Sometimes, you feel like a nut. More than just an old-school advertising jingle, the phrase can be good advice for those looking to improve their heart health or manage their diabetes.
Nuts are a super snack food because they’re the total package — low in carbs and high in protein, fiber and healthy fat. According to the American Heart Association, this healthy fat is important because people with Type 2 diabetes are up to four times more likely to die of heart disease.
The heart-healthy fats in nuts can lower bad cholesterol, while also raising levels of good cholesterol, which prevents plaque buildup in the arteries. Nuts can also help regulate your blood sugar.
But before you dig into a bag, there are a couple of caveats. Nuts are high in calories, which is why experts suggest measuring out 1-ounce portion sizes instead of grabbing handfuls. Also, avoid nuts that are coated with salt or sugar. Sodium is bad for your blood pressure, and the sweet-and-savory combo — think chocolate-covered peanuts or honey-roasted cashews — are high in carbs. Stick to dry-roasted or raw nuts.
Walnuts get rave reviews for helping to reduce inflammation, which is tied to a host of ailments including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. Almonds are high in magnesium and help control glucose levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease for people with Type 2 diabetes.
And don’t overlook peanut butter. Studies have shown obese women with Type 2 diabetes who added peanut butter to their breakfast had better glucose readings and appetite control for up to 12 hours.
If you’re looking for a heathy snack, avoid the sweets and go nuts. Your heart will thank you.