As if you needed another reason to love peanut butter, new research from the University of Barcelona has shown that consuming this widely-loved spread can actually have a positive effect on your brain. While nuts like almonds and walnuts have been shown in past research to improve cognitive function, the peanut has been largely unresearched, as it belongs to the legume family and therefore was not factored into other ‘nut’ related studies.
This latest study has shown that both peanut butter and raw peanuts have a positive effect on immediate memory recall, though those who ate peanut butter saw a better improvement in overall memory function than those who ate the raw peanuts, or the control group. Of the three groups surveyed, those who incorporated peanuts into their diet also saw a reduction in depression, and those who ate the raw peanuts cited a decrease in anxiety over the 6 month testing period.
Researchers concluded that it’s the polyphenols—a naturally occurring compound found in peanuts and a variety of other foods such as apples and dark chocolate—that contributed to the increased cognitive performance and mental health of the participants in the study. Researchers state that the benefits of consuming peanuts apply to all age groups and the practice should be implemented into daily life wherever possible to improve brain function.