The superfood that helps your brain control cravings

You can only cut calories for so long before your brain rebels against the restrictions and increases food cravings to the point where you can’t help but eat more. Luckily, researchers identified a superfood that counteracts this brain activity. On top of that, it’s loaded with other amazing full-body benefits you can’t pass up…

So, if you’ve tried before and failed, or fallen short of your weight loss goals, you may have been way too hard on yourself.

It wasn’t some character flaw or moral failing on your part that kept you from losing the weight.

Most diets fail because of one thing: hunger. Now, thanks to science, you’ve got a secret weapon to fight back with…

Walnuts help control appetite by acting on the brain

Scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston have found that snacking on walnuts between meals can ease the hunger pangs that may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts.

Dr. Christos Mantzoros, a professor at Harvard Medical School, and his team recruited 10 obese volunteers, who lived in controlled housing during the study. In this way, the research team had complete control over the subjects’ diets.

The 10 volunteers were divided into two groups. For five days, one group drank a smoothie that contained 48 grams (almost 2 ounces) of crushed walnuts. The other group was given an identical smoothie, but without walnuts.

After 30 days, the two groups were switched, with the people who’d received non-walnut smoothies getting smoothies with walnuts, and vice versa. No one knew which type of smoothie they were drinking.

At the end of each of these five-day periods, subjects were given brain scans while looking at pictures of fattening foods they craved, like hamburgers and desserts. Subjects were also asked to rate their level of hunger.

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After drinking the walnut smoothies, the subjects reported feeling less hungry.

But what about those brain scans?

Well, that’s where the evidence lies. Those brain scans revealed exactly what those walnuts were doing to reduce hunger and cravings.

There’s an area of the brain known as the right insula. It’s responsible for making you feel full after you eat. It also is involved in judgment making and impulse control.

Dr. Mantzoros, the study’s lead researcher, expressed great excitement at these findings.

“This is a powerful measure. We know there’s no ambiguity in terms of study results. When participants eat walnuts, this part of their brain lights up, and we know that’s connected with what they are telling us about feeling less hungry or more full.”

Other reasons to snack on walnuts

The early Romans considered walnuts a food fit for the gods, and with good reason!

Eating walnuts can help protect you from the ravages of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Store your walnuts in an airtight container and use them liberally in your smoothies and salads (including chicken and tuna salad), sprinkled over cottage cheese or yogurt, and baked into bread. One of my personal favorites is to add a handful of chopped walnuts to a bowl of granola, for extra crunch!

You’ll be happy to know that walnuts fit easily into a Mediterranean diet, the easiest weight-loss diet to stick to. Why not try replacing pine nuts with walnuts next time you make basil pesto?

Here are a few simple recipes to get you started.

Maple-Glazed Pears with Cinnamon and Walnuts

Slow Cooker Honey-Glazed Nuts with Cinnamon

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Sources:

Eating This Nut Stops Food Cravings — Institute for Natural Healing

Walnuts up insula activation to highly desirable food cues — medicalxpress.com

Walnut consumption increases activation of the insula to highly desirable food cues: A randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled, cross‐over fMRI study — Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism

Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.