(NaturalHealth365) Walnuts are already known for their high omega-3 antioxidant content and their ability to suppress cravings by promoting a feeling of satiety. But, if you’re looking for more weight loss – there’s even greater news about this potent health food.
Research out of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has confirmed observable (positive) changes in the brain when walnuts are eaten – versus placebo.
As you may know, there is a specific area of the brain associated with cravings and hunger. The BIDMC researchers determined that eating walnuts activates this area, regulating hunger pangs and showing a definite neurocognitive impact on the brain.
The study results were published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
Weight loss NEWS: Walnuts act like a natural appetite suppressant
Different foods impact our brains in different ways. People report feeling fuller longer after eating walnuts than most other foods. Now there is confirmation of the benefits of walnuts for weight loss in terms of brain activity.
For the research, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to watch brain activity during and right after subjects consumed walnuts. The 10 volunteers studied all had an issue with obesity.
The research was conducted over two 5-day periods in-house at the BIDMC Clinical Research Center. And, their diet and nutritional intake was monitored very closely.
Each day of one of the 5-day study periods, the volunteers consumed a smoothie containing 48 grams of walnuts – the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended serving. On the other 5 days, they drank a walnut-free placebo smoothie that tasted the same and was otherwise nutritionally comparable.
The order of the two sessions was conducted randomly and blindly; neither the researchers nor the subjects knew which smoothie they were drinking at any given time.
Eating walnuts stimulates the brain to reduce food cravings
Participants reported feeling less hungry during the 5-day period when they consumed smoothies containing walnuts versus the placebo smoothies. The fMRI tests were administered on the fifth day and gave the researchers a clear reason why.
While in fMRI machine, study participants viewed images of desirable foods, neutral objects and less desirable foods. When viewing highly desirable foods after the 5-day walnut-rich diet, fMRI imaging showed significantly increased activity in the right insula, the center for cognitive control and satiety.
This indicates a feeling of fullness and reduced cravings.
The researchers plan to test different portion amounts of walnuts going forward as well as other foods for their satiety quotient. This research could lead to new, effective treatments for obesity and weight management. Meanwhile, you may want to consider making walnuts a daily snack to help control cravings – if needed.
Benefits of walnuts go beyond weight loss and natural appetite suppressant
In addition to weight management benefits, walnuts have also been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth and initiate apoptosis, or cell death, while protecting healthy cells. This is due to their content of two extremely potent phytonutrients.
UC Davis researchers found walnuts helped slow prostate cancer growth in mice. Other studies have found eating two small handfuls of walnuts (daily) reduced breast cancer risk by half.
Walnuts also bring benefits to persons with high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.
Walnuts are truly a delicious snack on their own and can also be chopped up and added to salads or your morning oatmeal. One word of caution: some individuals may find nuts and seeds hard to digest (especially in their raw – unsprouted form) – so limit yourself to no more than ¼ cup per day.
Editor’s note: My favorite (personal) source for buying nuts (online) is LivingNutz.com. They are delicious! (and, just so you know, I do not get paid for this recommendation)
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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