Nuts are a beneficial part of any diabetes diet due to their high fibre, protein, and healthy fat.
Eating them in moderation can help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. However, it is crucial to be aware of portion sizes when consuming nuts, as they are calorie-dense and can lead to weight gain if eaten excessively.
Of the various nuts, some are especially beneficial for people with diabetes primarily due to their high content of nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Most nut varieties provide beneficial nutritional components for individuals with diabetes. However, one should avoid salted nuts as the added salt can negatively impact blood pressure and heart health.
Learn more about the nuts that may be healthy for people with diabetes.
Nuts and Diabetes – The Connection
How Do Nuts Help People with Diabetes?
Nuts are a nutritious snack, providing high amounts of fibre, healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients.
They also have antioxidants, which may assist in the prevention of diabetes-related complications such as nerve damage and kidney disease. In addition, eating nuts can help slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream and improve blood cholesterol levels.
Here are some specific benefits of nuts for people with diabetes:
- A recent study has revealed that incorporating nuts into one’s diet can help regulate blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes. Almonds and walnuts, among other nuts, are especially beneficial as they have a low GI (glycemic index), which helps maintain steady blood sugar levels after consumption.
- People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Fortunately, studies have revealed that consuming nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios, can lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and improve blood pressure, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease. It is due to the high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in nuts.
- Weight management is an excellent strategy for managing diabetes. Nuts are a great addition to your diet if you are trying to manage your weight. They contain fibre, which can help you stay full for longer.
- Nuts like pecans and walnuts contain high antioxidants, which can shield cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
- Nuts provide a great source of plant-based protein, making them an ideal choice for vegetarians and vegans living with diabetes. Protein helps regulate blood sugar levels and can help keep you feeling full and satisfied.
- Nuts are an excellent way to get essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for good health. They contain high levels of vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients can help manage diabetes.
What Does Research Say?
Although nuts are beneficial and healthy, it is crucial for people with diabetes to keep track of their blood sugar levels. To see any food item’s impact on your blood sugar, you can use the CGM by HealthifyPro 2.0. It gives you real-time data on how a portion of food impacts your blood sugar. Moreover, when eating any food, speak with an expert nutritionist about how nuts fit into your overall diet plan.
The Healthify Pro Tip
Eating nuts can be part of a healthy, balanced diet, but portion control is vital for people with diabetes. Pairing nuts with a source of protein or healthy fat, like cheese or a hard-boiled egg, can help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates from the nuts.
Opt for unsalted, unsweetened options to maximise their health benefits. Lastly, for those with diabetes, it’s important to manage blood sugar levels through medication, diet, and physical activity.
9 Diabetes Friendly Nuts
For those with diabetes, nuts can be a beneficial addition to their diet. High in fibre, protein, and healthy fats and with a low glycemic index, these foods do not lead to rapid increases in blood sugar levels. Some nuts that may be particularly helpful for those with diabetes include:
Almonds are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce cholesterol levels and keep blood sugar levels in check. They are also packed with fibre and have a low glycemic index, making them suitable for regulating blood sugar.
Additionally, almonds are a great source of vitamin E and magnesium, essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Studies have indicated that walnuts are a beneficial addition to one’s diet due to their high content of polyunsaturated fats, alpha-linolenic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Not only do these components have anti-inflammatory effects, but they can also help to regulate blood sugar. Additionally, walnuts are known to be rich in antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.
Research has indicated that pistachios are nutritious, providing high fibre and protein. In addition, they have a low glycemic index.
Consequently, consuming them does not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar. Furthermore, pistachios are a great source of antioxidants and minerals such as copper, potassium, and magnesium.
Peanuts are nutrient-rich, containing high amounts of protein and monounsaturated fats and as the added salt can negatively impact blood pressure and heart health.a low glycemic index.
In comparison to other types of nuts, they are lower in fat. Additionally, they are a great source of antioxidants and minerals such as zinc and magnesium.
Macadamia nuts are an excellent choice for people with diabetes, thanks to their high monounsaturated fat and low carb content. They also have a low glycemic index and are rich in antioxidants and other essential nutrients like thiamin and magnesium.
These nutrients can help regulate blood sugar levels. They also provide fibre, vitamins, and minerals that can further aid blood sugar control.
Brazil nuts are an excellent option for those looking for a nutritious snack. They are rich in monounsaturated fats, selenium, protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
Selenium can support insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation, while vitamin E and magnesium can provide antioxidant protection. All these nutrients make Brazil nuts an excellent choice for a diabetes-friendly snack.
Fox nuts, also referred to as lotus seeds or makhana, are a nutritious and diabetes-friendly snack option. They are low in calories, high in fibre, and have a low glycemic index, making them slow to be absorbed by the body and preventing rapid blood sugar spikes.
These crunchy treats contain antioxidants, minerals, and nutrients that are beneficial for overall health, and their mild, nutty flavour makes them a delicious snack for all. Additionally, fox nuts are gluten-free and can be consumed independently or added to dishes for a crunchy garnish.
Hazelnuts are a nutritious food choice, as they contain high amounts of monounsaturated fats and are low in carbs. These fats may help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Hazelnuts contain fibre, protein, and other essential nutrients that may benefit those with diabetes. These nuts also contain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, magnesium, and copper. As a result, they are healthy for people with diabetes.
Pecans are a beneficial addition to any diet, offering many health benefits. Containing high levels of monounsaturated fats and fibre, they can help regulate blood sugar levels. They are also rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals like Vitamin E and magnesium.
HealthifyMe’s certified nutritionists and dietitians can provide guidance and support if you want to incorporate nuts into your diet.
The HealthifyMe Note
People with diabetes can benefit from nuts as a healthy snack due to their protein, healthy fats, and fibre content. Eating nuts can also help regulate blood sugar levels and lower the risk of heart disease. When selecting nuts, it’s essential to be mindful of portion sizes and choose varieties with less added sugar and salt. Additionally, combining nuts with other foods like vegetables or whole grains can help to keep glucose levels from rising too quickly.
Eating nuts, particularly almonds, walnuts and pistachios, can benefit people with diabetes. Nuts are a great source of protein, healthy fats, and various nutrients, including fibre, vitamins, and minerals, aiding blood sugar control. They may also benefit heart health.
It is vital to select unsalted nuts, as added salt can increase blood pressure, a common side effect of diabetes. Finally, it’s important to remember to eat nuts in moderation as part of a balanced diet, not as a replacement for other healthy foods.
Please consult a healthcare provider or registered dietitian for any questions or concerns about including nuts in your diet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Do nuts raise blood sugar?
A. The effect of nuts on blood sugar levels depends on the portion size, the timing of the meal or snack, and the presence of other nutrients (such as protein and fibre) that can help slow the absorption of carbohydrates. Generally, it’s a good idea to eat nuts in moderation and choose unsalted varieties whenever possible.
Q. Which nuts lower blood sugar?
A. While nuts are generally considered a healthy food for people with diabetes, some nuts may be more beneficial than others. Some of the best choices include almonds, walnuts, and peanuts, as they are high in fibre and protein and can positively affect blood sugar control and heart health. Other good options include pistachios, hazelnuts, and pecans.
Q. How many nuts can a person with diabetes eat?
A. It is generally recommended that people with diabetes aim for 20-30 grams of nuts per day. It is equivalent to about 1-2 ounces or a small handful. However, it is essential to be mindful of portion sizes, as nuts are calorie-dense and can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess.
Q. Are peanuts OK for people with diabetes?
A. Peanuts can be a healthy snack for people with diabetes, as they are high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats. However, it is essential to monitor portion sizes and not exceed the recommended serving size, as peanuts are also high in calories and can contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess. Choosing unsalted peanuts and avoiding those coated in sugary or high-fat coatings is also vital.
Q. Should diabetics eat walnuts?
A. Yes, people with diabetes can eat walnuts as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Walnuts are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, and antioxidants. They may also help with blood sugar control and heart health. However, it’s essential for people with diabetes to be mindful of portion sizes and to include various foods in their diet as part of an overall healthy eating plan.
Q. What nuts spike insulin?
A. All nuts have a relatively low impact on blood sugar and insulin levels compared to other foods. However, some nuts are higher in carbohydrates and sugar than others, which may have a slightly more significant impact on blood sugar and insulin. For example, chestnuts and cashews are higher in carbohydrates than other nuts and may significantly impact blood sugar and insulin.
Q. Can Type 2 diabetics have nuts?
A. Yes, nuts can be part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes. They provide a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fibre, which can help with blood sugar control. Several studies found that consuming nuts as part of a healthy diet was associated with improved blood sugar control and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and determine the optimal amount and type of nuts for blood sugar control.
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