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Are Nuts a Suitable Snack for Diabetics?
Absolutely. Diabetic or not, nuts are a good source of nutrition, and they provide a range of health benefits as they are packed with tonnes vitamins, minerals, calcium and unsaturated fatty acids.
With around 3.6 million Malaysians suffering from diabetes (with another 2.6 million who likely don’t realise it), diabetes is a widespread and serious problem. It is a chronic disease where the pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin or the body is unresponsive to it, resulting in unstable blood sugar levels.
Why are they suitable?
Lifestyle has a significant impact on people with type 2 diabetes, with diet playing a major role. According to the American Heart Association’s Circulation Research journal, when eating five servings of nuts per week, patients with type 2 diabetes had a 17% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, people with type 2 diabetes who consumed nuts regularly had a 34% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, a 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease, and a 31% reduced risk of premature death overall. Eating nuts fewer than five times per week still offers benefits, but less so compared to those who eat nuts nearly daily.
Together with regular exercise and blood sugar checks, nuts may help prevent heart disease, keep blood sugar controlled, and even aid weight loss.
What are the best nuts for people with diabetes?
Some nuts are better than others for people suffering from diabetes. Here are some nuts you can consider:-
The fibre, protein and good fats in walnuts help to manage hunger and blood sugars. Though high in calories, they do not have any major impact on body weight but works miracles at lowering lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol which blocks arteries while raising levels of high-density (HDL) cholesterol.
Almonds are the universal choice of snacks for diabetics. It helps manage the glucose level in a diabetic person, decreasing post-meal blood sugar spikes. Besides, it reduces oxidative stress, which is a key factor responsible for diabetes and heart disease.
Cashews are actually lower in fat as compared to the other nuts. Over 75% of the fat in cashews is oleic acid - also known to be a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. The benefit of those fats? They increase ‘good cholesterol’ levels and lowering systolic blood pressure thus reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Try our Walnut Mix – It is a combination of these three nuts.
How much nuts can you eat?
Eat with moderation! Too much of anything is always poison anyway.
To avoid excess calorie intake, consider a serving size to be a small handful, one-fourth of a cup, or two tablespoons of nut butter. Think of nuts as a condiment instead of a ‘sit down and eat the whole bag in front of the TV’ kind of thing.
Avoid salted varieties. Chocolate-covered peanuts and honey-roasted cashews are no-no’s too. Also, remember that roasted nuts are often coated with additional oil before roasting, which means they contain even more fat. Check out our post on raw or roasted nuts for more info.
Make sure you consult a doctor before switching to nuts and check for any allergies.
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