Walnuts could be key to a better mood — at least for men, say researchers who authored a new study that focused on consumption by college students.
In a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial with walnuts over a period of eight weeks, University of New Mexico nutrition professor Peter Pribis observed a significant improvement in mood in young, healthy males, ages 18 to 25. The results were published in an article on UNM's website.
Participants were asked to eat three slices of banana bread every day for 16 weeks; eight weeks of banana bread with walnuts, and eight weeks of banana bread without walnuts. The nuts were finely ground into the dough so the two banana breads were similar in taste and appearance, and the amount of walnuts was equal to one-half cups. The mood of the students was measured at the end of each eight-week period.
"We used a validated questionnaire called Profiles of Mood States (POMS)," says Pribis. "It is one of the most widely used and accepted mood scales in studies on cognition. The test has six mood domains: tension, depression, anger, fatigue, vigor, confusion and also provides a 'total mood disturbance' score. The lower the TMD score, the better the mood. There was a meaningful, 28 percent improvement of mood in young men. However, we did not observe any improvement of mood in females. Why this is we do not know."
But Pribis advises all to eat a diet rich in walnuts, regardless: "Eat more walnuts. This is an easy intervention. They're not only good for your mood, but overall health as well. The recommended amount is one handful per day."
Walnuts are a good source of vitamin E, melatonin (which regulates sleep), heart healthy omega-3 fats, and antioxidants, which could play a role in mood regulation.
© 2021 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.