Lifestyle has a significant impact on type 2 diabetes, with diet playing a major role. Nuts are a good source of nutrition, and they provide a range of health benefits. However, some nuts are better than others for people with diabetes. Around 30.3 million adults in the United States have a form of diabetes.
A healthful diet can help manage blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications. Nuts are one of several foods that the American Diabetes Association lists as beneficial for people with the condition. In this article, we describe why nuts can be of use to people with diabetes and look into five of the best nuts to incorporate into a healthful diet.
Walnuts Benefits for Diabetes
Almonds: Almonds have a range of benefits for individuals with this condition. A study from 2011 found that incorporating almonds into the diets of participants with type 2 diabetes for 12 weeks positively affected blood sugar and reduced the risk of heart disease.
A more recent study, from 2017, looked into the effect of daily almond consumption over 24 weeks in people with type 2 diabetes. The authors found that incorporating almonds into the diet helped control blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Almonds reduce the body’s levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which can block arteries. They increase the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which helps remove LDL cholesterol from the arteries. This is part of the reason why almonds reduce the risk of heart disease.
Walnuts: Walnuts are high in calories. However, a study in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care found that they do not have a major impact on body weight or composition. The researchers assigned 112 participants at risk of diabetes either a low-calorie diet or a diet rich in walnuts for 6 months.
They found that the walnut-enriched diet was able to improve the ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol without negatively affecting body composition. In a study from 2018, researchers investigated the association between walnut consumption and diabetes risk in 34,121 people.
They found that people who had eaten walnuts in the past 24 hours were half as likely to have diabetes, compared with people who had eaten no nuts in this period.
Cashews: Cashews can help improve the ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. In a 2018 study, researchers gave 300 participants with type 2 diabetes either a cashew-enriched diet or a typical diabetes diet.
Those on the cashew-enriched diet had lower blood pressure and higher levels of HDL cholesterol after 12 weeks. The cashews also had no negative impact on blood glucose levels or weight.
Takeaway: As a diverse type of food, nuts can be easy to incorporate into a healthful diet. They can provide a good source of protein and beneficial fats for people with diabetes. To avoid excess calorie intake, consider a serving size to be a small handful or one-fourth of a cup.
Nuts can make a simple snack. Most are safe to eat raw, and they are available in many grocery stores. People with diabetes should avoid salted varieties. (Via, medicalnewstoday.com)