Under stress before exams? Try eating walnuts to stay calm, says study

Exam stress is quite common, so irrespective of how much you study hard or prepare for it, you do get a bit jittery before seeing the question paper. Some might burn the midnight oil, others might spend time praying for the best result. But how about adding walnuts to your daily diet in the weeks leading up to your next exam? Walnut has been recognised for its nutritious properties over a long period of time, and it is also called a superfood as it gives enormous health benefits. Now, a study has found that walnut is a brain superfood, which is why stressed college students can think of eating it before sitting for their next exam.

Positive effects of eating walnuts on mental health and general health were seen in a new clinical trial of undergraduate students.

Walnuts may be good during exam stress

The study was done by the University of South Australia, and published in the journal Nutrients. It also suggested that walnuts may even counteract the effects of academic stress on the gut microbiota during stress, especially in girls. The results add to the growing evidence that links walnuts with improved brain as well as gut health, said lead researchers PhD student Mauritz Herselman and Associate Professor Larisa Bobrovskaya.

Dry fruits in summer
Walnut is a powerhouse of health benefits. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Walnuts have many health benefits. So to know more, Health Shots reached out to Haripriya. N, executive nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Old Mahabalipuram Road, Chennai.

Walnuts are full of nutrients

Some people start their day by having walnuts or munch on it as evening snacks. It’s tasty and has many nutrients. Haripriya says that walnut kernel is a rich source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and fats. It is also a good source of flavonoids, sterols, phenolic acids and related polyphenols. It also has a high amount of Omega-6 and Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are considered as essential dietary fatty acids.

Walnuts are beneficial for kids’ brain health

Walnuts are considered as gold mine when it comes to a child’s brain health. They have a significantly high concentration of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. The expert shared that among other things, DHA has been shown to protect brain health in toddlers, improve cognitive performance, and boost brain cell as well as development. According to her, just a quarter cup of walnuts provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of DHA.

Walnuts help to strengthen bones

Walnuts are packed with essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, folate, calcium, zinc and selenium which are bone nutrients that are needed for optimal growth of the child. While calcium strengthens their bones, iron manages the levels of hemoglobin, shared Haripriya. They also exhibit antioxidant properties which prevent free radical scavenging, boost immunity and fight against infections.

benefits of soaked walnuts
Walnuts may be good to deal with exam stress. Image Courtesy: Adobe Stock

The list of health benefits of walnuts doesn’t end here. They are also an excellent snack for fighting sugar cravings, thus helping you reduce your intake of excessive added sugar, shared the expert. They are also associated in enhancing the healthy bacteria located in the gut and even nourishing as well as maintaining the gut health.

Now that you know walnuts are highly nutrient-rich foods with several health benefits, you should include them in a healthy diet pattern. But Haripriya advised that if any hypersensitivity towards tree nuts persists, you must avoid eating walnuts. We all know that too much of anything is not good for health. She suggested that you should eat walnuts in moderation as its high consumption has been linked to diarrhea and weight gain.

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