Hungry? Try Eating Walnuts and See What Happens

eating walnuts

Many of us let our hunger get out of control and overeat junk food. Next time you are craving a snack, try a handful of walnuts.

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Obviously, overeating can be a source of excess calories which then leads to weight gain. For many dieters, an overwhelming feeling of hunger can practically destroy your efforts toward controlling calorie intake.

A new study shows that walnuts may help decrease hunger by promoting a feeling of fullness. Walnuts, of course, are good sources of healthy fats and fiber which are both very filling nutrients. But the nut may also have another effect that we weren’t previously aware of.

Researchers with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have found that walnuts may activate an area of the brain associated with regulating hunger and cravings. The team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe the effects that walnuts have on the brain and found increased activity in the right insula after participants consumed a five-day walnut-rich diet.

The insula is likely involved in cognitive control and salience, meaning that participants pay more attention to healthy food choices. Past studies have also focused on this area of the brain as it relates to addictive habits such as smoking and alcoholism.

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Nuts are a very nutritious way to snack as they contain nutrients that we need for good health. Walnuts do contain omega-3 fatty acids and are an important source of this especially for vegans who do not eat fish.

But keep in mind, when snacking on walnuts, that a few go a long way. Just a quarter of a cup is almost 200 calories!

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Study Reference:
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control: First-of-its-kind study reveals mechanism of walnuts' documented ability to decrease hunger." Via ScienceDaily, published 16 August 2017.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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