Having a walnut-enriched diet every day may help reduce the risk, delay the onset, slow the progression of, or prevent Alzheimer’s disease all together, found a study led by an Indian-origin researcher.
“Our study adds to the growing body of research that demonstrates the protective effects of walnuts on cognitive functioning,” said Abha Chauhan from the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR).
The research group examined the effects of dietary supplementation on mice with six percent and nine percent walnuts, that is equivalent to one ounce (28.3 gram) and 1.5 ounces (42.5 gram) per day, respectively.
The researchers found significant improvement in learning skills, memory, reducing anxiety and motor development in mice fed a walnut-enriched diet.
The high antioxidant content of walnuts (3.7 mmol/ounce) may have been a contributing factor in protecting the mouse’s brain from the degeneration typically seen in Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers suggested.
Oxidative stress and inflammation are prominent features in the disease.
“These findings are very promising and could help lay the groundwork for future human studies on walnuts and Alzheimer’s disease – a disease for which there is no known cure,” Chauhan added.
This research stemmed from a previous cell culture study led by Chauhan that highlighted the protective effects of walnut extract against the oxidative damage caused by amyloid beta protein.
The protein is the major component of amyloid plaques that form in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease.
The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.