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Why Eating Walnuts Is Good For Brain Health

Research suggests that eating walnuts may be one of the best things you can do to ensure long term brain health. Oddly enough, there have even been studies conducted that show diet plays a huge role in preventing various neurodegenerative diseases such as antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. English walnuts (Juglans regia L) are one of the richest foods in terms of phytochemicals and they also contain high contents of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) which could help maintain a healthy brain as you age.

The great thing about walnuts is that not only will they help your brain, but they are reasonably priced – a food item that most people can afford. Listed below are various brain benefits associated with eating walnuts.

Why Eating Walnuts Is Good For Brain Health

1. Reduce oxidative stress

Have you ever heard of antioxidants? These are agents that work towards inhibiting oxidation in the brain and body. Walnuts contain natural antioxidative properties that can help reduce the total load of oxidants throughout the brain. Free radicals can end up damaging your brain cells if they are not accounted for by antioxidants. Reducing oxidative stress is an essential aspect of keeping the body and brain healthy.

2. Reduce inflammation of brain cells

In brains that have a lot of inflammation, it is likely that they have fallen victim to various neurodegenerative conditions. In cases of Alzheimer’s, the inflammatory load can significantly increase. The increase in inflammatory load is common in various neurodegenerative diseases.

What we eat can help effectively reduce this load throughout our lives. Obviously when the inflammation reaches a certain point, there’s no turning back. In other words, walnuts aren’t going to be able to reduce neurodegeneration, but they may be able to help prevent it.

3. Improve interneuronal signaling

This may sound like some pretty fancy psychological jargon. It basically means that walnuts can improve the signaling amongst neurons within the brain. In other words, the communication that takes place between brain cells will be enhanced by various properties of the walnut.  Does this mean that your brain will be able to function better?  It is entirely possible.  Interneuronal signaling is an important process within the brain.  Any improvement that can be obtained could be very beneficial.

4. Increase neurogenesis

Before reading the study, I was actually unaware that walnuts could also lead to the growth of new neurons. According to this research, it turns out that walnuts can help us grow new brain cells. Growing new brain cells is a crucial aspect of maintaining brain health.  I didn’t know that walnuts had these properties until reviewing some of the research that has been conducted.  If you want to stimulate the growth of new cells within your brain, walnuts can help increase this process.

5. Clearing toxic protein aggregates

Protein aggregates are often toxic and can lead to the development of various neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and prion disease. Protein aggregation can be the result of mutations and/or disruption in various protein pathways. As cells in the brain lose their ability to clear misfolded proteins, they accumulate over time and lead to harmful imbalances within the brain.  When insoluble toxic protein aggregation occurs, walnuts are thought to help reduce and/or stop it to a certain extent.

Source: http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/19792.pdf
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24500933

Walnuts are a great snack to improve brain health

The next time you are looking for a snack to help improve your brain, turn to walnuts. Even though you may not necessarily like the taste, the research demonstrates that they can have a profound effect on your brain. And some would hypothesize that they could possibly prevent neurodegeneration in certain individuals due to various properties within the walnut.

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