Can walnuts prevent Alzheimer's disease?

Although they are high in calories, the benefits of nuts to improve your health have been widely proven. Full of fiber (which helps lower your cholesterol) and Omega-3 fatty acids (which are important for heart health), there's another new advantage to eating these healthy snacks: Walnuts have also been found to boost memory.  

In a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers found that eating walnuts in a Mediterranean-style diet was linked to better memory scores and cognitive function.

Basically, this means that the antioxidants present in walnuts may help prevent age-related cognitive decline and reduce the chances of developing neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, which could affect as many as 1.3 million Latinos by 2050.

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The Spanish PREDIMED trial, which was conducted by Dr. Emilio Ros of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, concluded that:

"The high polyphenol (antioxidant) content found in walnuts may be one of the key elements in helping to preserve cognition and fight age-related cognitive decline.  Coffee, virgin olive oil and wine were also associated with better cognitive scores. "

Since so many of us are already caring for our elderly parents (or worried about our own mental health as we age, like I am), it's important to add some walnuts into your diet. I'm already snacking on almonds during the day but now I think I'll opt for walnuts or a mixed nuts. Since walnuts can help keep my mind sharp, it's the least I can do.

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Will you increase your walnut consumption, now that you know it may help prevent memory loss and age-related diseases like Alzheimer's?

Image via elana's pantry/flickr