Eating nuts can help patients with metabolic syndrome lower their risk for heart disease. Spanish researchers found that eating nuts produces higher levels of serotonin in patients with metabolic syndrome. Serotonin is a chemical that helps transmit nerve signals and decreases feelings of hunger, elevates mood, and improves heart health. It only took one ounce of mixed nuts a day (raw, unpeeled walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts) to get the beneficial effects.
Symptoms of metabolic syndrome include excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar, all of which increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Losing weight can help lower the risks, and experts recommend eating nuts on a regular basis to fight metabolic syndrome.
In the Spanish study, researchers put 20 patients on a nut-enriched diet for 12 weeks and compared them to another group of 20 patients who were told to avoid nuts. Urine tests showed several healthy changes, including evidence of increased serotonin.
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.