Diabetes? Go nuts to lower your heart risk

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A near-daily serving of nuts may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with type 2 diabetes, new research suggests. The study, published online February 19 by Circulation Research, relied on diet surveys from more than 16,000 people before and after they were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a condition that elevates the risk of heart disease. Researchers asked them about their nut-eating habits over a period of several years. People who ate five servings of nuts per week had a 17% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared with those who ate less than a serving per week.

Chock full of unsaturated fat, fiber, and minerals, nuts can help control blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Tree nuts, which include walnuts, almonds, and pistachios, seemed to offer the strongest benefits in the study. Peanuts, which aren't technically nuts but legumes, weren't quite as healthy. While this study can't prove cause and effect, eating a small handful of unsalted nuts on most days will likely help your heart, even if you don't have diabetes.

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