Nuts and bolts for diabetes health
I’m a big fan of nuts when it comes to normalizing blood sugar and one of my favourite’s is Walnuts. In fact, it’s on my superfood list and I hope after reading this it will feature on yours too.
Not the prettiest of nuts you may say but interestingly they resemble the brain which may not be the prettiest either but let’s face it it’s where the action is!
Joking aside, walnuts may well benefit our brain and as there is pretty hard hitting evidence evolving on the link between diabetes and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease we do need to be mindful of brain health.
I first became aware of the value of nuts when I heard a Chinese professor point out the similarity in shape and that this is no mistake of nature. Walnuts are good for our brain health and importantly can contribute to protecting it from stroke as well as Alzheimer’s disease.
But nuts can also offer a really valuable contribution to our heart health, our hair, our waistline and importantly our blood sugar.
Although always an avid eater of nuts, walnuts did not feature high on my favourites until I came across some research that really stopped me in my tracks. It was published in The New England Journal of Medicine and demonstrated that eating between 8 and 16 walnuts per day decreased total and LDL CHOLESTEROL by 5-10% percent AND reduced incidence of STROKE and clogging of arteries by 70%.
This blew me away, who can argue that food is not medicine with outcomes like that?
Yet people with diabetes who are more vulnerable to heart disease and stroke are often told to avoid nuts and eat a low fat diet. Good fats are so important for insulin sensitivity and heart health.
But if all of that good news is not good enough to convince you about eating walnuts here’s a few more benefits that have come from numerous published studies:
- Can help to significantly reduce risk of fatal heart attack (by around 50%)
- Have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity
- They have at least 16 anti-oxidants (most of which are in the nut skin)
- Have anti-cancer properties
- Help repair blood vessel walls
- Help in appetite control
- Curb cravings for unhealthy foods
- Associated with weight loss in some studies
The average intake in these studies is about 8 walnuts per day. I don’t know any drug that boasts all of these benefits!
Of course the benefits will be more of note if eaten as part of a healthy diet rich in fresh vegetables particularly greens, berries, low GL fruits and high in fibre.
Also bear in mind that most nuts are more nutritious when soaked in water for a few hours and easier to digest. I put mine in my morning smoothie and enjoy them with a bit of dark chocolate every now and then!
So, I strongly suggest you look more favourably on walnuts now and find a way to best enjoy them. One amazing fast food it must be said.