Previously, I told you about a study that showed how walnuts can help protect your brain against Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that mice who were fed a “walnut-enriched diet” showed big improvements in how they learned new skills – and how they remembered those new skills.
Other studies have also shown that the antioxidants found in walnuts can help improve learning skills, memory, and coordination – and they may even help protect your brain from being damaged by the “plaques and tangles” that are so closely linked to Alzheimer’s.
The findings of these studies also have a slightly amusing side, since walnuts actually look like mini brains…
Healing your body’s ‘second brain’
And now, new research has found that walnuts aren’t just good for your brain, it turns out that they can also help protect your “second” brain – your gut.
Researchers fed the human equivalent of about a half cup of ground walnuts a day to rats over the course of 10 weeks. By the end of the study, the rats who feasted on walnuts saw new populations of beneficial gut bacteria explode in their digestive tracts.
We already know that having a healthy balance of gut bacteria is linked to better overall health, while a depleted population of gut bacteria can set you up for obesity and inflammatory bowel disease.
What’s more, the walnut eating rats also had a boost in the number of certain “good” strains of bacteria in their guts, including one in particular known for contributing to healthy digestion, called Lactobacillus.
The theory is that walnuts can act as a “prebiotic,” fuelling the friendly bacteria in your gut with what they need to grow and thrive.
In fact, the positive changes that walnuts can bring about in your gut might even explain their positive impact on your brain, since we’re only beginning to learn more about the gut-brain connection.
The more than 100 million nerve cells that line your gastrointestinal tract from top to bottom not only control digestion but also immunity and even mood.
So, crack open some walnuts. They’re great on their own and also lend a nutty crunch to Greek yoghurt with fruit, fresh veggie salads, and savoury meat dishes.
Just stay away from sugar bombs like sugar-coated walnuts and walnut chocolate brownies.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Eating Walnuts May Keep Gut Happy: Study, newsmax.com/Health/Health-News/walnuts-gut-digestive-system/2017/07/25/id/803640/
Walnuts May Promote Health by Changing Gut Bacteria, sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170728100832.htm
Changes in the Gut Microbial Communities Following Addition of Walnuts to the Diet, sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286317301110?via%3Dihub