A team of researchers from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University, Australia have studied the impact of consuming nuts on cognitive performance among older adults in the US.
The study included 1,814 participants all above the age of 60 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) 2011-2012 and 2014-2014 cohorts. Researchers monitored the participants’ nut intake and diet quality with two 24-hour diet recalls and split them into four groups considering their nut intake: non-consumers (0 g/d), low intake (0.1-15 g/d), moderate intake (15.1-30.0 g/d) or met recommendation (>30 g/d).
The Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease or CERAD test was used to evaluate the cognitive function of each participant. This included immediate and delayed recall, verbal fluency, and processing speed and attention.
The results of the study showed a consistent difference in cognitive performance between older adults who were in the non-consumers group and those in the moderate nut intake group. The lowest cognitive performance was found in older adults who did not consume any nuts and the highest scores were found in those who consumed 15.1 g/d and 30.0 g/d. It was noted that increasing consumption to over 30.0 g/d did not lead to higher cognitive performance compared to the moderate intake group.
In conclusion, the study suggests that moderate intake of nuts, equivalent to half to a serving of nuts, may aid and increase cognitive performance among older adults.
Lead investigator, Dr Sze-Yen Tan, said the findings confirmed the benefits of adhering to the current nut intake recommendation of 30g a day.
“Eating a handful of nuts each day is a simple dietary strategy that improves cognitive performance in for older adults, among many other already well-established health benefits,” he said.
This study was funded by the INC International Nut and Dried Fruit Council.
About the INC
The INC is the international umbrella organization for the nut and dried fruit industry. Its members include more than 850 nut and dried fruit sector companies from over 80 countries. INC membership represents over 85% of the world’s commercial “farm gate” value of trade in nuts and dried fruits. The INC’s mission is to stimulate and facilitate sustainable growth in the global nut and dried fruit industry. It is the leading international organization on health, nutrition, statistics, food safety, and international standards and regulations regarding nuts and dried fruits.