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.


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