Scientists from Northumbria University found eating mixed tree nuts for 4 weeks could improve gut health and cognitive function.
Cognition basically means using your brain.
It is a very broad term that includes many varied and complex brain activities (or cognitive functions), such as attention, memory, processing speed, and executive functions (i.e., reasoning, planning, problem-solving, and multitasking).
They most often describe cognitive health as “staying sharp” or being “right in the mind” and define it as living to an advanced age, having good physical health, having a positive mental outlook, being alert, having a good memory, and being socially involved.
The ‘gut microbiome’ is made up of the trillions of microorganisms and their genetic material that lives in your intestinal tract.
These microorganisms, mainly comprising bacteria, are involved in functions critical to your health and well-being.
Nuts are high in ‘good fats’ – monounsaturated fats (most nut types) and polyunsaturated fats (mainly walnuts). Low in saturated fats.
Good sources of dietary protein – a good alternative to animal protein. Some nuts are also high in the amino acid arginine, which keeps blood vessels healthy.
The benefits of eating nuts to cognitive function have been found in young and older adults. In addition, changes in gut microbiota have also been found following tree nut consumption.
In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the effects of daily intake of tree nuts for four weeks on cognitive function, mood, metabolomics, and gut microbiome in healthy, non-elderly adults.
The team tested the effects of eating mixed tree nuts for four weeks on cognitive function and gut health.
79 healthy younger adults ate 30 g/day of mixed tree nuts versus placebo.
The team found that nut intake led to strong improvements in accuracy and speed of response on a picture recognition task.
In addition, an unclassified Lachnospiraceae amplicon sequence variant (ASV) was strongly enriched in participants eating nuts.
These findings suggest a positive effect of nuts on cognition following only 4-weeks’ intake in a healthy non-elderly sample, as well as a boost of gut health.
The researchers say that the effects appear to be independent of one another, but further research is required in people with cognitive decline and/or gut diseases.
The research was published in the Journal of Nutrition and conducted by Crystal F Haskell-Ramsay et al.
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