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According to a new study published in the ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research, eating one ounce of nuts (raw unpeeled walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts)  a day may benefit those who are at high risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This is the first time that scientists have found a link between eating nuts and higher levels of serotonin in the bodies of patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS). Serotonin is a substance that helps transmit nerve signals and decreases feelings of hunger, makes people feel happier and improves heart health.

Symptoms of MetS include excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar and high blood pressure, which increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The researchers found that dietary changes may help patients shed the excess weight and become healthier, among the changes, the regular consumption of nuts — which are jam-packed with healthful nutrients, such as healthy fats (unsaturated fatty acids) and antioxidants (polyphenols).

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