Friday, December 17, 2010

Almonds Might Help With Diabetes Management

Who doesn't love almonds (especially the chocolate-covered kind)? OK, I'm sure there are lots of people out there but I have to say that those who avoid almonds for non-allergy-related reasons are missing out! Not only are almonds loaded with omega-3 essential fatty acids that help keep your heart healthy and other healthy fats that keep your nails and hair strong and shiny - there's also promise that almonds can help in the battle of preventing and managing type 2 diabetes.

According to a new study, eating almonds can help with increasing insulin sensitivity and achieving healthy blood cholesterol levels by lowering LDL-C levels, both of which are important factors in managing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Two groups were assigned to follow a healthy diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association, but one group consume 20% of their calories from almonds. The average age of the study participants was mid-50s. Overall, the 'almond' group had higher insulin sensitivity (meaning their cells responded better to insulin, lowering their blood glucose levels more effectively) and lower LDL-cholesterol levels (the 'bad' kind that ups the risk of CVD and type 2 diabetes).

Mind you that all you need is about an ounce a day within the context of a healthy diet to reap the health benefits that almonds offer, so if you're already there - no need to up the stakes. While it's true that almonds are loaded with healthy fats, they're still loaded with fats and you don't want to go overboard. You should not be increasing the amount of calories you're eating each day, just replacing some fats with almonds -- remember that weight is actually a better predictor of diabetes risk rather than just dietary factors alone. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is the first priority, then you can start worrying about micromanaging your diet!