A handful of nuts may be the ticket for senior citizens looking to avoid assisted living because of reduced cognition, says a study from Tufts University.
Researchers there tested the effects of walnuts on aged brains that led to poor test results in balance, coordination and working memory function.
hey found that when laboratory animals had their diets supplemented with the equivalent of two to nine walnuts per day, improvements were found in tests of coordination and overall cognitive function.
There can be too much of a good thing, however, as the scientists also noted that daily intake of more than 1.5 ounces, roughly 10 to 13 walnuts per day, caused the laboratory animals to lose some of their ability to make decisions based on past experiences.
When combined with healthy eating habits like a Mediterranean diet high in good fats, walnuts may also reduce risks of cardiovascular disease in those at risk because of obesity, or raised levels of cholesterol.
Both benefits of walnuts may be linked to polyphenols, chemicals that scientists say may have a beneficial effect on brain tissue.