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Top Five Nuts For Optimal Cognitive Function

As research continues to uncover the intricate relationship between nutrition and brain health, Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health cover, explores five nuts that stand out for their remarkable compounds that support cognitive function.


“There’s a reason why nutritionists go nuts over nuts. It’s remarkable to witness the growing body of evidence highlighting the positive impact that certain nuts can have on brain health. Diverse in nature, each variety of nuts possesses unique health advantages that set it apart,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


“Including a variety of nuts in your diet can provide a range of essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats crucial for optimal brain health. Nuts are also believed to protect against age-related cognitive decline.”


Affinity Health highlights the top five nuts that stand out for their remarkable benefits to brain health.


Walnuts have long been regarded as a brain superfood due to their high quantities of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are essential for brain function and have been linked to improved cognitive performance and reduced age-related cognitive decline. Moreover, walnuts are a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin E, and polyphenols, which help protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation.


Almonds are another nut that deserves a prime spot on your brain-boosting menu. Almonds, which are high in minerals like vitamin E, magnesium, and flavonoids, have been linked to improved memory and cognitive performance.

Vitamin E, in particular, is a potent antioxidant that protects the brain from free radicals, reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, the combination of healthy fats, fibre, and protein in almonds contributes to a steady release of energy, ensuring optimal brain function throughout the day.


Cashews are not only delicious but also offer several brain health benefits. These kidney-shaped nuts contain a significant amount of magnesium. This mineral plays a vital role in regulating brain function and mood.

A lack of magnesium has been linked to an increased risk of depression and cognitive deterioration. By incorporating cashews into your diet, you can maintain healthy magnesium levels and support your brain’s well-being and emotional balance.


With their vibrant green colour and irresistible taste, Pistachios offer an array of nutrients that make them an excellent choice for brain health. These nuts are high in antioxidants, including lutein and gamma-tocopherol, which have been linked to increased cognitive performance.

Pistachios also contain a unique combination of healthy fats, fibre, and B vitamins, including thiamine and vitamin B6, essential for optimal brain function and the production of neurotransmitters.

Brazil Nuts

Last but certainly not least, Brazil nuts stand out for brain health. These large nuts are a top-notch source of selenium. This mineral plays a crucial role in brain function and protection against oxidative stress.


Selenium is an antioxidant protecting the brain from damage caused by free radicals. Brazil nuts also provide an excellent source of healthy fats, vitamin E, and other essential minerals that support overall brain health and function.

How To Enjoy Nuts As Part Of A Balanced Diet

Incorporating these top five nuts into your daily routine can be done in various ways. They can be enjoyed as a quick and convenient snack or combined with dried fruits for a satisfying trail mix.


Nuts can also be sprinkled on salads, yoghurt, or oatmeal to add a delightful crunch and boost of brain-boosting nutrients.


Suppose you want to maximise the benefits of nuts for brain health. In that case, it is advisable to choose raw or dry-roasted varieties, as they contain fewer added oils and sodium than nuts roasted in oil or coated in sugary or salty coatings.


“While these five nuts have shown exceptional potential for brain health, it is important to remember that they are best consumed as part of a balanced diet that includes various nutrient-rich foods,” adds Hewlett.


“Remember, portion control is key, as nuts are calorie-dense. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian is recommended for personalised dietary advice.”

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health cover provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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