If you look at a walnut half, it looks like a brain - and guess what? Walnuts are very beneficial for brain health. Let's look at that more closely.
- They are high in Omega 3's. These fatty acids have been shown to possess antidepressant and neuroprotective properties. One recent study found that aging people who ate more omega-3s had increased gray matter brain volume and found that most of that new tissue development was found in the part of the brain associated with happiness. (1)
- They are a good source of Vitamin E: The brain is especially rich in lipids (fats and other fatty compounds) making it highly susceptible to free radical damage. The brain also consumes a larger proportion of the body's oxygen supply making it that much more vulnerable to oxidative damage. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that products and preserves brain function.
- They contain Melatonin: A naturally occurring free radical scavenger, melatonin readily passes through the blood-brain-barrier and accumulates in the central nervous system at much higher levels than are found in the blood. As a result, melatonin exhibits strong neuroprotective effects, especially under the conditions of increased oxidative stress or intensive neural inflammation.
- High in Antioxidants: Just one gram of walnuts contains nearly 70 units of polyphenols (a form of antioxidant). This is higher than any other nut. A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. These antioxidants protect against free radical damage throughout the body including the brain.
- A Good Source of Folic Acid: Crucial for proper brain function, folic acid plays an important role in mental and emotional health. It aids in the production of DNA and RNA, the body's genetic material, and is especially important when cells and tissues are growing rapidly, such as in infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy.
Share with me how you like to include walnuts in your diet!