CLEVELAND – Nuts are an important part of a healthy, whole food diet.
A recent study shows when people with type 2 diabetes eat nuts, especially tree nuts, they can lower their risk of heart disease and death.
“They showed a significant reduction in cardiovascular risk factors with diabetics when they’re eating at least five servings of nuts a week; and the serving size was about an ounce – 28 grams – which is exactly what we recommend,” said Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, of Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the study.
The study involved 16,217 men and women with diabetes.
Researchers found 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.
Zumpano said nuts are a healthy addition to anyone’s diet, but especially for people with type 2 diabetes.
She said nuts provide us with high monounsaturated fatty acids, high protein and fiber and low carbohydrates – which means all of these nutrients help fill us up, while keeping blood sugar low.
Nuts have also been shown to improve good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.
Zumpano also said 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.
“Regular nut intake gives you such satiety and fullness and nutrient density, so 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 said.
Zumpano suggests aiming for 3-5 servings of nuts each week. A serving size is an ounce, or a quarter of a measuring cup, or the amount that would fit in the palm of the hand.
Complete results of the study can be found in Circulation Research.