There’s no doubt that the nutritional value of peanuts means that they’re an extraordinary addition to a person’s diet. They’re a high protein snack, of course, with seven grams of protein in each one-ounce serving. But did you know peanuts can even keep you from developing diabetes and help diabetics better manage their condition? Here are some surprising diabetes-related peanut benefits of which you might not have been aware:
- Peanuts can help control blood sugar
Those who have diabetes need to be careful about what kinds of foods they consume. Certain foods will cause blood sugar to spike, which can be dangerous for diabetics. Peanuts have a low glycemic index (which refers to how quickly blood sugar rises after eating) of 14. This means that eating peanuts has a minimal impact on blood glucose, which makes it a great option for those who need to keep this under control. Research has also found that eating many peanut products or vinegar along with a starch-rich meal improves blood sugar levels for hours after and stimulates insulin release.
- Many peanut products can help control weight
Many Americans are concerned about their weight, which means that peanuts and peanut products could have the power to help a lot of us. But for those with diabetes, weight management is a must. As we know, peanuts are an excellent source of protein, but they’re also a good source of fat. At first blush, that might not seem like it’d be a good idea for someone who wants to lose weight. But actually, numerous studies have found that the healthy, unsaturated fats (like the ones found in many peanut products) easily fit into weight management programs. And because peanuts keep you fuller for longer, you’ll be less likely to snack on other foods in between meals.
- Peanuts improve heart health
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer for those who have diabetes. Therefore, it’s vital that diabetics follow a heart-healthy diet. Peanuts are just one of the heart-healthy foods that you can incorporate into your routine. Scientific evidence suggests that eating 1.5 ounces of nuts or legumes (like peanuts) every day as part of a diet that’s low in cholesterol and saturated fat may reduce heart disease risk. And according to several other studies, your heart will thank you when you snack on peanuts. Eating about a handful of peanuts five or more times per week can cut heart disease risk in half, while eating peanuts just twice a week can reduce heart disease fatality risk by 24%.
- They come highly recommended
Experts are in agreement: many peanut products are recommended for heart health, diabetes management, and as part of a healthy diet. They’re extremely nutritious, have a low GI, and can even allow you to eat more of the other foods you need in your diet, simply because peanuts are so delicious. The American Diabetes Association consistently mentions peanuts and peanut butter as good options for diabetes management, while the American Heart Association says that peanut butter and “many nuts and seeds” are excellent choices. In 2010, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans listed peanuts and peanut butter as part of the recommended eating patterns, which means that almost anyone can benefit from eating peanuts.
- You may even be able to prevent diabetes with peanuts
If you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, you may want to consider upping your peanut consumption. A major study from Harvard found that type 2 diabetes risk decreases when peanuts and peanut butter are consumed more frequently. Because peanuts are a good source of magnesium (they contain 12% of the daily value), they’re a good option if you’re trying to lower your diabetes risk. Some studies have found that low magnesium intake is linked with an increased risk of developing diabetes or a higher likelihood of having type 2 diabetes. Other studies have found a correlation between magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance in children.
It’s clear that when peanuts are consumed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, they can help our bodies in so many ways. Want to learn more about the health benefits of peanuts? Take a look around our site for more peanut facts.