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Research on Walnuts as a “Brain Food"

Date: September 15, 2008
Phone: 269-471-3348

Peter Pribis, Ph.D., of the Andrews University Department of Nutrition and Wellness, has been awarded a $90,000 research grant from the California Walnut Commission for a study entitled, “Effects of Walnut Consumption on Cognitive Performance in College-aged Population.” Co-investigator for this study is Rudolf Bailey, Ph.D., from the Andrews University Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology.
The focus of the grant is on possible improvement in student cognition resulting from omega-3 fatty acids consumption. Andrews University students will be both the experimental subjects and the associate researchers.

Students will be divided into two groups with each group eating two slices of banana bread on a daily basis for eight weeks. One group will eat banana bread with walnuts and the other group will eat banana bread with mixed nuts. After eight weeks, there will be a six-week break. Then the groups will switch: students previously eating the banana bread with walnuts will eat the banana bread with mixed nuts and vice versa.

The cognitive functions and mood of the students will be tested at the beginning, after the first eight weeks and after the second eight weeks. Three different testing methods will be used to assess their verbal and non-verbal thinking, memory and mood.

Researchers hope to discover whether there are any differences in cognitive performance of the students while consuming high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Simply expressed, researchers will endeavor to prove that walnuts are an excellent “brain food.”

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