Are You Going Nuts?
It could help your brain power!
By Elaine Wilkes, Ph.D., M.A., N.C., LEED
Have you ever really looked at a walnut? The ancients observed that the meat of the walnut is encased in a hard protective shell, just like the “meat” of the human brain is encased in a hard protective skull. Furthermore, when you break open a walnut shell, the nut inside contains two halves resembling the brain’s two hemispheres. When you take the walnut out of the shell, it resembles the brain even more.
Nature’s Secret Message: Nature engages our imagination by offering us clues about the benefits of specific foods.
Interestingly, even our language relates this nut to the brain. For example, we say that someone is “driving us nuts,” “going nuts,” or a “total nutcase.”
Ancient people believed that because of the uncanny resemblance, walnuts must be beneficial for the human brain in some way. And this wasn’t a nutty concept! Today, walnuts are on many top-ten “superfood” lists because research shows that they contain beneficial omega-3 fats, which support brain function, increase memory, and help manage hyperactivity, depression, and even autism. The body can’t manufacture omega-3 fats, so we must get them from food sources such as nuts.
Among almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, walnuts, and pecans, can you guess which one has the largest amount of brain-enriching omega-3 fats? You’ve got it—the walnut! And here’s another fascinating coincidence: the brain and walnut are both made up of about 68 percent fat. (So if someone calls you a fathead, take it as a compliment!)