Diabetes and Almonds: What You Need to Know

Overview

Almonds may be bite-sized, but these nuts pack a big nutritional punch. They’re an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E and manganese. They’re also a good source of:

In fact, “almonds are actually one of the highest protein sources among tree nuts,” said Peggy O’Shea-Kochenbach, MBA, RDN, LDN, a dietitian and consultant in Boston.

Are almonds beneficial for people with diabetes?

Almonds, while nutritionally beneficial for most people, are especially good for people with diabetes.

“Research has shown that almonds may reduce the rise in glucose (blood sugar) and insulin levels after meals,” said O’Shea-Kochenbach.

In a 2011 study, researchers found that the consumption of 2 ounces of almonds was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and fasting glucose. This amount consists of about 45 almonds.

The key in this study is that the participants reduced their caloric intake by enough to accommodate the addition of the almonds so that no extra calories were consumed.

2010 study found that eating almonds may help increase insulin sensitivity in people with prediabetes.

Almonds and magnesium

Almonds are high in magnesium. Experimental studies have suggested that dietary magnesium intake may reduce a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In a 2012 study, researchers found that long-term high blood sugar levels may cause a loss of magnesium via urine. Because of this, people with diabetes may be at a greater risk for magnesium deficiency. Learn more about mineral deficiencies.

Almonds and your heart

Almonds may reduce your risk of heart disease. This is important for people with diabetes. According to the World Heart Federation, people with diabetes are at a higher risk of heart disease.

“Almonds are high in monounsaturated fat,” said O’Shea-Kochenbach, “which is the same type of fat we often hear associated with olive oil for its heart-health benefits.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), an ounce of almonds contains nearly 9 grams of monounsaturated fat.

Nuts are a high-calorie snack, but they don’t seem to contribute to increased weight gain when eaten in moderation. Not only do they contain healthy fats, but they also leave you feeling satisfied.