Lead researcher Thomas Shea of the Center for Cellular Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell carried out a number of laboratory studies on three groups of mice especially bred to demonstrate a decline in motor neuron function.
The researchers found mice fed a diet supplemented with ground pecans had a significant delay in decline in motor function compared to mice receiving no pecans. Mice eating the diet with the most pecans -- 0.05 percent -- fared best.
Results were based on how the mice on the control diet vs. those on the pecan-enriched diet performed in specific tests.
The study, published in Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, suggests pecans contain a high amount of a natural antioxidants that help fight against cell damage.
"These findings suggest regular consumption of pecans may provide significant nutritive and antioxidant benefits for your body," Shea said in statement.
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