesterol profile.

And now a study at the David Geffen School of Medicine at The University of California, Los Angeles, shows ways in which the nutrients in walnuts can help your brain by improving memory function as well as sharpening mental focus and speeding your ability to process information.

According to the researchers, all you need to do to benefit from walnuts is to eat about a handful a day.

“It is exciting to see the strength of the evidence from this analysis across the U.S. population supporting the previous results of animal studies… that have shown the neuroprotective benefit from eating walnuts; and it’s a realistic amount — less than a handful per day (13 grams),” says researcher Lenore Arab.

Health benefits of walnutsArab also points out that lab studies have demonstrated that walnuts may slow down or prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Arab notes that there are many nutrients in walnuts that can contribute to improving your cognitive abilities. They are high in antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals that the brain needs. They are also a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a healthy fat that is a vegetarian omega-3 fatty acid.

“It isn’t every day that research results in such simple advice — eating a handful of walnuts daily as a snack, or as part of a meal, can help improve your cognitive health,” Arab says.

Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.