Aging gracefully can seem like an impossible endeavor. As we get older, it’s easy to become nervous and overwhelmed as we’re trying to figure out what our bodies need. Luckily for us, scientists are doing a lot of research these days into healthy aging — and a recent discovery tells us that eating just two servings of walnuts each week could help you beat the clock.
The 2020 study published in the Journal of Aging Research gave us insight into the health of about 34,000 women that were in their 50s and early 60s from the Nurses Health Study. The researchers aimed to find out how nut consumption affects aging, and the women were asked questions about their diets, activity levels, physical health, memory, history of chronic diseases, and more over a four-year period.
For the study, the researchers determined differences between what they would consider “healthy” aging versus “usual” aging based on these factors. According to the study, those considered healthy agers “had sound mental health along with no major chronic diseases, memory issues, or physical disabilities.” Any of the subjects who fell into one or more of these classifications were considered usual agers.
The researchers also asked the women specifically about their consumption of walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts. They collected data on how often the women ate nuts and which nuts they ate, assessing nut-based foods like peanut butter separately.
By the end of the study, the researchers found that 16 percent of the women could be considered healthy agers. And after analyzing the data from this population, they concluded that the more nuts that were consumed, the more a woman was likely to become a healthy ager. Even more interestingly, consuming walnuts specifically was most associated with being a healthy ager — and these results showed with women who ate as little as two one-ounce servings of walnuts per week!
These results might not come as much of a surprise. Walnuts are chock-full of important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. What’s more, previous studies have demonstrated the healthy boosting powers of walnuts. For example, we know that consuming walnuts is linked to better heart health, brain health, and even gut health, which probably explains why it’s such a good food for aging gracefully. So if you’re feeling hungry for a snack this afternoon, grab a handful of age-fighting walnuts and you can be certain that you’re doing something good for your body — today and in the long-term!