If you love snacking on nuts or peanuts, the good news is that it could lead to better brain health as you age
From almonds to walnuts, long-term nut consumption could be a key to better cognitive health in older people.
This is according to new research from the University of South Australia.
More than 10 grams of nuts or peanuts a day
In a study of 4 822 adults aged 55 years and older, researchers found that eating more than 10 grams of nuts a day was positively associated with better mental functioning, including improved thinking, reasoning and memory.
“Population ageing is one of the most substantial challenges of the twenty-first century. Not only are people living longer, but as they age, they require additional health support which is placing unprecedented pressure on aged care and health services,” says lead researcher, UniSA’s Dr Ming Li.
“In China, this is a massive issue, as the population is ageing far more rapidly than almost any other country in the world.”
Improved and preventative health care – including dietary modifications – can help address the challenges that an ageing population presents.
Two teaspoons of nuts or peanuts improves cognitive function by 60%
The UniSA study analysed nine waves of China Health Nutrition Survey data, collected over 22 years.
It found that 17 per cent of participants were regular consumers of nuts and peanuts, mostly peanuts. Dr Li says peanuts have specific anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which can alleviate and reduce cognitive decline.
“By eating more than 10 grams (or two teaspoons) of nuts per day older people could improve their cognitive function by up to 60 per cent – compared to those not eating nuts – effectively warding off what would normally be experienced as a natural two-year cognition decline.”
“Nuts are known to be high in healthy fats, protein and fibre with nutritional properties that can lower cholesterol and improve cognitive health,” Dr Li says.
Protecting against dementia
The World Health Organisation estimates that globally, there are 47 million people living with dementia. By 2030, this number is projected to rise to 75 million and by 2050, global dementia cases are estimated to almost triple.
“As people age, they naturally experience changes in conceptual reasoning, memory and processing speed. This is all part of the normal ageing process,” Dr Li says
“But age is also the strongest known risk factor for cognitive disease. If we can find ways to help older people retain their cognitive health and independence for longer – even by modifying their diet – then this absolutely worth the effort.”
Source: University of South Australia via www.sciencedaily.com
While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.