People used to be wary of nuts because they were thought to be a high-calorie food that contributed to weight gain. But more recent research has dispelled that fear, showing that nuts aren’t actually bad when it comes to weight. In fact, eating them regularly can help you maintain a healthy weight.[1-3]
And it turns out that the benefits of nuts don’t stop there. Among other things, eating nuts may also be good for regulating blood sugar levels.
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But can they actually help you to prevent diabetes? Let’s take a closer look at what the research says.
Nuts may help protect against diabetes
The research findings on the subject are mixed, but there are several studies that suggest that eating nuts can help to lower your risk of developing diabetes.
For example, one study found that people who ate more walnuts had lower odds of getting diabetes compared to people who ate fewer walnuts. Another study found that the more tree nuts you eat, the less likely you are to get diabetes. In that study, the researchers concluded that eating 28 grams of nuts per day could lower your risk of diabetes by about 13%.
But not all studies have come to the same conclusions, and some haven’t found any strong association between nuts and diabetes risk. To truly make any firm conclusions about nuts protecting us against diabetes, we’ll need more robust studies and stronger data to come along in the future.
Nuts are a healthy food choice if you have diabetes
Whether or not nuts protect against diabetes is still not entirely clear, but researchers do know for sure that nuts can be considered a healthy dietary choice for people who have already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Eating nuts helps to decrease blood sugar levels and improve glycemic control in people with diabetes, which may help people to better manage their condition.
Further, eating nuts is also shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in people who have diabetes. Cardiovascular complications are one of the most serious side effects of having diabetes, so this is very important. A 2019 study found that people with diabetes who increased their nut consumption were able to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 11%, and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 25%. What’s more, their risk of dying from any cause was reduce by a whopping 27% when the people with diabetes ate more nuts.
Taken together, these research findings suggest that nuts are indeed a very healthy choice for a diabetes diet. Nuts can not only help you to better control your blood sugars, but they may also help prevent life-threatening complications as well.
Why are nuts good for blood sugar?
So why are nuts helpful when it comes to keeping blood sugar levels in check? There are many different explanations for the health benefits of nuts, especially when it comes to diabetes and blood sugar concerns.
To start, nuts give us protein, fiber, monounsaturated acids, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Many of these nutrients can support our bodies in keeping blood sugar levels low.[2,7]
Nuts are also fairly low in carbs, which means they won’t spike your blood sugars as much as other carbohydrate-rich foods. The more nuts you eat, the less you’ll need to fill your diet with other less healthy options that may cause more dramatic blood sugar swings.
Another reason nuts are useful for people with diabetes or blood sugar issues is that they are really good at satisfying your appetite and keeping you full for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to turn to other foods and snacks that could contribute to weight gain and blood sugar problems.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for many reasons, especially if you want to prevent diabetes and get better control over your blood sugar levels. While there was a period of time where nuts were thought to cause weight gain and be a fatty food, it turns out that nuts are actually a good food to turn to if you want to manage your weight.[1-3]
By keeping you full, supporting a healthy weight, and minimizing blood sugar spikes, nuts can be very powerful partners when it comes to the fight against high blood sugar and diabetes.
Additional health benefits of nuts
Diabetes isn’t the only reason to consider adding more nuts to your diet. The benefits of nuts extend far beyond blood sugar control. In fact, eating nuts can help to protect the body against inflammation, oxidative stress, and much more.
The bottom line
The research isn’t yet totally conclusive on whether or not nuts can protect you against diabetes. But there is some promising data to suggest that eating more nuts can do you and your blood sugars good.
Low in carbohydrates and packed with other important nutrients that support healthy blood sugars like protein, fiber, and more, nuts are a great food to add to your diet if you are wanting to prevent blood sugar spikes and make healthy choices.
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If you aren’t used to eating nuts, explore the different varieties available to see what kinds you like best. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans are all wonderful choices.
Try chopping nuts and adding them to oatmeal, topping your salad with nuts for a crunchy addition, or eating nut butter with apple for a healthy snack alternative.