Snacking your way clear of type 2 diabetes and heart disease? Sign me up!
If you’ve been reading the HealthierTalk.com Digest for any length of time you probably are already aware that I’m a huge fan of functional foods. Whenever you can skip a heavy-duty drug…or even a milder supplement… and simply eat a healthy food instead, I’m all for it.
I suppose everyone has his or her favorite snack foods and I’m no exception. One of mine happens to be raw organic almonds, so when I read about research conducted at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, that concluded that a diet rich in almonds can improve insulin sensitivity and LDL-cholesterol in adults with pre-diabetes I had to take a closer look at the study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Almonds improve insulin sensitivity & LDL-cholesterol
Researchers randomly divided a group of 65 adults with pre-diabetes. The control group consumed a diet that conformed to the American Diabetes Association’s (ADAs) current recommendations, but that excluding any nuts. The intervention group consumed the ADA diet, but with 20% of the calories coming from almonds (about 2 oz. a day).
After just 16 weeks the intervention group showed greater improvements in their insulin levels, overall insulin resistance, and LDL-cholesterol levels when compared to the nut-free group. All three of which, of course, are well known risk factors for both type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
And while the numbers weren’t drastic they were certainly impressive enough to take note of considering that by just adding this healthy snack to your daily routine you could achieve similar positive results.
An interesting wrinkle in the results is that the almond-eating group, although instructed to eat the ADA diet, had less self-reported carbohydrate intake. This means that it’s possible that some of the positive results that researchers saw were the consequence of craving less… and therefore eating less… carbs.
In my book this still puts a big green check in almond’s healthy-snacking corner. No matter how you look at it, this is a case of all roads leading to Rome or, in this case, to all roads leading to a reduction in your risk of developing diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
As for me, I’ll be choosing the almond-lined path on my way to Rome.