Eating walnuts may lower depression risk

More than 26,000 American adults were asked about their dietary intake over the course of one to two days as well as depression symptoms over the past two weeks.

Published: 08th February 2019 03:09 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th February 2019 03:09 PM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only.

By PTI

LOS ANGELES: Consuming walnuts may lower the prevalence and frequency of depression, and improve concentration levels, according to a study carried out in American adults.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the US found that depression scores were 26 per cent lower for walnut consumers and eight per cent lower for consumers of other nuts, compared to those who did not eat nuts at all.

ALSO READ | Being around dogs, cats might help cure depression, cancer

The study, published in the journal Nutrients, found that walnut consumption was more closely associated with higher energy levels and better concentration, compared to other nuts.

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every six adults will have depression at some time in their life. It is important to find low-cost interventions, such as dietary changes, that are easy to implement and may help reduce the incidence of depression," said lead investigator Lenore Arab, from UCLA.

"Walnuts have previously been investigated for their role in cardiovascular and cognitive health, and now we see an association with depression symptoms -- providing another reason to include them in a healthy eating plan," Arab said.

Researchers examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which draws from a large sampling of the US population.

More than 26,000 American adults were asked about their dietary intake over the course of one to two days as well as depression symptoms over the past two weeks.

Using a widely accepted questionnaire, participants ranked how often they experienced factors such as little interest in doing things, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, feeling tired or having little energy, and trouble concentrating on things.

According to the findings, walnut consumers were more likely to have a greater interest in activities, higher energy levels, less hopelessness, better concentration, and greater optimism.

Depression scores were significantly lower among those who consumed nuts, particularly walnuts, compared to those who did not consume nuts, even after controlling for age, sex, race, income, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol consumption, and marital status.

On average, walnut consumers ate about 24 grams of walnuts per day, equivalent to one-quarter cup serving.

While the association between nut consumption and depression scores was consistent for men and women, the effect appeared to be strongest among women, who are more likely to report greater depressive symptoms and use of antidepressants, compared to men.

When compared to other tree nuts, walnuts have a unique fatty acid profile -- they contain mostly polyunsaturated fats, including a significant amount of the plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (2.5g/28 grams),which is more than any other nut, researchers said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Health news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp