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A handful of nuts a day keeps your mind healthy in old age: research

Researchers have found that eating only a handful of nuts each day keeps the brains of older people healthy.

The study found considerable cognitive benefits for people over 60 who ate a half-to-one serving of nuts each day.

"Eating a handful of nuts each day is a simple dietary strategy that improves cognitive performance for older adults, among many other already well-established health benefits," said study lead, Dr Sze-Yen Tan from Deakin University's Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN).

The research team analysed the nut intake and cognition of 1814 participants aged over 60 years. They found that the people who ate the serving of nuts every day had better cognitive function than those who did not.

The participants were measured on cognitive tasks such as immediate and delayed recall, verbal fluency, processing speed and attention.

However, nut consumption beyond the recommended daily intake of 30 grams per day did not further improve cognitive performance.

Dr Tan said a single serving of nuts is equivalent to around 20 almonds, 15 cashews, 10 Brazil nuts or 10 walnuts.

"We included all tree and ground nuts in our study, in both whole and butter forms and because all nuts have similar nutrient profiles, the findings are likely to be applicable across all nut types and forms," Tan said.

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