- Walnuts have long been associated with good brain functions
- They are considered as one of the most effective superfoods
- Walnuts may activate an area in the brain which decreases hunger
These crunchy brown delights encased in a hard shell resembling a human brain are a perfect bet for a healthy body and mind. Walnuts have long been associated with good brain functions. They are considered as one of the most effective superfoods that can play a remarkable role in improving an individual's health. A new study published in the Journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism has found that consuming walnuts daily may activate an area in your brain which decreases hunger. According to the researchers, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness.
The author of the study Olivia M Farr from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIMC) stated that people often report feeling full after eating walnuts, but it was pretty surprising to see evidence of activity changing in the brain related to food cues, and by extension what people were eating and how hungry they feel. Researchers in order to determine how walnuts quell cravings, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe how consuming walnuts changes activity in the brain. The tests were conducted on ten volunteers with obesity to live in BIDMC's Clinical Research Center (CRC) for two five-day sessions. During these sessions, participants were made to consume smoothies containing 48 grams of walnuts daily. These volunteers were also given a walnut-free but nutritionally equal placebo smoothie, flavoured to taste exactly the same as the walnut smoothie.
The findings revealed that when the participants were shown pictures of highly desirable foods, fMRI images suggested increased activity in a part of the brain called the right insula after the volunteers had consumed the five-day walnut-rich diet compared to when they had not. The study suggested that the area of the insula is majorly involved in cognitive control that meant participants were paying more attention to food choices and selecting the less desirable or healthier options over the highly desirable or junk food options.