Nuts are a good snack choice for diabetics, but which ones are best? Here are two nuts that are particularly good for diabetic health.
Are you looking for a tasty snack that won’t wreck havoc with your blood sugar levels? Nuts are a great food for diabetics for a variety of reasons. They’re a good source of fiber which helps to stabilize blood sugar levels; and because they’re high in monounsaturated fats they have a healthy impact on blood cholesterol levels. This is important since heart disease is the number one killer of people with type two diabetes. Nuts are also a good snack food when eaten in moderation – especially when substituted for sugary treats such as cookies, cakes, and candy. With so many nut choices available, which should you choose? The reality is that all nuts provide some health benefits, but two types of nuts for diabetics are particularly good choices.
Walnuts are a winner when it comes to diabetic heart health. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating walnuts offers particularly good health benefits for diabetics. Researchers gave one group of type-2 diabetics a regular diet, while another group ate the same diet along with fifty-six grams of walnuts. At the end of an eight week period, they found that the diabetics who ate 56 grams of walnuts each day had better endothelial cell function as measured by blood flow through the brachial artery. Better endothelial function is associated with a lowered risk of heart disease and heart attack.
That’s not the only benefit of eating walnuts. Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which help to lower triglyceride levels. Diabetics often have elevated triglyceride levels and high triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease and diabetic neuropathy. In fact, triglyceride levels are more strongly with progression of diabetic neuropathy than are blood sugar levels. One more great reason to eat walnuts if you’re diabetic.
Pistachios are one of the healthiest nuts for diabetics, but are also a smart choice for anyone trying to preserve the health of their heart. A study published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Disease showed that when healthy people ate a diet rich in pistachios, their cholesterol levels dropped by twelve percent. Even more importantly their HDL, or good cholesterol, rose by twenty-six percent – all good news for the heart. Pistachios are also one of the lowest calorie nuts. Forty-seven pistachios have only 158 calories, but still provide lots of fiber, monounsaturated fats, and antioxidant vitamins.
The Bottom Line?
Whether you’re diabetic or not, walnuts and pistachios have tremendous health benefits. Just be sure to eat them in moderation. Eating too many nuts leads to excess body fat which is never a good thing for a diabetic. Try making one hundred calorie snack packs with mixed walnuts and pistachios to control portion sizes. If possible, purchase them raw in the shell. Raw nuts are healthier and you’ll burn some additional calories cracking the nuts open. Enjoy nuts for all the benefits they have to offer!