Metabolic syndrome is a well studied and documented group of biomarkers and physical observations that are known to preclude many chronic and potentially life-threatening diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Researchers reporting in the Journal of Proteome Research have uncovered a critical link between eating nuts and higher levels of serotonin in the bodies of patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS) who are at high risk for heart disease.
Serotonin is a chemical signaling compound found in the brain that helps transmit nerve signals and can decrease feelings of hunger, boosting spirits and helping people feel happier. The findings indicate that just one ounce of nuts eaten daily is enough to produce the health-promoting benefits.
Nut Consumption Increases Serotonin Levels to Prevent Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms
The explosion of the obesity epidemic around the world is leading to an exponential rise in metabolic syndrome symptoms including excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and lipid abnormalities. As a result, cases of Type II diabetes and heart disease are increasing in record numbers. Metabolic syndrome is largely the result of excessive abdominal fat stores that result from a diet filled with high calorie processed and fried foods. As fat storage cells (adipose tissue) begin to increase in number and swell beyond capacity, they prompt the release of a torrent of chemical messengers that promote systemic inflammation and disease.
Researchers from the Biomarkers & NutriMetabolomics Research Group of the University of Barcelona in Spain studied the biochemical effects of nut consumption on metabolic syndrome and human health. They put 22 patients with diagnosed metabolic syndrome on a nut-enriched diet for 12 weeks and compared them to another group of 20 patients who were told to avoid nuts. The scientists analyzed the full spectrum of compounds excreted in the patients' urine and found evidence of several healthful changes.
Nuts are Packed with Monounsaturated Fats and Antioxidants to Prevent Chronic Disease
Lead study author, Dr. Cristina Andrés-Lacueva commented “Dietary changes may help patients shed the excess weight and become healthier… the regular consumption of nuts, which are jam-packed with healthful nutrients, such as healthy fats (unsaturated fatty acids) and antioxidants (polyphenols) have been recommended to fight the metabolic abnormalities associated with MetS.” Researchers determined for the first time that nut consumption boosted serotonin levels to promote satiety and happiness.
Nutrition scientists now understand that the fats provided with regular nut consumption correlate closely to improved human health. In the past, nuts have been branded with a high-fat stigma and avoided by many health-minded people. Fortunately we now have solid evidence to show nuts are a super food that can help prevent chronic disease including MetS. The study authors concluded that one ounce of nuts eaten daily “reduced levels of substances in the body associated with inflammation and other cardiovascular risk factors in patients with metabolic syndrome.” Grab a handful of tasty nuts to help ward off metabolic syndrome and chronic illness.