The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
Eating walnuts on a regular basis could benefit the cognitive development of adolescents and contribute to their psychological maturation. These are some of the conclusions reached by a study led by the Institut d’Investigació Sanitària Pere Virgili (IISPV), in which ISGlobal (a center promoted by “la Caixa” Foundation) and the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) have collaborated. This is unprecedented research; while there have been previous studies on the effect of nuts on our health, the impact of their consumption at such a critical stage for cognitive development as adolescence has never been examined.
Walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic fatty acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 that plays a fundamental role in brain development, especially at this life stage.
In the study, which has been published in the journal eClinicalMedicine, 700 secondary school students between 11 and 16 years of age from 12 different high schools in Barcelona participated voluntarily. They were randomly divided into two groups: the control group, which received no intervention of any kind, and the experimental group, which received sachets containing 30 grams of walnut kernels, indicating to the young people who participated that they could consume them daily for a period of 6 months.
The research team found that adolescents who ate walnuts for at least 100 days (not necessarily continuously every day) increased their attention functions, and those who had some symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) improved their behavior significantly (in class, they paid more attention to the teacher and were less hyperactive).