What are the benefits of eating nuts if I have diabetes?

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There has long been evidence that eating nuts in small quantities is good for your heart. Now we are learning that it may also be good for your diabetes.

Nuts are derived from plants and therefore contain natural antioxidants that help to decrease plaque formation in the arteries and may decrease the risk of developing heart disease. When nuts are eaten with a carbohydrate food, such as bread or fruit, they decrease the rise of sugar after that meal. This may be caused by the fiber, protein and healthy fats found in nuts. Therefore, people with diabetes may improve blood sugar levels by incorporating nuts into their meals or snacks.

In fact, in a recent issue of Diabetes Forecast magazine, the American Diabetes Association lists nuts as one of the “10 diabetes superfoods.” The article states: “An ounce of nuts can go a long way in providing key healthy fats along with hunger management. Nuts also give you a dose of magnesium and fiber. Some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flaxseeds, also contain omega-3 fatty acids.”

If you have diabetes, nuts of all sorts -- walnuts, pecans, take your choice! -- are great for controlling blood sugar. Despite their diminutive size, nuts are power packages of protein, unsaturated (healthy) fat, and fiber. Those three factors have a positive impact on blood sugar levels. In a recent study, participants who ate 2 1/2 ounces of nuts daily had an 8% decrease in their A1c levels. Keep in mind that nuts also pack plenty of calories. Your best bet is to substitute nuts for high-carbohydrate foods, such as croutons or pretzels. Sprinkle them on yogurt and salads, or nibble them for a snack.

Continue Learning about Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.