People who eat more than two portions of nuts a week in their forties, are 21% less likely to have impaired memory after the age of sixty. That’s according to a study published in Age and Ageing.
Eating nuts just once a week in middle age also makes you 19% less likely to have impaired cognitive function. Rich in a variety of nutrients, it’s thought they help reduce inflammation and boost blood flow.
Researchers at the National University of Singapore carried out a long-term study into diet and dementia. From 1993 to 2016, they tracked 17,000 people aged 40 and upwards. The researchers analysed how often each participant ate nuts and carried out repeat cognitive testing over the the years. Reduced cognitive function is an early warning sign of dementia.
The Singapore study supports other evidence that eating nuts can help protect against dementia. Researchers at the University of South Australia also found that they can help improve brain function in old age. Their study tracked 4,822 Chinese adults over the age of 55. They found that consuming two teaspoons ( around 10 grams) a day improved thinking, reasoning and memory.
Nuts are a good source of healthy fats and fibre. they are among the best sources of plant-based protein. They all have their individual nutritional benefits but for optimum health, moderation and variety is recommended. Some of the healthiest varieties are detailed here.
A word of caution:
Moderation is key as nuts are calorie dense. Have them as part of a balanced diet.
Be sure to always chew them well.
Some people find that nuts upset their digestive health. Eating too many can cause you to feel gassy, cramped, or bloated. They are also a common dietary allergy.
Aside from feeling better, there is evidence of significant improvement in brain and cognitive health when you change your diet, improve sleep, and increase your fitness. Reducing symptoms associated with stress, anxiety or depression can also make a huge difference!
An engaging and scientifically-validated cognitive assessment
Working with Cambridge Brain Sciences (CBS), I provide clients with a science and evidence-based means of quantitatively measuring how changes to your diet, sleep, and fitness routine can positively impact brain and cognitive health.
As well as understanding how your brain is functioning, you will be able to track how the changes you are making are impacting your brain. Importantly, you will be able to visualise improvements with objective and quantifiable information, presented in an easy to understand format. Brain health integrates very much with gut health and provides a great indicator of your overall health and wellbeing.
You can take the CBS brain and cognitive assessment as a one-off to get a snapshot of your cognitive health in any point in time. However, you will get far deeper insight if you take the assessments over a series of weeks or months; this enables us to determine meaningful change.
Who benefits from doing this cognitive test?
Everyone can benefit. It is especially helpful to those who want to track whether making the smallest changes to their diet, their sleep routine, or increasing their fitness levels, makes a difference to their brain health and overall wellness.
The CBS Health test facilitates a highly personalized approach to healthcare. It provides useful biomarkers to enable you to take a proactive and preventative approach to optimizing your health and wellbeing. I further support you with a nutritional and wellbeing programme tailored to your individual needs. We adapt this as required, during the course of the Cognitive Health programme and based on your test findings.
The CBS Health Test is not a diagnostic tool. However, it may be useful to clients with ADHD, Autism, Depression, Dyslexia, and Cognitive Impairment who wish to monitor progress from nutritional and other lifestyle changes.
What does the Cambridge Brain Sciences assessment entail?
You can relax because this isn’t an IQ test. We aren’t measuring IQ!
The tasks assess aspects of cognition including reasoning, memory, attention and verbal ability.
You are anonymously assessed against a sample of healthy control subjects. We factor in your age and gender.
CBS maintains a global normative database of more than 75,000 participants (built off of a larger database of 7 million+ completed tasks). This allows for detailed comparisons of individuals to specific populations.
On completion of the assessment, I share your individual CBS Health report and we discuss nutritional and lifestyle strategies for improvement. We schedule further tests at agreed intervals to monitor progress and assess meaningful change.
About Cambridge Brain Sciences
The Cambridge Brain Sciences (CBS) tasks were developed in the laboratory of Professor Adrian Owen OBE, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging (owenlab.org). Over 300 scientific studies have been run to date using the CBS tasks, yielding numerous publications in leading academic journals.
The tasks were validated in studies of patients, brain imaging studies of healthy volunteers and in several large-scale public studies involving tens of thousands of volunteers. They have proven to be efficient and sensitive measures of baseline cognitive capacity. For example, in one study, the results of the 30-minute Cambridge Brain Sciences battery were comparable to those of a standard 2-3 hour (paper and pencil) neuropsychological battery (WAIS-R) (Levine et al., 2013). In another recent study of mental capacity in the elderly, the CBS battery outperformed a standard task of cognitive abilities (the MoCA) (Brenkel et al., 2017). Finally, performance on the CBS battery is highly predictive of reasoning and problem solving abilities, as indexed by “classic” tasks such as Raven’s Matrices and the Cattell Culture Fair task (Hampshire et al., 2012).
How do we measure Meaningful Change?
The Meaningful Change Indicator compares the difference in an individual’s performance on any given task between two time points to the variability in repeated measurements that would occur in the absence of meaningful change. The latter is estimated from a sample of healthy control subjects. The reliable change index uses the test-retest reliability and the standard deviation of scores (measured in a control sample) of a task to describe the range of possible differences that occur in repeat task completions. If an individual’s change in performance from one time point to another is much larger than what is expected due to chance, then one can conclude that there was meaningful change.
Assessing meaningful change requires data to be obtained in a control sample. Cambridge Brain Sciences has a database of over 8 million test scores, and their normative database consists of more than 75,000 individuals. The interval between self-administered repeated assessments ranges from less than a day, to more than a month. This massive database allows Cambridge Brain Sciences to characterize in the general population how performance on every task fluctuates naturally across a range of intervals. Cambridge Brain Sciences are therefore able to quantify the bounds of what constitutes a meaningful change for every task.