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Walnuts and Brain Health

Now we get to the brain. Are walnuts good for cognitive health?

A 2014 review article concluded that walnuts should be included in prevention strategies against the epidemic of cognitive decline and dementia. The phytochemical substances present in walnuts not only decrease oxidative stress and inflammation in brain cells but also boost communication between neurons, stimulate the formation of new neurons, and assist in the removal of harmful proteins associated with the development of dementia.

While human studies have repeatedly shown that diets that include walnuts are associated with improved cognitive performance and better memory, a 2020 mouse study explored the possible mechanisms for this. The study found that walnuts’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties suppressed the production of free radicals and enhanced antioxidant protection, consequently lowering the risk of brain degeneration. (Our view on the use of animals in medical research is here.)

A 2022 article also reviewed some of the ways walnuts are known to combat neuroinflammation, a major contributor both to aging in general and to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s in particular. It quickly got technical on me, with phrases such as “inhibition of peripheral inflammation mediated by macrophages.” But the bottom line is that walnuts appear to reduce neuroinflammation through a number of synergistic biochemical mechanisms.

( Excerpt taken from The Food Revolution Network)

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