Scientists have long understood that nuts can play a key role in increasing energy, fighting heart disease by lowering cholesterol and satisfying people’s appetite through their richness in fibre. However, there a team of researchers in Spain may have found that eating a diet rich in nuts may also help improve people’s moods.
[box type=”important”]The study was led by Cristina Andres-Lacueva, a nutrition and food science professor at Barcelona. Andres-Lacueva and her team gave 22 people 30 grams of nuts every day for about three months. At the same time, they created a control group of 20 people who were told to avoid nuts during the same time period. Each of the participants suffered from a disorder known as metabolic syndrome.[/box]
At the conclusion of the study, Andres-Lacueva and her colleagues found that nuts increased the levels of serotonin metabolites in the group subjects. Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter which plays a fundamental role in regulating people’s moods. In addition, it is also important for improving sleep.
Laurie Wadsworth is a nutrition specialist and a professor atÂ at St. Francis Xavier University in Novia Scotia. Wadsworth says that the study suggests there may be a correlation between the consumption of nuts and moods. However, she argues it is too early to make such an assertion. Wadsworth still feels it is a good idea to eat a moderate amount of nuts while waiting for Andres-Lucueva’s findings to be verified.
The most important thing people need to do is make sure that they aren’t consuming too many nuts. They should limit their consumption of nuts to 30 grams worth of nuts in a 24-hour period. Nutritionists warn that nuts are loaded with calories.
One of the limitations of the study is that it featured a very small sample size. Skeptics argue that a more detailed study will need to be conducted before any links can be made. Also, the study only concluded that nuts increase the levels of serotonin metabolites. There are many factors that play a role in the way people feel, so a more thorough study would need to be conducted before researchers can claim that adding nuts to a diet has any impact on people’s moods.