Effects of walnuts (Juglans regia) on learning and memory functions.
Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2011 Nov ;66(4):335-40. PMID: 22048906
Walnut has been regarded as a health food that is delicious and nutritious. Both preventive and therapeutic effects of walnut are well documented. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are reported to have beneficial effects on brain function. The present work was designed to evaluate the effects of walnuts on learning and memory in male rats. The effect of oral intake of walnut was also monitored on food intake. Walnut was given orally to rats for a period of 28 days. Memory function in rats was assessed by elevated plus maze (EPM) and radial arm maze (RAM). A significant improvement in learning and memory of walnut treated rats compared to controls was observed. Walnut treated rats also exhibited a significant decrease in food intake while the change ingrowth rate (in terms of percentage) remained comparable between the two groups. Analysis of brain monoamines exhibited enhanced serotonergic levels in rat brain following oral intake of walnuts. The findings suggest that walnut may exert its hypophagic and nootropic actions via an enhancement of brain 5-HT metabolism.