Mumbai: Eating almonds twice a day can help improve glucose metabolism as well as keep cholesterol levels in check, suggests a study.
The study showed that almond consumption can improve blood sugar levels at the pre-diabetes stage, which may help prevent or delay the development of diabetes.
In addition, almond consumption also reduced total cholesterol and acebad" LDL-cholesterol significantly compared to the control group, while maintaining "good" HDL-cholesterol levels.
"Lifestyle changes including improved nutrition and exercise targeted at teens and young adults have the potential to halt the progression from prediabetes to Type-2 diabetes. Results from this study show that the change does not have to be a major one -- simply including a twice-daily snack of almonds can make a difference," said principal investigator Jagmeet Madan, Professor and Principal at Sir Vithaldis Thackersey College of Home Science in Mumbai.
"The study results are very promising in showing how almonds improved total and LDL-cholesterol levels and reduced HbA1c levels in just 12 weeks of consumption," Madan added.
For the study, the team included 275 participants (59 male, 216 female) with impaired glucose metabolism (prediabetes).
The almond group ate 56 grams (about 2 one-ounce servings, or nearly 340 calories) of unroasted almonds every day for three months and the control group consumed a savory snack made using whole wheat flour, chickpea flour, salt, and Indian spices, with the same number of calories.
Both the almond and savory snacks accounted for nearly 20 per cent of participants' total calorie intake.
In the almond group, HbA1c -- a measure of long-term blood sugar control that also serves as a diagnostic criteria for prediabetes and diabetes -- decreased significantly compared to the control group. There was a decrease in the fasting blood glucose in the almond group in comparison to the control group but was not statistically significant.