Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adding Walnuts To Good Diet May Help Older People Improve Motor And Behavioral Skills

Date:
April 25, 2009
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Adding a moderate, but not high, amount of walnuts to an otherwise healthy diet may help older individuals improve performance on tasks that require motor and behavioral skills, according to an animal model study. Walnuts contain polyphenols and other antioxidants and essential fatty acids.

Adding a moderate, but not high, amount of walnuts to an otherwise healthy diet may help older individuals improve performance on tasks that require motor and behavioral skills.
Credit: iStockphoto/Alex Bramwell

Adding a moderate, but not high, amount of walnuts to an otherwise healthy diet may help older individuals improve performance on tasks that require motor and behavioral skills, according to an animal model study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS)-funded scientists. Walnuts contain polyphenols and other antioxidants and essential fatty acids.

The study was conducted by researchers with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University in Boston, Mass.

Neuroscientist James Joseph, psychologist Barbara Shukitt-Hale and coauthors Lauren Willis and Vivian Cheng reported the study in the British Journal of Nutrition. They are with the HNRCA's Neuroscience Laboratory. ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The aging brain undergoes many changes that can result in altered or impaired neuronal functioning. Such disruption can be attributed in part to alterations in "synaptic plasticity," or the ability of the connections between neurons to change in strength and function, and also by increased oxidative damage to neural tissue. In aged rodents, these impairments are seen as poor performance on age-sensitive tests of balance, coordination, and "spatial" working memory.

For the study, weight-matched, aged rats were randomly assigned to one of four diet groups. For eight weeks, the rats were fed special chow mixes that contained either 2 percent, 6 percent or 9 percent walnuts-or no walnuts-before undergoing motor and memory tests. For comparison, the 6 percent walnut study diet is equivalent to a human eating 1 ounce, or about 7 to 9 walnuts, a day. That counts as both a 2-ounce equivalent from the "meat and beans group" and 2 teaspoons toward a daily allowance of dietary oil, as described at MyPyramid.gov.

The study found that in aged rats, the diets containing 2 percent or 6 percent walnuts were able to improve age-related motor and cognitive shortfalls, while the 9 percent walnut diet impaired reference memory. Walnuts, eaten in moderation, appear to be among other foods containing polyphenols and bioactive substances that exhibit multiple effects on neural tissue, according to the researchers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Adding Walnuts To Good Diet May Help Older People Improve Motor And Behavioral Skills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090419201207.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2009, April 25). Adding Walnuts To Good Diet May Help Older People Improve Motor And Behavioral Skills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090419201207.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Adding Walnuts To Good Diet May Help Older People Improve Motor And Behavioral Skills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090419201207.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins