The Nutrient-Rich Food That Boosts Happiness 28%

One handful of this food a day can help improve mood.

One handful of this food a day can help improve mood.

Eating walnuts can improve mood by 28 percent, research finds.

The conclusions come from the first study of its kind on walnuts.

Professor Peter Pribis, who led the study, said:

“In the past, studies on walnuts have shown beneficial effects on many health outcomes like heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Our study was different because we focused on cognition, and in this controlled randomized trial (CRT) we measured mood outcomes in males and females.”

For the study, half of the participants ate walnuts, which had been ground into banana bread so they were impossible to see or taste.

The rest ate the banana bread unfortified with walnuts.

Participants in the study filled in a questionnaire about their moods.

Professor Pribis explained:

“We used a validated questionnaire called Profiles of Mood States (POMS).

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 (TMD).

The lower the TMD score the better the mood.”

After eight weeks of eating the banana bread with walnuts, men in the study saw a 28 percent improvement in their mood.

Professor Pribis explained:

“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.”

However, other studies have shown mood improvements among women after eating walnuts.

Walnuts contain all sorts of nutrients which may help to improve mood.

These include alpha-Linolenic acid, vitamin E, folate, polyphenols and melatonin.

Professor Pribis concluded that the research is clear:

“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.”

Walnut research

Previous studies have shown that:

The study was published in the journal Nutrients (Pribis, 2016).


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This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.

It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.