New research has found that eating nuts on a regular basis strengthens brain wave frequencies associated with cognition, healing, learning, memory, and other key brain functions.
Researchers at Loma Linda University in California found that some nuts stimulated some brain frequencies more than others.
Pistachios, for instance, produced the greatest gamma wave response, which is critical for enhancing cognitive processing, information retention, learning, perception, and rapid eye movement during sleep.
Peanuts, which are actually legumes, but were still part of the study, produced the highest delta response, which is associated with healthy immunity, natural healing, and deep sleep.
While researchers found variances between the six nut varieties tested, all of them were high in beneficial antioxidants, with walnuts containing the highest antioxidant concentrations of all, according to the study’s principal investigator, Lee Berk, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., associate dean for research at the LLU School of Allied Health Professions.
Previous studies have demonstrated that nuts benefit the body in several significant ways: protecting the heart, fighting cancer, reducing inflammation, and slowing the aging process.
But Berk believes too little research has focused on how they affect the brain.
“This study provides significant beneficial findings by demonstrating that nuts are as good for your brain as they are for the rest of your body,” he said, adding that he expects future studies will reveal that they make other contributions to the brain and nervous system as well.
For this study, Berk assembled a team of 13 researchers to explore the effects of regular nut consumption on brainwave activity.
The research team developed a pilot study using subjects who consumed almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts.
Electroencephalograms (EEG) were taken to measure the strength of brainwave signals. EEG wave band activity was then recorded from nine regions of the scalp associated with cerebral cortical function, the researchers explained.
An abstract of the study, which was presented in the nutrition section of the Experimental Biology 2017 meetings, was published in The FASEB Journal.