What are peanuts?
Peanuts, scientifically known as Arachis hypogaea are a legume that originated from South America. They go by a variety of names, such as groundnuts, earthnuts, and goobers. Peanuts are a very high-calorie nut and contain all the 20 amino acids, with the most abundant of the amino acids being arginine, which stimulates the immune system. In addition to that, they are rich in several vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that are used to treat many ailments. Peanuts may promote heart health, help in weight loss, prevent gallstones, and help in the control of blood sugar. A healthy and balanced diet is necessary for diabetes management; to keep blood sugar levels within the target range. Most times diabetics are confused about the effects of certain foods on blood sugar levels and diabetes control. In this article, we have discussed the potential health benefits of peanuts to diabetic patients and their possible risks.
What are the Advantages of Peanuts to Diabetics?
Diabetes causes hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) in patients. Thus when planning their meals, diabetics should consider foods that do not raise blood glucose levels faster.
Experts of diabetes advise that diabetics should eat high fiber foods. They help you feel full for a longer time and also slow the process of glucose absorption. High fiber diets also lower blood cholesterol levels. As per the National Peanut Board, people with diabetes must include peanuts and peanut butter in their diet to manage their diabetes, provided they are not allergic to it. This is because peanuts have a low glycemic index and glycemic load, and also contain some very essential nutrients. The glycemic index of values makes peanuts one of the low score foods. As such, peanuts are slowly converted to glucose during digestion.
Below are the advantages of peanuts to diabetic patients:
Lowers blood sugar level and risk of cardiovascular diseases
Peanuts are a great source of fiber just like beans and legumes, which help control blood sugar and regulate your bowel movements. The minerals and fiber present in peanuts are also good for keeping blood pressure in check and supporting your heart.
Peanuts and peanut butter have a low glycemic index, which makes them completely safe for people suffering from diabetes. Eating peanuts raises blood sugar levels very slowly compared to other foods due to their low glycemic score. Studies reveal that peanuts are loaded with 21% manganese for every 100grams which plays a role in the absorption of calcium, and regulation of blood sugar levels.
Magnesium has been shown to play a role in reducing the risk of diabetes due to its positive relationship with how insulin is released and absorbed in the body. Peanuts contain 12% of the daily value for magnesium, making them a “good source” of the nutrient, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In one study, individuals who ate peanuts every day for three weeks not only had a higher intake of magnesium, but blood magnesium also improved to above-recommended levels. The dietary peanuts in magnesium can;
- Improve the sensitivity of insulin
- Lower oxidative stress
- Help prevent systemic inflammation
Peanuts and peanut butter contain and a good amount of proteins, fats, and fiber, which help to improve gut health and keeps you satisfied for longer hours. Consuming peanuts provide instant energy, increases metabolic activity, and prevents overeating, thus helps to regulate overweight.
How do I incorporate more peanuts into my diet?
If you’re looking for a healthy snack in between meals, raw or roasted, unsalted peanuts are a great option. With its high fiber, protein, and fat content, they can help take the edge off hunger and prevent you from indulging in other less nutritious foods.
Peanuts make a great addition to yogurts, salads, cereals, stir-fries, and fruit bowls. Sugar-free, natural peanut butter is also a good option for your morning toast or a mid-day sandwich. Also, try roasting peanuts in an oven and add garlic and spices instead of salt.
Peanuts can have a very positive impact on your blood sugar levels, heart health, and even your weight. Just be sure to read nutritional labels on pre-made snacks and watch your portion sizes to ensure you’re getting the most benefits.
Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids in peanuts Safe?
Unlike other nuts, peanuts contain omega-6 fatty acids in higher quantities. Studies have shown that these high levels of omega-6 fatty acids can lead to inflammations in the body. As such, these inflammations can aggravate diabetes and other metabolic syndromes like CVD, non alocoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), obesity, etc, over time. Thus, it is recommended that the patient achieves a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Some other studies have, however, shown that omega-6 fatty acids reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. These fatty acids general play a significant role in the regulation of inflammation.
Are peanuts risky for people with diabetes?
Peanuts can have the following negative effects on diabetes patients:
Salt and sugar.
There is usually an added amount of salt and sugar in peanut, which you’ll want to limit if you are diabetic. Peanut butter, in particular, can include added fat, oil, and sugar. Therefore, choosing a natural peanut butter with few, if any, ingredients other than peanuts are your best option.
Though peanuts can be a good addition to the diet of people with diabetes, people with allergy to peanuts should avoid it at all costs or should take under the guidance of a medical practitioner only.
While peanuts may be advantageous for those with type 2 diabetes, they are relatively high in calories and should be eaten
in moderation. To reduce your calorie intake, try eating peanuts in place of, rather than in addition to refined grain products and red and processed meats.
Peanuts can be part of a healthy diet for diabetes patients because it contains some essential nutrients. They, however, contain a lot of calories and should be eaten in moderation. Processed peanuts may be rich in sodium, sugar, and fats. As such, diabetics should check the labels of peanut butter and pre-made peanut snacks for their carbohydrate counts and calorie tracking. Diabetes patients should seek advice from their dieticians or medical advisers before eating peanuts.