FOLSOM, California, May 5 /PRNewswire/ --

WHAT: New research published in the British Journal of Nutrition found a diet containing as much as 6% walnuts (equivalent to 1 oz in humans) was able to reverse age-related motor and cognitive deficits in aged rats. The researchers believe that walnuts may have the ability to protect the brain by quenching the age- related free radicals, as well as promote neuronal communication and growth of new neurons. They concluded that adding walnuts to your diet may increase health span and provide a longevity dividend by delaying the onset of debilitating neurogenerative disease. British Journal of Nutrition (2009),101,1140-1144: Dose- dependent effects of walnuts on motor and cognitive function in aged rats. onlineaid=5465528

WHO: Interview Available: - James Joseph, Ph.D. - Researcher/Neuroscientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Researcher Center on Aging at Tufts University Researcher Dr. James Joseph believes these findings show great promise for future studies looking into fighting age related degeneration of motor and cognitive abilities through foods such as walnuts. Considering the numerous compounds found in walnuts: essential fatty acids, the plant-based omega-3 alpha linolenic acid (ALA), polyphenols and antioxidants, these results are not surprising, says Dr. Joseph. In fact, he believes adding just 7 to 9 walnuts a day to an otherwise healthy diet may help older people improve cognitive skills. WHY: According to the CDC, among Americans 65 years and older, one in four experiences cognitive decline, approximately 6-10% have dementia, and two-thirds of people with dementia have Alzheimer's disease(1). Although research has not found a way to prevent dementia or Alzheimer's disease, cognitive decline may be preventable. Recent studies suggest that consuming specific foods, being physically active and engaging in social activities may help you maintain and improve your cognitive health. (1)

Kaley Todd, MS, RD, +1-415-956-1791, ext. 234, cell, +1-847-732-5878,, or Sarah Matthews, +1-415-956-1791, ext. 232, cell, +1-415-350-4688,, both of Torme Lauricella Public Relations for California Walnut Commission