Against anxiety and extra pounds? A help comes from food! In particular, it has been shown that, by consuming Brazil nuts regularly, it is possible to counteract anxiety, stress and nervousness, to control nervous hunger and to reduce body fat in case of overweight. This is what emerges from a recent scientific research published in the journal Molecules by a Mexican team (Frausto Gonzalez et al, Molecules, 2021).
Anxiety and obesity, two sides of the same coin
Obesity and overweight are a growing global problem. The point is that the extra pounds bring with them altered blood sugar, hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular problems, which is why it is important to keep us fit. Not only that, a clear link was also observed between overweight and anxiety, two conditions capable of influencing each other. Anxiety, in fact, can lead to overeating and therefore to accumulating extra pounds. While conditions such as overweight and obesity in turn create a condition of stress and anxiety in those who suffer from them.
The properties of Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are a very tasty type of dried fruit. They are rich in fatty acids, including linoleic, oleic and stearic acids, and selenium, which is a substance that fights free radicals. Thanks to these characteristics, Brazil nuts are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, help to counteract the metabolic syndrome, are anti-hypertensive and anti-tumor. Traditionally, Brazil nuts are considered helpful in case of nervous hunger. However, to date, their ability to act simultaneously on anxiety and obesity has not been explored.
Brazil nuts against anxiety and obesity, the experiment
To shed light on this aspect, the researchers created a study on animals that were given Brazil nut extracts and a high-calorie diet every day for 40 days. The extracts contained the same nutrients as whole nuts. What emerged, at the end of the study, was that the intake of Brazil nuts effectively countered body weight gain and anxiety, evaluated through specially designed tests.
Explanation of the mechanism of action and conclusions
The explanation of what is observed lies in the nutrients present in Brazil nuts. In particular, linoleic acid, contained in Brazil nuts, is able to reduce the amount of lipids that are incorporated into adipose tissues, thus counteracting the accumulation of fat and the onset of overweight. Not only that, the set of fatty acids of Brazil nuts has been shown to act on mood with an anxiolytic effect similar to that of diazepam. Therefore, green light for Brazil nuts as a healthy mid-morning snack within a healthy diet, capable of maintaining a healthy weight and relaxing body and mind. Don't forget that these nuts also contain selenium, which has been shown to be neuroprotective and able to support cognitive functions.