Walnuts May Ward Off Dementia
Mental skills are preserved with a diet that includes walnuts, finds a study on lab animals.
Walnuts are rich in compounds including vitamin E, ellagic acid, flavonoids, and melatonin, all of which confer antioxidant properties. Abha Chauhan, from the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (New York, USA), and colleagues studied the effect of dietary supplementation of walnuts on the memory, anxiety and learning skills in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s Disease. The team fed walnuts to the mice, and observed that mental skills were preserved. In contrast, the Alzheimer-model mice that were not fed the nuts suffered a dramatic loss in learning, memory and physical and emotional control. Positing that walnuts helped to destroy harmful free radical chemicals that are implicated in dementia, the researchers conclude that: “Our results suggest that dietary supplementation of walnuts may have beneficial effect in reducing the risk, delaying the onset or slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Abha Chauhan, Mohamed M. M. Essa, Balu Muthaiyah, Ved Chauhan, Kulbir Kaur, Moon Lee. “Walnuts-rich diet improves memory deficits and learning skills in transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease” (Abstract O1-01-06), presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2010, July 11, 2010.