“Walnuts are the new brain food”, study claims
A study carried out by the University of South Australia has released the findings of a clinical trial of undergraduates students. The research revealed that there were positive effects of eating walnuts on self-reported measures of mental health and biomarkers of general health. What’s more the study suggests that walnuts may counteract the effects of […]
A study carried out by the University of South Australia has released the findings of a clinical trial of undergraduates students.
The research revealed that there were positive effects of eating walnuts on self-reported measures of mental health and biomarkers of general health.
What’s more the study suggests that walnuts may counteract the effects of academic stress on the gut microbiota during periods of stress, especially in females.
The lead researchers, PhD student Mauritz Herselman and Associate Professor Larisa Bobrovskaya, have said that the results of this investigation add to a “growing body” of evidence” that links walnuts with improved brain and gut health.
“Students experience academic stress throughout their studies, which has a negative effect on their mental health, and they are particularly vulnerable during exam periods,” said Herselman.
Carrying out the study
To carry out the study, the researchers studied eighty undergraduate students who were split into treatment and control groups. They were clinically assessed in three intervals: at the beginning of a 13-week university semester, during the examination period and two weeks after the examination period.
Those in the treatment group were given walnuts to consume daily for 16 weeks over these three intervals.
“We found that those who consumed about half a cup of walnuts every day showed improvements in self-reported mental health indicators,” explained Herselman.
“Walnut consumers also showed improved metabolic biomarkers and overall sleep quality in the longer term.”
Students in the control group reported increased stress and depression levels in the leadup to exams but those in the treatment group did not.
Additionally, the walnut consumers also reported a significant drop in feelings associated with depression between the first and final visits, compared to the controls.
“We have shown that consuming walnuts during stressful periods can improve mental health and general wellbeing in university students, as well as being a healthy and delicious snack and a versatile ingredient in many recipes, to fight some negative effects of academic stress,” said Bobrovskaya.
While the study findings are promising, Bobrovskaya evaluated that “due to fewer numbers of males in the study, more research is needed to establish sex-dependent effects of walnuts and academic stress in university students.
“It’s also possible that a placebo effect might have come into play as this was not a blind study.”
To access the full study, click here.