There is much talk about the ability of some nuts, walnuts in particular, to help improve cognition, but is there any evidence that tree nuts in general can help improve cognition?
Let’s take a look.
Researchers from Northumbria University as well as one from London Metropolitan University in the UK performed a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, counterbalanced crossover study to determine what effect, if any, consumption of tree nuts for four weeks would have on cognition in healthy adults (18-49 years old).
Their results, published in The Journal of Nutrition in December 2022, yielded significant results.
The group that consumed a supplement of 30g/day of mixed tree nuts showed significant improvements in both the accuracy and speed of response on a picture recognition task when compared to the placebo group.
As an added bonus, the mixed tree nut group also saw a significant enrichment of a specific strain of gut bacteria called Lachnospiraceae amplicon sequence variant (ASV), which is associated with gut health.
And while this all appears to be good news, this was a particularly small study of just 79 participants. Larger studies covering a greater cross-section of the population would be be very well received to see if these results continue to hold up or not. Or perhaps even improve and show greater benefits of nut consumption.
Of course it must be noted that many people have allergies or sensitivities to tree nuts (with some common tree nuts including walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews and pistachios). So determining one’s status in this regard is important before adding them to a diet.
Which is why you should discuss any changes to your diet or treatment plan with your licensed healthcare practitioner to determine what is right, safe, and appropriate for you.
If you’re a tree nut fan like me, this sounds like a great conversation to have.
All the best on your pursuit of great.
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