Eating nuts can reduce risk for metabolic syndrome in adolescents

Teens who swap salty snacks like potato chips for nuts might lower their risk of developing metabolic syndrome, according to new research presented at the Endocrine Society's Annual Meeting in San Diego last week.

A total of 2,233 young people between the ages of 12 and 19 were included in the study sample, which found that even a modest consumption of nuts could lower risk factors for metabolic syndrome – which is a set of cardiovascular and hormonal symptoms that can raise a person's risk for developing diabetes.

“In spite of what is known about the health benefits of nuts, most U.S. adolescents eat very few nuts, or no nuts at all, on a typical day,” Dr. Roy Kim, of the UT Southwestern Medical Center, said in a press statement. “Modest intake of nuts among adolescents is associated with a lower chance for metabolic syndrome.”

'Healthy fats' could have multiple benefits

Nuts have been linked to improved glycemic control in other studies. In addition to blood sugar-stabilizing properties, nuts may also have protective benefits due to monounsaturated or "healthy" fats found in many nut varieties. These types of fats may help to lower "bad" cholesterol and can also help with appetite control.

In the current study, adolescents with a higher nut intake had the lowest risk for developing metabolic syndrome, yet any nut intake might be helpful, Kim said.

“A small amount of nut intake is better than none … research studies on the Mediterranean diet indicate about one ounce of nut intake, three times a week, on average about 12.9 grams per day, seems to be an effective dose,” he explained.

Source: Healio

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