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Researchers have found that walnut consumption has positive effects on general health biomarkers and self-reported mental health measures in undergraduate students during their university studies.
In addition, walnuts may be able to counteract academic stress on the gut microbiota during stressful periods, particularly in female students, according to a study published in Nutrients. 1
This research adds to the body of evidence linking walnuts to improved gut and brain health, according to lead researchers Mauritz Herselman and Associate Professor Larisa Bobrovskaya. Herselman says students often suffer from academic stress during their studies, which negatively affects their mental health.
There were three clinical evaluations conducted on 80 undergraduate students, three at the beginning of a 13-week university semester, two weeks after the examination period, and once during the examination period.
These three intervals were separated into two groups for the treatment group. It was found that those who ate walnuts about half a cup a day experienced improved self-reported mental health indicators.
Students in the control group reported increased stress and depression leading up to exams while those in the treatment group reported improved metabolic biomarkers and overall sleep quality.”
Walnut consumers also showed improved metabolic biomarkers and overall sleep quality in the long term.” Walnut consumers reported a significant decrease in feelings associated with depression between their first and final visits, in comparison to control subjects.
In previous research, walnuts have been found to contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, melatonin (sleep inducing hormone), polyphenols, folate, and vitamin E.