An estimated five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s and it is estimated that by 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may nearly triple, from five million to as many as 16 million, emphasizing the importance of determining ways to prevent, slow or stop the disease.
Mice fed a walnut enriched diet revealed significant improvement in learning skills, memory, reduced anxiety and motor development. The high antioxidant content found in walnuts was attributed to the positive benefit as it reduced the oxidative stress and inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s. Walnuts have other nutritional benefits as they contain numerous vitamins and minerals and are the only nut that contains a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (2.5 grams per ounce), an omega-3 fatty acid with heart and brain-health benefits.
“These findings are very promising and help lay the groundwork for future human studies on walnuts and Alzheimer’s disease — a disease for which there is no known cure,” said lead researcher Dr. Abha Chauhan, PhD. “Our study adds to the growing body of research that demonstrates the protective effects of walnuts on cognitive functioning.”
Abha Chauhan, PhD et al. Dietary Supplementation of Walnuts Improves Memory Deficits and Learning Skills in Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Volume 42, Number 4 / 2014 DOI: 10.3233/JAD-140675