Here’s Good News for the calorie-conscious: First-of-its-kind study reveals mechanism of walnuts’ documented ability to decrease hunger
In a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have demonstrated that consuming walnuts activates an area in the brain associated with regulating hunger and cravings. The findings, published online in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, reveal for the first time the neurocognitive impact these nuts have on the brain.
The scientists recruited 10 volunteers with obesity to live in BIDMC’s Clinical Research Center (CRC) for two five-day sessions. It was observed that when the participants ate walnuts, this part of their brain (called the right insula) lights up, and this part is connected with what tells us about feeling less hungry or more full. insula it seems is likely involved in cognitive control and salience, meaning that participants were paying more attention to food choices and selecting the less desirable or healthier options over the highly desirable or less healthy options.
It is believed that walnuts are the second healthiest of all nuts, beaten only by almonds. They can be the perfect substitute to unhealthy snacks and junk food that people end up eating to satisfy untimely hunger. Every 100 gm of walnuts contains 654 calories with 65 g fat, 14 g carbohydrates, and 15 g proteins. They are rich in vitamin B6 and magnesium and loaded in antioxidants. They help reduce inflammation on account of the essential fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
The numerous potential health benefits of consuming walnuts, include reduced risk for cancer, cardiovascular and cognitive disease, our results could potentially help alleviate any calorie-related concerns consumers might have with incorporating them into their everyday diet
With versatile benefits, you only need to consume 1-2 walnuts per day. You can add them to your smoothies. You can also chop them up and add them to your early morning cereal. Walnut butter is another great option to include walnuts in your daily diet.
Walnut Banana Smoothie
- 1 large banana
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon toasted wheat germ
- Peel and slice the banana and freeze for at least one hour.
- Place the milk, walnuts, honey, and cinnamon in a blender and pulse until the walnuts get broken into very small pieces (small enough to pass through a straw). Add the frozen banana and pulse until the mixture is smooth.
- Pour into a glass and top with the toasted wheat germ. Enjoy with a straw or a spoon.