The consumption of nuts could help to boost levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, possibly leading to improved heart health, decreased feelings of hunger and increased well-being in people suffering from metabolic syndrome. The research, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, reports a link between eating nuts and higher levels of serotonin in the bodies of patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS). The Spanish researchers found that just one ounce of mixed nuts—raw unpeeled walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts—per day resulted in increased excretion of serotonin metabolites in the urine.
The researchers pointed out that the study provides the first evidence in humans of the beneficial effects of nut consumption in reducing levels of substances in the body associated with inflammation and other cardiovascular risk factors in patients with metabolic syndrome.
Andres-Lacueva and her team explained that the rise in obesity around the world means more and more patients are suffering from metabolic syndrome—the symptoms of which include excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar and high blood pressure, all of which increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Serotonin is a substance that helps transmit nerve signals and decreases feelings of hunger, makes people feel happier and improves heart health. They added that previous research has suggested that dietary changes—including the regular consumption of nuts—may help patients with MetS shed excess weight and become healthier.
Journal of Proteome Research; 10(11):5047-5058, 2010
I always suggest nuts as a snack. They provide many different vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Yes nuts have fat in them, but most nuts are full of the good fats and lower in the bad fats. If you know me, then you know I’m about low carb and not low fat diets.
Griel et al, showed that supplementing the diet for 4- weeks with nuts has tremendous benefits on lipid profiles, especially LDL cholesterol. They concluded that not only was the mono and polyunsaturated fats important in lowering cholesterol, but that nuts have may have other compounds that help alter the cholesterol levels.
Jiang et al, concluded that a diet rich in nuts can also help reduce the risk of developing Diabetes. One of the bigger concerns in this study was the level of obesity of the participants, because obesity is a higher indicator of risk for developing diabetes, but they found that increasing dietary intake of nuts did not alter body weight at all.
WHAT ABOUT ALLERGIES? If you are allergic to nuts, you are s@#* out of luck, and will obviously need to avoid them.
WHAT ABOUT WEIGHT GAIN? Sure, extra weight gain can occur from eating too many nuts – remember I’m recommending nuts as a snack, not making a meal out of them. To me a snack means around 15.
Typical nuts have higher than normal levels of the good fats, which are mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Nuts are lower in saturated fats, which are the fat’s that lead to altered cholesterol levels and excess weight gain.
Not only do nuts have the potential to help lower cholesterol and prevent metabolic disorders, but nuts can also have a satiety effect on the body. Satiety refers to the satisfaction that happens when we eat a meal and feel full or satisfied.
Nuts should be a staple in everyone’s diets (except of course people who have severe allergic reactions to nuts) for the cardio-protective effects of the healthy fat levels, the satisfaction of ingesting a healthy snack and finally the potential benefits.
I recommend Macadamia nuts and marcona almonds – relax, be primal!