Diabetics can eat any kind of nuts. In fact, diabetics can eat any type of food, as long as they eat it in moderation and balance it with healthy choices. But nuts have general health benefits for everyone, including diabetics.
Nuts also have specific benefits if you have diabetes. Some nuts have more health benefits than others.
Types of nuts:
All nuts have some positive attributes for diabetics. Peanuts might be the most popular type of nut — if they were really nuts. But peanuts, which contain the antioxidant resveratrol as well as all the essential amino acids, actually fall into the legume rather than the nut family.
Almonds are one of the most nutrient-dense nuts, high in vitamin E.
Walnuts are the only nut source of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid.
Almonds, peanuts and pistachios have the most benefit in lowering cholesterol, with almonds close behind.
Nuts for lowering glycemic index of foods:
The glycemic index is a measurement of how fast your body absorbs certain carbohydrates. Faster absorption raises blood glucose levels more rapidly — mean a higher glycemic index — which can be harmful in diabetics.
“Metabolism” looked at the effects of eating almonds on blood glucose levels of healthy volunteers without diabetes.
Adding almonds to white bread lowered the glycemic index. Diabetics who eat nuts along with foods with a high-glycemic index such as pasta could potenitally slow their absorption of carbohydrate, stabilizing blood glucose levels.
Nuts for lowering cholesterol:
High cholesterol levels can contribute to the risk of heart disease, and diabetics are more at risk than others.
Fortunately, the unsaturated fats in nuts appear to help lower low-density lipoprotein, the “bad” cholesterol. Eating nuts might also raise levels of high-density lipoprotein, the “good” form of cholesterol. The fiber in nuts as well as the plant sterols that occur naturally in nuts might also help lower cholesterol.
Nuts for reducing heart disease:
Diabetics have double or higher the risk developing heart disease than people without diabetes.
Nuts high in vitamin E, such as almonds and walnuts, can slow plaque development that leads to atherosclerosis. Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fat found in mostly in walnuts, help reduce the risk of developing irregular heartbeats that can lead to heart attack.