Nuttin’ Wrong with Nuts

Scrounging around for an afternoon snack? We have a suggestion: a handful of nuts.

Yes, nuts are high in fat and calories, but they’re still a smart choice for people with diabetes, for several reasons:

1. They’re loaded with magnesium, a mineral shown to slash the risk of diabetes and perhaps even boost the sensitivity of cells to insulin. In one study, women who ate nuts or peanut butter at least five times a week were significantly less likely to develop diabetes than those who seldom ate nuts in any form.

2. They help keep blood sugar steady because they’re rich in monounsaturated fat. Fat slows the digestion process, so glucose enters the bloodstream more gradually.

3. Monounsaturated fat, unlike the saturated fat in meat and cheese, actually raises levels of “good” cholesterol, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.

4. According to a Harvard University study, dieters who ate peanuts and peanut butter found it easier to stick to their diets. That doesn’t mean you should feel free to polish off a whole jar of nuts or slather peanut butter on everything in sight — calories still count, after all. Instead, substitute nuts or peanut butter for other, less healthy items in your diet, such as butter or candy.

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