Move over green tea and blueberries, there's a new diabetes superfood in town: almonds. A new study out of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey found that almonds reduce the Type 2 diabetes risk and make diabetics more sensitive to insulin.
Here's why a handful (or two) of almonds a day can keep the endocrinologist away:
Insulin Sensitivity: Scientists aren't sure why, but a yet to be discovered compound in almonds boosts your cell's ability to use insulin and clear glucose (sugar) from the body. The importance of this can't be overstated as poor insulin sensitivity and high sugar levels are the underlying cause of heart disease and kidney failure in Type 2 diabetics.
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While losing weight and exercising are a must for reducing blood sugar levels, almonds seem to work after a few "doses"... much faster than most other approaches for keeping tabs on blood sugar.
"Good" Fats: Fat phobia should have gone out of style in the 1990s along with the Spice Girls. Sadly, many health care professionals continue to cling to the notion that fat is bad for you. For diabetics in particular, nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike carbs and even certain sources of protein, fats barely make a dent in blood sugar levels.
But this doesn't mean that spooning lard into your mouth is a wise idea. You want to get the majority of your fats in the form of healthy monounsaturated fats, which happen to be found in abundance in raw almonds.
Weight Loss: Type 2 diabetics that lose weight and keep it off have significantly lower blood sugar levels when compared to heavier diabetics. In fact, losing weight is one of the most crucial parts of diabetes management.
Purdue University researchers found that, while almonds are high in calories, they don't contribute to weight gain or obesity. Purdue's Richard Mattes thinks that the calories in almonds and other nuts aren't as well absorbed as in other fatty foods.
Fiber: Fiber fills you up, clears out bad cholesterol levels and doles out carbohydrates more slowly into your blood stream. In addition to downing generous amounts of fruits and vegetables, adding almonds to your healthy diet is a fantastic way to give your body the extra fiber is needs.
Just a quarter-cup serving of almonds contains a little over four grams of dietary fiber.
Carb Blocker: Have you ever seen those supplements touted as carb blockers pushed on late night infomercials? It sounds too good to be true, and for the most part, it is. However, research published in Experimental Biology found that eating almonds with a carb rich meal blocked the digestion of carbs, resulting in better controlled blood sugar levels.
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