Just when I thought that health benefits related to eating nuts would be completely outweighed by risk of pathogen exposure, the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA reports that eating walnuts can help seniors complete tasks that require motor and behavior skills. Now, don’t go racing to the nut factory for your daily dose of walnuts just yet, the study used an “animal model.” Basically, rats fed diets that varied in percentage walnuts were asked to perform a series of memory and motor tests. The results indicated that in aging rats, low to moderate walnut doses improved motor and memory related test scores, while mega-doses of walnuts did not – compared with non-walnut-eating control rats.
While this news may not be directly transferable to humans, two to six walnuts is all you will need to eat each day, just in case. So, what is it about walnuts that can help improve rat brain function? Looks like polyphenols and other antioxidants and essential fatty acids are to blame.
Photo: iStockphoto.com/Nilgun Bostanci
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.