Almonds show promise in fight against diabetes

The fight against diabetes may have a new weapon. It’s not a laboratory drug or miracle plant from the rainforest —it’s almonds.

As reported by The Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Loma Linda University in California, West Chester University in Pennsylvania and New Jersey’s University of Medicine and Dentistry concluded over a 16-week period a significant benefit in consuming almonds: Diets consisting of 20% of daily calories coming from almonds (approximately 2 ounces) are effective in improving markers of insulin sensitivity and demonstrate clinically significant improvements in LDL-cholesterol levels in adults with prediabetes.

Consistent with other recently published studies including one that measured the effect of diet on health and the development of chronic diseases in seniors, and one that noted a significant decrease in heart disease among women over 60 with the regular consumption of chocolate, the almond study shows the complexity with which food affects our bodies, and why a balanced, largely plant-based diet has benefits we may not yet fully understand.

As the Baby Boomer generation is now turning 65 and incidences of diabetes are significantly on the rise in every age group across America, we’re facing an epidemic, with nearly one third of the population diabetic or prediabetic. The almond study also showed improved cardiovascular function for participants. Heart disease is still the number one killer in America according to the Centers for Disease control, with an estimated 785,000 Americans having new heart attacks and nearly 500,000 Americans having a recurrent episode in 2009.

Compared to other nuts, almonds rank highest in fiber, magnesium (important for the heart), potassium, copper, vitamin E and protein.

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Photo: Jill Ettinger