Effects of Walnuts Consumption
Photo: Participants in the Walnut Study
Funding Agency: California Walnut Comission
Title: Effects of Walnuts Consumption on Cognitive Performance in College-age Population
Beginning Date: 2008
Principle Investigators: Peter Pribis (Public Health & Wellness)
Publication: British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 107, Issue 9
Abstract: Walnuts contain a number of potentially neuroprotective compounds like vitamin E, folate, melatonin, several antioxidative polyphenols and significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. The present study sought to determine the effect of walnuts on verbal and nonverbal reasoning, memory, and mood. Sixty-four college students were randomly assigned to two treatment sequences in a cross-over fashion: walnut-placebo or placebo-walnut. Baseline data was collected for nonverbal reasoning, verbal reasoning, memory, and mood states. Data was collected again after eight weeks of intervention. After six-weeks of washout the intervention groups followed the diets in reverse order. Data was collected once more at the end of the eight-week intervention period. No significant increases were detected for mood, nonverbal reasoning, or memory on the walnut supplemented diet. However, inferential verbal reasoning increased significantly by 11.2%, indicating a medium effect size (P=0.009; d=0.567). In young adults, walnuts do not appear to improve memory, mood or nonverbal reasoning abilities. However, walnuts may have the ability to increase inferential reasoning.