Nutty for Brain Power
Updated: Dec 23, 2019
Did You Know? Nutrient-Rich Nuts Can Boost Up Your Brain Power
One of the best pieces of advice I have learned on the diet for your brain is to “Eat nuts!”
First of all, they’re a wonderful high-fat snack to replace the carbohydrates that we eat too much of. Plus, they’re convenient and delicious. When I don’t have time for a meal or I am looking for something to eat on the go, I grab a small bag of mixed nuts and they are just as satisfying until I can get a full meal.
And even better, they have specific benefits for cognition!!!
If you want to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and improve your brain’s ability to cope with the mental challenges of daily life, you should fill your everyday diet with nuts.
The trick is to consume a variety of nuts. Current studies show that nuts produce different kinds of brain benefits depending on which type you consume.
Research at Loma Linda University demonstrates that various types of brainwaves linked to a range of mental processes are influenced by eating nuts. In this study, the scientists found that pistachios were most effective at stimulating gamma waves. Gamma waves are central for improving the brain’s ability to process information, maintain accessible memories, perceive sensory inputs and enhance sleep.
On the other hand, the scientists reported that peanuts (which are legumes, not nuts) most significantly increase delta waves, which are linked to immune responses, healing and also deep sleep.
Meanwhile, a study at Tufts shows that walnuts are particularly effective at penetrating the harmful inflammation in the brain. According to these researchers, natural compounds in walnuts improve the behavior of the brain’s microglia – immune cells that are meant to protect the brain from infection while clearing harmful debris from brain tissue. That’s why the microglia are often called the brain’s “trash collectors.”
When microglia malfunction – by making inflammatory changes that cause immune cells to harm neurons then the brain function and memory suffers. But in lab tests, the Tufts scientists found that walnut nutrients affect the movement of calcium among brain cells, and this keeps the microglia under proper control.
Other tests show that walnuts are anti-amnesic meaning that they keep your memory from disappearing by keeping acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter, from breaking down too rapidly.
And walnut benefits don’t stop there, oh no, an investigation at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston shows that walnuts also impact a part of the brain known as the right insula. This is a very important part of the brain tissue. When the right insula is more active, we make healthier eating choices and are less likely to keep eating once we are full. So, when our right insula is working better we are more likely to be eating less, therefore controlling our weight much better.
The tests in Boston show that people who consume a diet that emphasizes walnuts have right insulas that are ready to jump into action when we’re tempted to stuff ourselves or over-indulge in snacks. Think about that before your next dinner celebration.
All of these findings confirm the way traditional healers have been using these nuts and plants for thousands of years. For example, Middle Eastern Researchers revealed that pistachios and the pistachio plant played a key role as a brain tonic to treat brain disorders for thousands of years. The resin from the pistachio plant was used for stomach complaints three thousand years ago.
And in ancient Persian medicine, this substance was used for liver, kidney, and digestive complaints. Modern research has even shown that it can be used to combat colon cancer. You probably won’t find pistachio resin at your health food store today – but give it time!
Like most natural treatments, the most impressive thing about the holistic health benefits of nuts is that they don’t stop with one body part. They help the health of every physiological system.
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