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Peanuts: A Diabetes-Friendly Food with Delicious Recipe Ideas

Peanuts are an excellent food choice for preventing or managing type 2 diabetes. With a low glycemic index of just 14, peanuts release sugar gradually into the bloodstream rather than causing sharp spikes that can damage blood vessels.

Selective Focus of Shelled Peanuts image by Pixabay
Source: Pexels

This post will explore the benefits of peanuts for diabetes, share new research confirming their positive impact, and provide 10 nutritious and delicious peanut recipes perfect for a diabetes-friendly diet.

The Glycemic Benefits of Peanuts

The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly foods increase blood glucose levels. High-GI foods like white bread and potatoes cause rapid rises, while low-GI foods like peanuts and non-starchy vegetables release sugar slowly. This is crucial for diabetes management.

In one 2019 study, adding healthy peanut butter to a high GI breakfast significantly moderated blood glucose response (Lilly et al., 2019). The authors suggested this effect was due to peanut butter's high protein and healthy fat content. Another study found incorporating peanuts into an American Diabetes Association (ADA) meal plan improved nutrient intake among people with type 2 diabetes (Wien et al., 2014).

Peanut Nutrition

Beyond glycemic properties, peanuts offer robust nutrition in a small package. Per ounce, peanuts contain (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2013):

  • 7g plant-based protein—more than any other nut
  • 19 vitamins and minerals like magnesium, vitamin E, niacin, folate, thiamin, iron and zinc
  • 3g fiber
  • 8g unsaturated "good" fats

This nutrient profile provides anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and heart benefits.

New Research on Peanuts and Diabetes Risk

Exciting new research shows peanut consumption lowers type 2 diabetes risk. In 2023, a prospective Women's Health Initiative study found following a portfolio diet with peanuts, peanut butter, and other plant foods was linked to a 21% lower diabetes risk in older women (Glenn et al., 2023).

Eating peanuts image by PittCaleb
Source: Flickr

Additionally, regular peanut consumption may provide neurological benefits. A 2021 randomized trial discovered eating peanuts improved memory and decreased anxiety, depression, and stress in healthy adults (Parilli-Moser et al., 2021).

10 Diabetes-Friendly Peanut Recipes

Incorporating peanuts or peanut butter into meals and snacks is an easy way to boost nutrition. Here are 10 delicious diabetes-friendly peanut recipes:

Breakfast

Peanutty Zucchini Muffins

Lunch

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Quesadillas

Dinner

Peanut Tacos with Poblano Cream Sauce & Pickled Onions

Snack

Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars

Dessert

Nice Cream

Add peanuts to your shopping list!

With their stellar nutrition profile and diabetes-friendly properties, peanuts are an easy, affordable addition to any healthy diet. Research continues to confirm peanuts' benefits for diabetes risk reduction, blood sugar management, and even brain health. Incorporating creative peanut recipes can help those with diabetes or at risk embrace nutritious eating for life. Enjoy!

References

Glenn, A.J., Li, J., Lo, K. et al. (2023). The Portfolio Diet and Incident Type 2 Diabetes: Findings From the Women's Health Initiative Prospective Cohort Study. Diabetes Care, 46(1), 28-37. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc22-1029

Lilly, L.N., Allen, M.K. & Neal, M.W. (2019). The Effect of Added Peanut Butter on the Glycemic Response to a High–Glycemic Index Meal: A Pilot Study. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 38(4), 351-357. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2018.1514306

Parilli-Moser, I. et al. (2021). Consumption of peanut products improves memory and stress response in healthy adults from the ARISTOTLE study: A 6-month randomized controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition, 40(11). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2021.09.020

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2013). USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov

Wien, M., Oda, K. & Sabaté, J. (2014). A randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of incorporating peanuts into an American Diabetes Association meal plan on the nutrient profile of the total diet and cardiometabolic parameters of adults with type 2 diabetes. Nutrition Journal, 13, 10. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-13-10

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