Nuts are generally a healthy snack option for individuals with diabetes due to their low glycemic index (GI) and beneficial nutrient profile. They are rich in healthy fats, fiber, protein, and various vitamins and minerals.
While all nuts have health benefits, some are particularly recommended for individuals with diabetes. Almonds are an excellent choice for diabetics as they are low in carbohydrates and high in monounsaturated fats, which can help improve insulin sensitivity. They also provide magnesium, a mineral that plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism and blood sugar regulation as well as vitamin E.
Walnuts are another good option for diabetics. They are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that may have protective effects against cardiovascular disease, which is a common concern for people with diabetes, and may help reduce inflammation. Walnuts may help promote feelings of fullness, preventing unhealthy food cravings and potentially aiding weight loss.
Pecans are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber, making them a suitable choice for individuals with diabetes. They also provide antioxidants and monounsaturated fats that promote heart health. They lower the “bad cholesterol “also known as LDL while increasing the “good cholesterol” or HDL to regulate insulin levels. have a low Glycemic Index (GI) and research has shown that foods with low GI index don’t raise the blood sugar levels of people. The Glycemic Index is a relative ranking of carbs in foods on how they’re absorbed by the body and how they affect blood glucose levels.
Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium, a mineral that has antioxidant properties and may help improve insulin sensitivity. They are also a source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Brazil nuts are rich in healthy fats and provide some protein and fiber.
Pistachios are relatively low in carbohydrates and high in fiber, making them diabetes-friendly nuts. They also contain beneficial antioxidants and may help improve cholesterol levels. Try subbing them in for croutons on a salad, or using crushed pistachios instead of breadcrumbs on baked chicken or fish.
Cashews can be beneficial for patients with diabetes due to several reasons. Firstly, cashews are relatively low in carbohydrates compared to other nuts, making them a suitable choice for individuals looking to manage their blood sugar levels. Secondly, cashews are a good source of healthy fats, particularly monounsaturated fats, which have been associated with improved insulin sensitivity and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Additionally, cashews contain dietary fiber, which aids in regulating blood sugar levels and promoting better glycemic control. Cashew nuts have a glycemic index of 25, which is low. However, it is important to consume cashews in moderation due to their calorie density. Overall, incorporating cashews into a balanced diet can provide a nutrient-rich snack option for individuals with diabetes.
Macadamia nuts are an excellent choice for people with diabetes, thanks to their high monounsaturated fat and low carb content. They also have a low glycemic index and are rich in antioxidants and other essential nutrients like thiamin and magnesium. These nutrients can help regulate blood sugar levels. They also provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can further aid blood sugar control.
Fox nuts, also referred to as lotus seeds or makhana, are a nutritious and diabetes-friendly snack option. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and have a low glycemic index, making them slow to be absorbed by the body and preventing rapid blood sugar spikes. These crunchy treats contain antioxidants, minerals, and nutrients that are beneficial for overall health,
and their mild, nutty flavor makes them a delicious snack for all. Additionally, fox nuts are gluten-free and can be consumed independently or added to dishes for a crunchy garnish.
Hazelnuts are a nutritious food choice, as they contain high amounts of monounsaturated fats and are low in carbs. These fats may help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Hazelnuts contain fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients that may benefit those with diabetes. These nuts also contain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, magnesium, and copper. As a result, they are healthy for people with diabetes.
Peanuts are an extremely satiating, diabetes-friendly snack, thanks to their high fiber and protein content. Not only do they have a low glycemic load (a measure of how quickly a food tends to raise blood sugar), but they may help regulate blood sugar. While not technically nuts, peanuts provide many of the same health benefits as tree nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, and pecans. They are also less expensive than most other nuts, which is great if you’re looking to save money but still want nutritional rewards. Peanuts contain more omega-6 fatty acids than other nuts. Too much omega-6 may be linked to increased inflammation, which may increase your diabetes symptoms and risk for obesity.
Pine nut syndrome, also known as “pine mouth” or “pine nut taste disturbance,” refers to a temporary and self-limiting condition characterized by a metallic or bitter taste in the mouth following the consumption of certain types of pine nuts. This taste disturbance typically emerges 1 to 3 days after consumption and can last for days to weeks, affecting the enjoyment of food and beverages. While the precise cause remains uncertain, it is believed that specific compounds or oils in certain pine nut species, such as Pinus armandii and Pinus koraiensis, may trigger this reaction in susceptible individuals. Pine nut syndrome is generally considered a benign condition that resolves on its own without treatment. Further research is needed to fully understand its underlying mechanisms.
Eating nuts can be part of a healthy, balanced diet, but portion control is vital for people with diabetes. Pairing nuts with a source of protein or healthy fat, like cheese or a hard-boiled egg, can help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates from the nuts. Opt for unsalted, unsweetened options to maximize their health benefits. Lastly, for those with diabetes, it’s important to manage blood sugar levels through medication, diet, and physical activity.
- “Nuts and Diabetes – Here’s All You Need to Know – Pecan Nutrition” (August 06, 2019) https://millicanpecan.com/blogs/nutrition/nuts-and-diabetes-here-s-all-you-need-to-know
- “The Benefits and Risks of Peanuts for People with Diabetes” (Updated on April 14, 2023) https://www.healthline.com/health/peanuts-and-diabetes
- “Nuts For Diabetics – A Guide On Which Ones To Pick?” (January 7, 2023) https://www.healthifyme.com/blog/nuts-for-diabetics/
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. (2021). Cashew nuts, raw. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169214/nutrients
- “Is Cashew Good for Diabetes? Let’s Find Out” (April 12, 2023) https://www.healthifyme.com/blog/cashews-for-diabetes/
- “Nuts and diabetes” (January 25, 2023) https://www.diabetes.co.uk/food/nuts-and-diabetes.html
- “The Best Nuts for Diabetes: Walnuts, Almonds, and More” (February 3, 2021) https://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/diet/best-nuts-diabetes-walnuts-almonds-more/