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Walnut: Brain Food Extraordinaire

Updated on January 28, 2014

Could walnuts be the ultimate brain food? If so, eating just 2 walnuts a day could potentially keep your brain healthy and free from degenerative diseases like Alzheimers. Whether you are interested in keeping mentally sharp regardless of age, strengthening your brain to score well on your tests or warding off genetic history of mental ailments, what you are about to learn here about walnuts will be fascinate you enough to make this nut your favourite.

Walnut looks like a brain - so it's good for the brain?

If you examine carefully, the shape of the walnut is rather similar to the shape of the human brain. The shape, not the size, mind you. It's divided into two hemispheres, just like the brain with the right and left hemispheres. The front and back parts of the walnut look like the frontal cerebrum and the lower cerebellum. It also has deep groves and folds, just like the brain.
All nuts are tiny storehouses containing a myriad of nutrients in one small serving. Nuts are probably the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet, with regard to size. But research through the years has shown that walnuts are particularly good for the brain. Let's explore the main nutrients in walnuts below:

Nutrient
Benefit for Brain and Central Nervous System
Omega 3 fatty acids
Highly concentrated in the brain, reduces bipolar symptoms, prevents depression, improves behavioral symptoms and reduces ADHD, prevents and reduces neuropathic pain caused by injuries to the sensory system, reduces risk of cognitive decline, including Dementia and Alzheimer's,
Vitamin E
Lessens risk of coginitive delay as you grow old, reduces the chances of stroke-related brain cell injuries
Fiber
Suprisingly, fiber is one of the most important nutrients for the brain! prevents sugar spikes in the blood, providing the brain with a steady supply of energy. Gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream ensures proper functioning of the brain.
Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium
Deficiency in these has been found to cause learning impairment
Walnuts, intact with shells. Walnuts are the ultimate brain food, and they have a wholesome nutritional profile too!
Walnuts, intact with shells. Walnuts are the ultimate brain food, and they have a wholesome nutritional profile too! | Source

Nutritional Content in Walnuts

Walnuts contain the following important minerals for both bodily and mental functioning. Below are the nutrients and their % Daily Values (%DV) per 1/4 cup of dry walnuts:

  1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids - 113% DV
  2. Copper - 53% DV
  3. Manganese - 51% DV
  4. Molybdenum - 19.6% DV
  5. Biotin - 19% DV

As you can see, walnuts may be small in size, but they sure are big in nutritional density as compared to other larger foods! A 1/4 cup (30gms) of walnuts contains 196 calories though - the equivalent of 3 eggs (150gms).

A shelled and unshelled walnut, side by side. Notice how they look like the human brain, both when shelled and unshelled.
A shelled and unshelled walnut, side by side. Notice how they look like the human brain, both when shelled and unshelled. | Source

Walnuts Could be the Ultimate Brain Food

Walnuts contain vitamins like Vitamin E, an often overlooked mineral, especially for brain health. 90% of Americans actually underconsume vitamin E, as it hasn't been well-marketed as fiber and Omega 3. However Vitamin E is highly important for brain health and proper function, as well as prevention and protection from brain cell damage. This is present in a high volume in walnuts, making it a true brain food.


A study conducted at Andrews University showed that participants who consumed walnuts for 60 days were found to have superior cognitive skills than their peers who didn't. Don't worry about the calories, just eat walnuts in moderation - about 7 per day, and you can enjoy their numerous benefits for the brain!

Apples could be the most versatile brain food available.
Apples could be the most versatile brain food available. | Source

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