Harvard Health Letter

Pill-free way to help lower blood sugar

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Eating tree nuts is associated with reduced risks of heart disease, cancer, and even death. Now a study published in PLoS One on July 30, 2014, suggests that eating more tree nuts may help people with type 2 diabetes lower their blood sugar. After analyzing the results of a dozen studies, researchers concluded that people who ate about half a cup of tree nuts each day (in two servings) had lower fasting blood sugar than people who didn't eat tree nuts. The nuts included cashews, macadamias, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios (but not peanuts, which are legumes). How do tree nuts work their magic? Researchers think it may be the unsaturated fats or magnesium in tree nuts, or because the nuts replaced carbohydrates in participants' diets. But be careful about how many tree nuts you eat. They're high in calories and fat (even though it's the healthy fat), and eating too many can make you gain weight—which makes controlling diabetes more difficult.

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