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

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If you have diabetes and trouble with high blood sugar, you might want to make this one of your mainstay snacks: a handful of walnuts.

Walnuts are already in a heart-healthy league of their own because of their cholesterol-improving powers. And now a small new study suggests that eating walnuts every day may help give blood vessels a much needed tune-up in people with diabetes.

In the study, people with type 2 diabetes were asked to eat about 2 ounces of walnuts every day. After 8 weeks, endothelial function improved significantly in the walnut eaters. Why is this good news? Because endothelial cells -- that thin layer of cells that lines the inside of blood vessels -- may be one of the first places to go bad when people with diabetes start developing vascular disease.

Compared to other nuts, walnuts have higher amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, which may help protect against plaque formation in arteries. Walnuts also are a great source of an amino acid called L-arginine, which helps relax blood vessels and control blood pressure. And surprisingly, the nut eaters in the study didn't suffer any deleterious effects to their weight and waist sizes. Could be all the protein and fiber in walnuts helped the study participants eat less overall.

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.