Brain power booster: Are you ‘nuts’ for nuts?

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Takeaway:

For a healthy brain, nuts and seeds should be considered as a significant addition to your diet.


Nuts and seeds are a staple food worldwide. In Ethiopia, I was fond of kolo, make from roasted barley, chickpeas ad peanuts. Sunflower seeds and peanuts are often served when you visit peoples’ homes. In Vietnam, peanuts, cashews and many other nuts are common for snacks, and in food, garnish, sauces and condiments. At Tet (New Year’s), it’s nuts galore with watermelon seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios and others.

Yes, most nuts are tasty (think peanuts at a ballgame).  But their health benefits are significant. Nuts and seeds are a plant-based source of healthful fats and proteins.

Among the benefits:

  • Nutritious
  • full of antioxidants
  • may aid weight loss
  • may lower cholesterol and triglycerides
  • are beneficial for Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • may reduce inflammation
  • high in beneficial fiber
  • may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke
  • delicious, versatile, and widely available

You can find details about these benefits in the Healthline article linked below. Our focus is on the power of nuts for boosting brain health.


I find Daniel Amen’s M.D..’s work illuminating. In his blog, he writes that “eating nuts has been found to boost brain power as we age. In one study with nearly 5,000 people over the age of 55, eating at least two teaspoons of nuts per day was associated with improved memory and increased cognitive function by as much as 60%, compared with people who didn’t eat nuts.” He describes a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease which showed significant improvement in memory and learning ability in a case study using mice. (Yes, I know we’re not mice! However, I generally support scientific research.)


A Medical News Today article details twelve foods good for the brain, including nuts and seeds, and then mentions peanuts separately. The key elements in nuts for brain health are omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. The writer discusses a 2014 study that found a higher overall nut intake was linked to better brain function in older age. That study also said nuts and seeds are “rich sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, which protects cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals.” Vitamin E may also improve cognition and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Nuts and seeds high in vitamin E include sunflower, almonds and hazelnuts. 

Further research needed


The writer fully acknowledges that such analysis requires further research. I believe this too. We can’t simply accept something as absolute, we all need to stay fully alert to new research and new information.
If you discover legitimate new research that shows anything we write about in the Joy Blog may now be questionable, please share with all of us in the “Joy Community.” This is an open discussion!


Meanwhile, I’m increasing my intake of nuts, knowing that there are other foods important for brain health: berries, fish, green vegetables and herbs, beetroot, avocado, and many others, including coffee! [That’s must be a blog soon!] 

Links to articles:

  1. https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/what-foods-fight-dementia/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-benefits-of-nuts
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324044.php 

Notes:

  1. Though peanuts are technically legumes like peas and beans, they’re usually referred to as nuts due to their similar nutrition profile and characteristics.
  2. Also, be cautious about your allergies. Peanuts are well-known to be a cause of allergenic reaction in some people.

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Scott is an author, blogger and coach--in all things he's an encourager. A Stephen Minister with a M.A. in Pastoral Counseling, Scott seeks to help others find more joy in life through brain, body, financial, community, and spiritual development. Our goal is to help reduce stress, depression, anxiety, and loss of focus. I want to empower and energize people seeking freedom from boredom, low motivation, low self-esteem, unnecessary anxiety or the shroud of sadness. Together, let’s maximize the joyful opportunities in life, and reach our potential.

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