Older people who added them to their diet for a few months dramatically increased levels of nutrients including magnesium and vitamin E.
Previous research has shown higher levels of the vitamin coincide with lower levels of cognitive decline. Hazelnuts are known to help fight heart disease and diabetes. And blood analysis also showed decreases in glucose and low-density lipoproteins, known as “bad” cholesterol.
Prof Maret Traber of Oregon State University, US, said: “All of which says hazelnuts are good for you. People don’t like taking multivitamins, but hazelnuts represent a multivitamin in a natural form.”
In the study, 32 people aged 55 and older ate two ounces of hazelnuts daily for 16 weeks. Colleague Dr Alex Michels added: “This is one of the first times this research has focused only on older adults.”
The findings were published in the Journal of Nutrition and part-funded by the Hazelnut Marketing Board of Oregon. About 850,000 people in the UK have dementia, set to rise to two million by 2050.
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