College students who are stressed may want to add walnuts to their daily diet in the weeks leading up to their next exam.
A new clinical trial in college undergraduates showed that walnut consumption had a positive impact on self-reported measures of mental health and biomarkers of general health.
University of South Australia study published in journal nutrientsalso suggest that walnuts may counteract the effects of academic stress on the gut microbiome during periods of stress, especially for women.
Principal investigators, PhD student Mauritz Herselman and associate professor Larisa Bobrovskaya, said the results show growing evidence linking walnuts to improved brain and gut health.
“Students experience academic stress throughout their studies, which has a negative impact on their mental health, and are especially vulnerable during exams,” says Herselman.
Eighty college students divided into treatment and control groups were clinically evaluated at three intervals at the beginning of the 13-week college semester, during the study period, and two weeks after the study period. People in the treatment group were given to consume walnuts daily at these three intervals for 16 weeks.
“We found that those who consumed about half a cup of walnuts daily showed improvements in self-reported mental health measures. It showed an improvement in quality.”
Control group students reported increased levels of stress and depression leading up to the exam, whereas treatment group students did not. They reported a significant decrease in depression-related feelings between the first and last visit.
Previous research has shown that walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone), polyphenols, folic acid, and vitamin E, all of which promote a healthy brain and gut.
“The World Health Organization recently stated that at least 75% of mental health disorders affect people under the age of 24, making undergraduates particularly vulnerable to mental health problems,” Herselman said. say.
Associate Professor Larisa Bobrovskaya says mental health disorders are common among college students and can negatively impact a student’s academic performance and long-term physical health.
“Not only does walnut consumption during stressful times improve mental health and general well-being in college students, it is a healthy and delicious snack, a versatile ingredient in many recipes, and is a versatile ingredient in academic studies. It has shown that it can combat the negative effects of psychological stress, says Associate Professor Bobrovskaya.
“Because of the small number of men in this study, more research is needed to establish walnut’s sex-dependent effects and academic stress in college students.” You may have.”
For more information on this study, read Healthy Brain Food for Stressed College Students.
Reference: “Effects of Walnuts and Academic Stress on Mental Health, General Well-Being, and Gut Microbiota in a Sample of College Students: A Randomized Clinical Trial” by Mauritz F. Herselman, Sheree Bailey, Permal Deo and Xin-Fu Zhou , Kate M. Gunn, Larisa Bobrovskaya, 11 Nov 2022, nutrients.
It is co-authored by UniSA PhD student Mauritz Herselman and colleagues from the Clinical and Health Sciences and Allied Health and Human Performance Academic Unit at the University of South Australia.
This study was co-funded by the California Walnut Commission.