A Diet Tip for People With Type 2 Diabetes: Eat More Nuts

5 servings a week shows heart benefits

Woman eating walnuts from her hand

Walnuts, pistachios, almonds …. By now you know that nuts are an important part of a healthy, whole food diet. But new research shows they may be especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.

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A recent study published in Circulation Research found a lower risk of heart disease and death in people with Type 2 diabetes who ate nuts.

“They showed a significant reduction in cardiovascular risk factors with diabetics when they’re eating at least five servings of nuts a week,” says Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, who did not take part in the study. “The serving size was about an ounce – 28 grams – which is exactly what we recommend.”

The study involved 16,217 men and women with Type 2 diabetes.

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Researchers found that the people who ate tree nuts such as walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and pistachios saw the most benefit in terms of reduced heart disease risk, as well as overall death risk.

Nutritional powerhouses

Nuts have monounsaturated fatty acids, protein and fiber and are low in carbohydrates. This means they help fill us up while keeping blood sugar low, Zumpano says.

She adds that when people eat nuts instead of a carbohydrate-rich or fat-filled snack food when they get hungry, it helps keep their numbers in check.

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“Regular nut intake gives you such satiety and fullness and nutrient density that you’re not looking for other snacks to fill up on, therefore helping manage your blood sugars better and your cholesterol profile better,” she says.

Nuts have also been shown to improve good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.

Zumpano suggests aiming for three servings of nuts each week. A serving size is an ounce, or about the amount that would fit in the palm of the hand.

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