Nuts and nutrition

If you want to keep metabolic syndrome at bay, you should strictly adhere to your Mediterranean diet plan and throw in an additional serving of nuts every day.

It’s guaranteed to help increase your resistance against this condition and the serious health complications it usually brings. Now, isn’t this some great news for all of us?

To better understand its impact on your life, let us take a closer look at what metabolic syndrome really is and why it is considered a serious cause for concern.


Metabolic Syndrome: Understanding the Disease

Metabolic syndrome (also known as insulin resistance syndrome and syndrome X) refers to a group of risk factors that increases your risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. It is significant to note that while experts are not yet sure if there is any single risk factor responsible for the prevalence of the condition, all the risks seem related to obesity. Here are the most common factors that may increase your risk for metabolic disease:

  • Abdominal obesity or carrying significant extra weight around your waist. Men with 40 inch (or more) waistlines and women with 35 inch (or more) waistlines are considered to be at a greater risk for this condition.
  • Insulin resistance
  • Age
  • Hormonal changes
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Heredity

So, how do you know if you have metabolic syndrome? According to American Heart Association (AHA), having any three of the following symptoms may already be indicative of the condition:

  • Large waistline or having an “apple shaped” body
  • High blood pressure (130 mm Hg/85 mm Hg or higher)
  • High fasting blood sugar (may be equal to or higher than 100 mg/dL)
  • High triglyceride levels (may be equal to or higher than 150 mg/dL)
  • Low HDL levels (40 mg/dL or lower for men and 50 mg/dL or lower for women)

Consult your doctor immediately if you notice any of these warning signs. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Once diagnosed with the condition, your doctor will recommend you to implement some lifestyle changes. You will need to lose weight and get your cholesterol and blood pressure levels at a healthier range through exercise and proper diet. And this is where the Mediterranean diet comes into the picture.

Studies Proclaiming the Effect of Nuts on Metabolic Syndrome

Earlier studies have already indicated that switching to a healthier Mediterranean diet can help you prevent the onset of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. It has also been proven that the prevalence of metabolic syndrome can likewise be reduced through proper diet. But do you know that there are studies that specifically point out to the significant role of nuts in preventing metabolic syndrome?

So, what’s with nuts anyway? What makes them quite effective in raising your resistance against metabolic syndrome?

According to Dr. Jordi Salas-Salvado, of the Rovira i Virgili University (URV) in Virgili, Spain, metabolic abnormalities can be prevented by adopting the traditional Mediterranean way of eating and adding a serving of nuts to your daily diet. The full details of Dr. Salvado’s research are documented in the December 2008 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The results of this study are further emphasized by a more recent study conducted by the Department of Nutrition and Bromatology at the University of Barcelona, the Rovira i Virgili University and the Spanish Biomedical Research Centre in Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn).

To analyze the effects of diet on patients with metabolic syndrome, the researchers used two patients groups – the test group was given a diet rich in nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts) while the control group has none. After a 12 week clinical trial period, the chemical composition of the patients’ urine was analyzed. Researchers then discovered that patients who were given the nut diet have a higher level of serotonin, tryptophan, fatty acids and polyphenols metabolites in their urine – evidence that nut consumption significantly reduces the occurrence and severity of inflammation and other cardiovascular risk factors in people with metabolic syndrome.

*The study is published in the November 2011 issue of the ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research.

Knowing all these things, do you think you are ready to give in to the healthy benefits of a nut-rich Mediterranean diet? You should.