Will eating nuts lower my risk for diabetes?

Risk for type 2 diabetes in women who eat nuts at least five times per week is 30 percent lower than those who rarely or never eat nuts. Nuts contain lots of fat, but most fats in nuts are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good for insulin sensitivity and serum cholesterol. Before the bad LDL cholesterol can damage arteries, it must first be converted to oxidized LDL. Monounsaturated fats form LDL cholesterol that resists oxidation and therefore protects arteries. Nuts are also rich in antioxidant vitamins, minerals, plant protein and dietary fiber.

However, nuts are concentrated sources of calories, so rather than adding nuts to your current diet, substitute them for less healthful foods such as bread or red meats. It’s easier to control your portion size if you sprinkle nuts into a salad or your cereal rather than eating them by the handful as snacks.

May 1, 2006

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