The university of Barcelona, Spain, has proven what many of us in the health and fitness market have known for years – eating just a handful of raw nuts will fight off any hunger you were feeling and give you a boost in your training that no so called ‘protein bar’ will ever give you.
As well as being packed with healthy fats and antioxidants the researchers found that raw and unpeeled nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds also increases our levels of serotonin.
Serotonin makes us feel happy, improves the health of our hearts AND lowers our appetite. Most of the drugs used to treat depression or anxiety disorders on the market today work by altering the bodies serotonin levels.
Cristina Andris-Lacueva, who led the research in collaboration with the Human Nutrition Unit of the Rovira i Virgili University said:
‘An increased excretion of serotonin metabolites was associated for the first time with nut consumption which raises the prospect of new intervention targets.’
The study involved placing 22 metabolic syndrome (MetS) patients on a diet that included nuts for 12 weeks and then comparing their serotonin levels with 20 other MetS patients who had stuck to a nut free diet.
The patients who had eaten 30 grams (approx. 1 handful) of mixed nuts each day had higher serotonin levels than those that didn’t.
Published in the Journal of Proteome Research, it is now hoped eating nuts for weight loss will help patients with MetS who will typically have excess stomach fat as well as high blood pressure and a high blood sugar count.
While on the subject of nuts for weight loss, an unrelated study by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) discovered that pistachios can also help you lose weight, not to mention they are good for the heart.
Researcher David Baer said:
‘Pistachios convey a variety of health benefits, including weight management support and cardiovascular support.’
If you are currently on The Man Made Diet or any other low carb, high protein diet then this research just backs up why you should be including nuts in your diet. Packed with protein but low on carbs, they are the perfect snack when you need something to keep you going until the next meal and for those of you currently following one of our workout plans for men, what better snack to have with you for those times when you are trying to push hard but feling yourself slowing?
Nuts to avoid at all costs – Salted, roasted and anything on a bar
Best nuts for weight loss – raw and unpeeled – just as nature intended but keep it to a handful a day
Source: The Daily Mail
Additional reading: Serotonin