A higher nut consumption could be the key to better cognitive health in older people according to new research from the University of South Australia.
In a study of 4822 Chinese adults aged 55+ years, researchers found that eating more than 10 grams of nuts a day was positively associated with better mental functioning, including improved thinking, reasoning, and memory.
In this definitive guide, you’ll explore the latest research on the benefits of eating peanuts that can improve cognitive health.
Nuts and Mental Health in Ageing Chinese Adults
Lead researcher, UniSA’s Dr. Ming Li, says
The study is the first to report an association between cognition and nut intake in older Chinese adults, providing important insights into increasing mental health issues (including dementia) faced by an ageing population.”
“Population ageing is one of the most substantial challenges of the twenty-first century. Not only are people living longer, but as they age, they require additional health support which is placing unprecedented pressure on aged care and health services,” Dr. Li says.
“In China, this is a massive issue, as the population is aging far more rapidly than almost any other country in the world. “Improved and preventative health care – including dietary modifications – can help address the challenges that an aging population presents.
“By eating more than 10 grams (or two teaspoons) of nuts per day older people could improve their cognitive function by up to 60 percent– compared to those not eating nuts – effectively warding off what would normally be experienced as a natural two-year cognition decline.” Dr. Li says
“Peanuts have specific anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which can alleviate and reduce cognitive decline.”
How do Nuts Elevate Cognitive Health?
Nuts are known to be high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber with nutritional properties that can lower cholesterol and improve cognitive health. While there is no cure at present for age-related cognition decline and neurogenerative disease, variations in what people eat are delivering improvements for older people.
The World Health Organization estimates that globally, the number of people living with dementia is 47 million.
By 2030, this is projected to rise to 75 million and by 2050, global dementia cases are estimated to almost triple. China has the largest population of people with dementia.
The Role of Nutrition in Cognitive Resilience
As people age, they naturally experience changes in conceptual reasoning, memory, and processing speed. This is all part of the normal aging process; however, age is also the strongest known risk factor for cognitive disease. Thus finding ways to help older people retain their cognitive health and independence for longer is imperative, modifying their diet is a good start and absolutely worth the effort.
Research taken from the University of South Australia – Dr li and Dr Shi published in January 2019
Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.