At this time of the year, many of are trying to shed a few pounds and get fit for summer holidays.
However, as we all know, it can be easy to get off track, particularly when it comes to tempting snacks.
So, you’ll be glad to know that there is one healthy snack that can tackle those pesky cravings and help you feel more full.
A new study has found that the humble walnut can boost brain activity in the region of the brain associated with control, which suggests people will have more discipline when faced with unhealthy food, a new study has found.
Not only that but participants also reported feeling less hungry after just five days of consuming walnuts, according to The Mail Online.
Study author Dr. Christos Mantzoros said: “When participants eat walnuts, a 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”.
The study was carried out with a group of ten obese participants over two five-day sessions.
Participants were given a smoothie containing 48 grams of walnuts (the recommended serving as suggested by the American Diabetes Association) to drink everyday.
In the second session, they consumed a walnut-free but nutritionally comparable smoothie that tasted exactly the same as the first.
On the fifth day of each investigation, the participants had MRI brain scans while being shown images of 'highly-desirable' food, such as hamburgers and desserts; neutral objects, like flowers and rocks; and less palatable foods such as vegetables.
They found that after consuming the walnut smoothies, participants showed greater brain activity in an area associated with control. Researchers hypothesise that this could help them when faced with the temptation of unhealthy foods.
Lead author Dr Olivia Farr from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston said: “We don't often think about how what we eat impacts the activity in our brain.
“We know people report feeling fuller 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”.
However, researchers are unsure why walnuts have this effect.
However, it certainly won’t do any harm to add some walnuts to your diet – we’re off to stock up now.