Almonds are not only delicious, they’re also effective for managing blood sugar levels for Type 2 diabetics.
Almonds Benefit Type 2 Diabetics
A meta-review of 12 similar studies showed a daily intake of about ½ cup (2 ounces) of tree nuts over an eight week time period significantly reduces HemoglobinA1c and fasting glucose in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Tree nuts include almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pecans, and cashews. This is not only great news for diabetics, but also non-diabetics since blood sugar spikes aren’t healthy for anyone.
A Few Reasons Tree Nuts Benefit Type 2 Diabetics
Tree nuts may be effective at helping diabetics for a few reasons.
First, the nuts replace simple carbohydrate choices which are known to spike your blood sugar.
Second, tree nuts are digested and absorbed more slowly due to their fat, fiber, and protein content. This slower absorption in turn slows down the conversion to blood glucose. This is a good thing! Go here to learn more about the disadvantage of the blood sugar rollercoaster.
Third, the fiber, protein and fat content in almonds means it only takes a handful to keep you feeling full and satisfied so you won't have the urge to overeat. Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight is critical for diabetics. When someone has Type 2 diabetes, even a little weight loss can lead to huge improvements in blood sugar control.
Nutritional Benefits of Almonds
Almonds pack a big punch nutritionally speaking as well. They’re rich in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Additionally, almonds are a significant source of protein and fiber, while being naturally low in sugar. They’re packed with healthy unsaturated fat without any cholesterol. Of all tree nuts, almonds rank highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin content by weight. There are 160 calories in 23 almonds, with the majority of these calories coming from healthy fat.
A fun, vegan option for almonds is to make almond milk. Don’t let the length of this recipe fool you because making almond milk is actually fairly easy.
How to Make Your Own Almond Milk
1½ cups whole, raw almonds
4 cups filtered water
1 whole vanilla bean, chopped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2-4 pitted dates, to taste (or 1½ Tablespoon maple syrup or honey)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Small pinch of sea salt, to enhance the flavor
1. Soak 1 cup of raw almonds at least 4 hours or overnight. Make sure all the almonds are covered with water. Take a look at this blog about Soaking Nuts to get a better idea of how to soak nuts. Soaking softens them and makes them much easier to blend. Many claim soaked almost taste and digest better too.
2. Once the almonds are soft, rinse and strain the almonds and pop them into your blender. Add 1½ cups of filtered water. This will create a really smooth paste.
3. Blend for 1-2 minutes. You may need to stop the blender a couple times to stir the mixture with a spatula.
5. Add the remaining 2½ cups of filtered water. Blend for several minutes on the highest speed until it’s completely smooth and frothy. Blend Taste the milk and adjust the vanilla, cinnamon, and other additions to taste.
6. Now it’s time to strain the almond solids out of the liquid for a smoother, creamier product. This can be done using cheesecloth or a nut milk bag.
7. If using cheesecloth, place 3 or 4 layers over a metal strainer set over a bowl. Pour the almond milk through the strainer into the bowl. You might have to do this part in batches, depending on the size of your strainer and bowl. Use a spoon or spatula to press down on the strainer and move the solids around, to help the almond milk through the cheesecloth.
8. Once most of the milk has passed through the strainer, gather up the cheesecloth and gently squeeze it to remove excess liquid. You’ll be left with really fine almond meal inside the cheesecloth.
9. You can discard the leftover almond meal, or dry it out in a dehydrator and use it in place of almond flour in baking recipes.
Enjoy your almonds and your almond milk!
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Live Superfoods
1. Viguiliouk E, Kendall CW, Blanco Mejia S. Cozma AI, Ha V, Mirrahimi A, Jayalath VH, Augustin LS, Chiavaroli L, Leiter LA, de Souza RJ, Jenkinds DJ, Sievenpiper JL. Effect of Tree Nuts on Glycemic Control in Diabetes: A Systematic Review adn Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Dietary Trials. PLoS One. 2014 Jul 30;9(7).