A HANDFUL of nuts a day can boost your mood, reduce belly fat and give you a healthier heart, according to scientists.
It is the first time that a link has been made between eating nuts and higher levels of serotonin, a substance that regulates mood and appetite.
Eating just one ounce of raw and unpeeled walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts a day is enough to produce the positive effects, according to researchers at the University of Barcelona.
The findings may now pave the way for improved treatments for sufferers of metabolic syndrome (MetS), a condition associated with excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar and high blood pressure.
Regular consumption of nuts – which contain healthy fats and antioxidants – coupled with dietary changes, may help patients lose weight.
They could also decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The study put 22 patients on a nut-enriched diet for 12 weeks, comparing them to another group of 20 patients without.