Nuts taste great and have been a staple of my diet for years. Roasted or raw, they are high in healthy fats and that’s where they get their token rich flavor.
Tree nuts are also rich in minerals like selenium and fiber. When you hear that nuts are high in fat, you might have started thinking they aren’t good for you. What you should know is that the fat in nuts is the healthy kind and your body needs this type of fat to function at peak levels.
Go Nuts for Good Fat
This fat is the healthy kind called omega-9. You can find it in other healthy foods like olive oil and avocados. Nuts really came to the forefront with the popularity of the Mediterranean diet because they are such a huge part of that health and weight loss program.
There are all kinds to choose from if you want to reap the health benefits a generous handful can provide. From roasted almonds to walnuts, peanuts and Brazil nuts, it is very likely that you will find something you enjoy because of the sheer variety of them. If you want to expand your cooking horizons, nuts make a great addition for many salads and soups. If you are looking for a way to incorporate them into your diet, as I’d suggest you do, the possibilities are endless!
News on Nuts and Blood Sugar
So they are delicious and rich in healthy fats, but there is another great use for nuts that you will want to know about. New research from the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, shows people who suffer from type-2 diabetes can benefit in a big way from eating a handful of nuts every day.
This study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, looked at the pooled results of 11 clinical trials with 450 participants from five different countries.
The analysis clearly showed that even a small serving size of nuts—a quarter cup per day—could lower the fasting blood sugar of patients over an eight-week period. The degree of insulin resistance and measures of glucose damage also improved in those who consumed nuts on a daily basis.
Study authors say nuts show potential to provide a variety of cardio metabolic health benefits, including improving blood glucose control, lowering LDL and triglycerides, raising HDL, and lowering blood pressure.
Clear Evidence for Nuts and Cardiovascular Health
This isn’t the first time the connection with nuts and cardiovascular health has been seen. Previous clinical studies dealt with people who had a variety of risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases such as diabetes. No matter which study you are looking at, all of them show clear evidence that nuts can improve the health of those who are at risk for cardiovascular health problems.
As I mentioned earlier, nuts are a big part of the Mediterranean diet, which is made up of a combination of foods that have been shown to prevent cardiovascular problems. The use of nuts as part of the Mediterranean diet has also been shown to help prevent high blood pressure, weight gain and decrease inflammation.
Including a few nuts in your diet every day could not only help your heart, but could also allow you to live longer because of the positive effect on blood sugar and insulin. So why not try adding a handful to your cereal, yogurt or salad? Another good tip is to reach for nuts when you have a craving for popcorn or chips. Just make sure to get the unsalted variety!
Viguiliouk, E., et al., “Effect of Tree Nuts on Glycemic Control in Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Dietary Trials,” PLOS ONE, July 30, 2014; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103376.