Tag Archives: Squirrels

Nuts to dementia…

Squirrels aren’t quite as ‘squirrelly’ as you might think. In fact, research conducted at the University of Exeter has shown that their memory for the locations of hidden nuts is excellent. My granddaughter agrees. She loves squirrels. We were watching a couple of them racing, chasing and hiding nuts in our backyard one day. I remarked that it must be hard for them to remember where all they hid them. She assured me that the little grey guys actually have very good memories.  She is 11 now, but if she wishes to attend college in the UK, perhaps the University of Exeter would be a good choice.

Chuckles, one of our backyard squirrels waiting for Wayne to toss a few peanuts his way.
Chuckles, one of our backyard squirrels waiting for Wayne to toss a few peanuts his way.

The findings, according to an article published in ScienceDaily states, “Previous research at Exeter has shown that their memory for the locations of hidden nuts is excellent,” said co-author Professor Stephen Lea, of the University of Exeter.

I wonder if the secret to their good memory is found in the nuts. A study conducted by  the University of South Australia concluded that Brains are Nuts about Nuts. It goes on to state that “Long-term, high nut consumption could be the key to better cognitive health in older people.” The recommended amount is two teaspoons per day, so even though nuts are high in (good) fat, two teaspoons seem worth a modification in our diets to achieve better brain benefits. As a bonus, the article also includes a chart detailing the benefits of 10 different nuts.

One of our backyard squirrels waiting for Wayne to toss a few peanuts his way.
Mirth, another one of our backyard squirrels waiting for Wayne to toss a few peanuts his way.

That’s really good news for me, as I am a bit nuts about nuts myself. My husband and I eat a couple of brazil nuts every morning. We also eat almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds on a regular basis. It is also good news for the cute and rascally squirrels that live in our backyard. My husband tosses out a few peanuts to them every morning – and if he somehow forgets, they come up to our patio and try to look through our glass doors.

We enjoy watching them so much, that we’ve even named a few that we see on a regular basis. Their names are Mirth and Chuckles – their daily antics fit their names as they continually try different ways to get into our bird feeders. They have even taken several rides on a bird feeder my sister gave us. We call it Squirrel-a-Twirll. Since squirrels are heavier than birds, when they grab the perch trying to get to the seeds, it begins spinning around. It doesn’t hurt the squirrels and is hilarious to watch!

This is all good news, right? But wait, there’s more! An article published in VeryWell Health   includes a study suggesting it may be possible that eating nuts can help reverse cognitive loss symptoms that are already present. Even though the study was conducted using mice, it’s a start and it offers hope. Besides, unless you have a nut allergy, adding a few nuts to your daily diet can’t possibly hurt and may even help.

Laughter is good for the brain as well. Take a ‘chuckle break’ and watch “Mission Impossible Squirrel“.