To slow the effects of cognitive decline on adults who are already experiencing a cognitive decline, you may want to consider adding in walnuts.
Consuming 30-60 grams per day of walnuts led to better brain functionality within memory tasks in elderly participants that were identified as higher risk subgroups. While consuming the walnuts did not have any effect on healthy seniors, the seniors who were characterized as high risk (based on smoking and less education) demonstrated promising results for slowing the effects of age-related cognitive decline.
The neuroprotective effects of nuts are due to its composition of fatty acids and polyphenols. Fatty acids, like the omega-3 fatty acids contained in walnuts, reduces the harmful effects of oxidative stress on the brain. Oxidative stress leading to inflammation is one of the main causes of cognitive decline. Along with those helpful fatty acids, the polyphenols in nuts are also powerful antioxidants—you may have heard of the effects of resveratrol (or its better-absorbed “cousin” pterostilbene) and curcumin which are also polyphenols.
Together the protective properties of walnuts can be a helpful addition to to a balanced diet along with your doctor's treatments in the fight against keeping our minds and bodies active and healthy.
Aleix Sala-Vila, Cinta Valls-Pedret, Sujatha Rajaram, Nina Coll-Padrós, Montserrat Cofán, Mercè Serra-Mir, Ana M Pérez-Heras, Irene Roth, Tania M Freitas-Simoes, Mónica Doménech, Carlos Calvo, Anna López-Illamola, Edward Bitok, Natalie K Buxton, Lynnley Huey, Adam Arechiga, Keiji Oda, Grace J Lee, Dolores Corella, Lídia Vaqué-Alcázar, Roser Sala-Llonch, David Bartrés-Faz, Joan Sabaté, Emilio Ros. Effect of a 2-year diet intervention with walnuts on cognitive decline. The Walnuts And Healthy Aging (WAHA) study: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz328