Why Eating Walnuts May Protect Your Brain

Why Eating Walnuts May Protect Your Brain


Feed your child walnuts.  Then feed yourself walnuts and, finally, feed your partner walnuts.  You can’t go wrong with the wonders of the walnut.  Walnuts are jam packed with gifts for your brain in the form of manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, folate, thiamine, vitamin E and phosphorus.  Throw in anti-oxidants and melatonin, which regulates your body’s internal clock, and you have one nutrient-dense nut!

If that wasn’t enough for you;  I have more.  Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fats.  Now, this isn’t the same kind of Omega-3 that is found in fatty fish like salmon but it is still beneficial and necessary for your brain.  ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is the form of Omega-3 fats found present in the wonderful walnut.  Researchers believe the body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA; however, it doesn’t do a fantastic job at this.  Sorry guys, but women’s body have a higher conversion rate than men.  It has something to do with our estrogen.  According, to the National Institutes of Health, there appears to be a “6% conversion rate for EPA and 3.8% for DHA.”  In contrasting studies, the rates increase to nearly 20%.  While the numbers aren’t high, the studies signify there is some conversion and our brains need all the Omega-3 they can get!

Walnuts can help your brain:

  • improve cognitive function
  • improve ability to concentrate
  • improve mood
  • improve memory

Walnuts may ease the symptoms of:

  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

A recent study out of the University of New Mexico found walnuts do, in fact, protect against depression in young males.  Don’t go crazy and eat boatloads of walnuts.  While tempting, try to keep it to a handful a day.  Walnuts are simple to incorporate into your family’s diet.

Add walnuts to:

  • yogurt or kefir
  • oatmeal
  • homemade granola
  • salads
  • healthy muffins or baked breads
  • trail mix

Or you can eat them plain.  There are no rules.  So, go wild, and chow them straight from the bag or cover them in 85% dark chocolate and trick yourself into thinking you are eating a sneaky treat.  Your brain will thank you later!

*Don’t forget my previous article.  You have to keep your nuts cold! Store your walnuts in your refrigerator or you will lose the beneficial Omega-3’s.  Buy your walnuts from a store that understands this concept or you may be wasting your money.