Nuts and seeds are a nutrition powerhouse and a fantastically crunchy addition to salads, stir-fries, morning oats and low-fat yoghurt! Loaded with healthy fats, they’re a great choice for people with diabetes and may also be beneficial in preventing heart disease. In fact, replacing sources of saturated fats (such as animal fats) with unsaturated fats has been shown to lower cholesterol and significantly improve your risk of heart disease.
Health benefits #1: They're good for blood glucose levels
Nuts and seeds are low in carbs and contain very few sugars, meaning they’re going to have a minimal effect on blood glucose levels. Due to their high fat content they actually lower the glycaemic index of a meal that contains carbohydrates.
Health benefit #2: They're high in fibre
Nuts contain lots of fibre – between five to 10 per cent – which can help you feel fuller for longer and is great for bowel health. They contain vitamins and minerals including potassium, which helps reduce blood pressure, as well as magnesium and fat-soluble vitamin E, an essential antioxidant which plays many roles in the body.
Keep in mind
- Nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats. However, they are energy dense, so it’s important to be aware of your portion sizes.
- Choose unsalted varieties to avoid overdoing your daily salt intake.
- Roasted nuts are full of flavour, but some can have added oils, so look for ‘dry roasted’ on the label.
- A small handful of nuts or seeds – about 20-30g – is a great snack portion, particularly when you’ve got the afternoon munchies. They’re much better for you than crisps or biscuits!
By Lisa Urquhart, Diabetic Living dietitian