There are over 50 million people who have been affected by diabetes in India. According to the WHO, India has the largest number of people who are diabetic which is closely followed by China. Diabetes as per Wikipedia is defined as a condition where there is deficiency of Insulin hormone, which controls blood sugar level. Its symptoms include fatigue, excessive thirst and frequent urination.
While India struggles to battle this serious diabetic problem, a recent study has shown that consuming a few almonds regularly can help fight diabetes. "Eating almonds has a positive effect on reducing low density cholesterol and also improves insulin sensitivity; so it does help in pushing diabetes away, as it is a healthy source of fiber, protein and calories" says Ritesh Gupta, head of clinical operation at Fortis C-Doc Hospital. Furthermore, the number of diabetics in India is expected to go up to over 85 million by 2030 which would amount to be over 8% percent of the country’s adult population. In this crisis situation almond is finding new recognition as health nut.
"Indians are more prone to lifestyle diseases like diabetes. The increasingly sedentary lifestyle and fast food double up the risk. Almond, which has traditionally been part of our diet, is a high source of nutrition and helps push these diseases away," says Anoop Misra, director of Diabetes Foundation (India). "A handful of almonds contain 164 calories and 7 gm of protein, which helps in fighting hunger pangs and helps you control what you eat. Almonds also help growing children in developing strong bones," he adds.
This thinking is also confirmed by studies conducted in US, by the scholars from universities like of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, West Chester University, Pennsylvania, and Loma Linda University of California, The results are published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition underlining the power of almonds to control diabetes if taken daily.
"A diet consisting of 20 per cent of calories as almonds over a 16-week period is effective in improving markers of insulin sensitivity and yields clinically significant improvements in LDL-C (low density lipoprotein cholesterol) in adults with pre-diabetes," the study said. "We have made great strides in chronic disease research, from evidence of effective treatment to evidence of effective prevention," said Michelle Wien, assistant research professor in nutrition at Loma Linda University's School of Public Health who was also the principal investigator for the study.
"Low density cholesterol is the cholesterol which blocks the arteries. According to the study, the intake of almonds had a significant effect on reducing the levels, along with improving insulin sensitivity," said Karen Lapsley, chief scientific officer of the Almond Board of California, which was an associate in the study.
"It's also very easy to consume, one can have it any time, so it merges well with the hectic lifestyle," Lapsley said.
However indiscreet use is also not encouraged. Almonds will not help as an only remedy and the usage should be regulated as percentage of total calories consumed. "It is not that one can eat anything and pop five almonds. It has to be seen as a percentage of total calorie intakes. The rest of the diet is also important," Gupta added.