Be Nutty For Nuts
Are you including nuts in your daily menu? Well, you probably should. Scientific studies continue to show benefits for people with diabetes, and in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, from eating nuts.
Nuts are great not only for their taste and nutrition benefits – providing protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals – but also for the benefits they bring to improving blood glucose readings and heart health. Nuts contain unsaturated fats, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E (which has been shown to stop the plaque buildup in your arteries) and plant sterols (substances that can help lower your cholesterol).
And, there's more. Several studies have shown an association between consuming nuts and weight reduction. People who ate nuts two or more times a week gained less weight than those who abstained. When people replaced snack foods with nuts, the nut eaters lost more weight!
How to consume nuts
Nuts can find their way into your menu any number of ways besides as a snack. They can be added to hot or cold cereals, side dishes, entrees such as fish or chicken, or topping a salad. Nuts can also be consumed on sandwiches as nut butters, or added to homemade muffins or breads.
Yes, nuts are fairly high in calories. Like everything else, we need to monitor our portion sizes. The following is a breakdown of portion and caloric content of some of your favorites:
Nut Portion Calories
Almonds 23 160
Cashews 1 ounce 160
Hazelnuts 1 ounce 180
Peanuts 1 ounce 170
Pecans 20 halves 200
Pistachios 49 160
Walnuts 14 halves 185
Remember, just adding nuts to your diet without cutting back on the saturated fats found in chips, desserts, full fat dairy and fatty meat products won't do your heart any favors. Using nuts as a replacement for other snack foods or ingredients in recipes, however, could punch your ticket to better health.
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