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Health Benefits of Nuts & Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

Research is making a strong case in favor of adding more nuts to your diet.

In a study, the people who ate an ounce of nuts or a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter five times per week had a much lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to the people who rarely ate nuts or peanut butter. The health benefits of nuts are extensive—they are high in healthy fats and other nutrients that may help ward off type 2 diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels steady.

Eating nuts or peanut butter several times a week isn't enough to protect against type 2 diabetes by itself, but it may help. Nuts and peanut butter are high in magnesium and poly- and monounsaturated fats—nutrients that help maintain optimal glucose and insulin levels.

When adding calorie-dense nuts to your diet, cut back on other foods that are high in fat and calories to help balance things out. For example, if you have a handful of nuts as a snack, skip your usual chips or crackers and cheese. If you add peanut butter to your bagel, have half a bagel instead of a whole one. To kick your antidiabetes lifestyle into high gear, exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week and keep your weight down.

Not only will you reap the health benefits of nuts, but you’ll enjoy their taste as well. So go ahead, be a real nut case.

Medically reviewed in October 2018.

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