This is nuts!
A recent study suggests that eating nuts could have some surprising mental health benefits.
The study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, found that eating about 30 grams of nuts every day can help lower the risk of depression in adults.
“Our findings highlight yet another benefit of consuming nuts, with a 17% decrease in depression associated with nut consumption,” lead author Bruno Bizzozero-Peroni, from the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain, said. “This provides an even stronger rationale for people to become enthusiastic about consuming nuts.”
Participants included more than 13,500 people in the UK between the ages of 37 and 73 who did not have a depression diagnosis at the start of the study.
Depression — which was defined in the study as “a self-reported physician diagnosis of depression or antidepressant use” — was assessed by the researchers both at the start of the study and in the follow-up.
All nut consumption was recorded, including unsalted nuts, such as almonds, cashews and pistachios, salted nuts, roasted nuts and peanuts.
“This study analyzed the prospective association between nut consumption and the risk of depression in a large sample of middle-aged and older adults in the UK,” the authors wrote in the journal.
Researchers examined participants’ data over the course of five years, and 8% of the subjects were diagnosed with depression during that time.
The study found that low to moderate nut consumption — the equivalent of a daily serving of 30 grams — was linked to a 17% decrease in the risk of depression compared to the participants who did not eat nuts.
One serving of 30 grams of nuts is the equivalent of 20 almonds, 10 Brazil nuts, 15 cashews, 40 peanuts or 30 pistachio kernels.
These findings remained true even after looking at lifestyle and health factors, with the researchers noting that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects nuts have on the brain could be the reason for the outcome.
“Our results highlight the potential role of nut consumption as a healthy dietary behavior to prevent depression in those free of other known risk factors for depression such as obesity, unhealthy lifestyle behaviors loneliness and medical conditions,” study authors said.
“Since diet is a modifiable lifestyle factor, future long-term clinical trials should evaluate whether nut consumption is an effective strategy to prevent depression in adults.”
Earlier this year, Scandinavian researchers found that eating a small amount of nuts and seeds every day can reduce the risk of a heart attack and strokes, according to a study published in the Food Nutrition Research journal.
The team of scientists behind the study said “the more the better,” though eating just a few nuts is better than none — and can boost your heart health significantly.