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Pecans: a natural sleep aid

By Sari Huhtala

Trouble sleeping? Pecans top the list of nuts that may help promote deep sleep, according to a study by researchers at California-based Loma Linda University.

Researchers at the university sought to examine how the consumption of nuts influences human brain activity.

Brain activity, through an electroencephalogram (EEG), was measured in study participants who regularly consumed walnuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds, cashews and peanuts.

Nuts are high in flavonoids, which can have a positive effect on memory and learning as the flavonoids can affect the hippocampus part of the brain, researchers say. Nut consumption can improve blood flow to the brain, and promote the birth of new neurons, they say.

Different types of nuts increased delta and gamma waves by varying frequencies in the brain. Gamma waves are linked to perception, REM sleep and the processing of information, while delta waves are tied to a healthy immune response and deep sleep.

Pecans topped the list of nuts highest in increasing both delta and gamma waves. Pistachios created the highest levels of gamma waves. Walnuts had the highest antioxidant level, followed by pecans and cashews.

The study was published in The FASEB Journal.

Photo credit: ©[iPandastudio] via Canva

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