A handful of peanuts can really hit the spot when you’re in the mood for a salty snack. According to new research, chowing down on them before bed can also help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and ward off type 2 diabetes.
The study, which was published earlier this year, focused on individuals with impaired fasting glycemia (IFG). This is a type of prediabetes where glucose levels are elevated while fasting between meals (like when asleep), but not quite high enough for a full diabetes diagnosis. Researchers observed 51 participants with IFG who ate just one ounce of peanuts before bed over a six-week period.
Their results showed not only an improvement in fasting glucose levels, but also a greater reduction in triglyceride levels. That’s especially good news considering high cholesterol is incredibly common for those with type 2 diabetes. Previous studies found lowering triglycerides is a major part of them being able to avoid cardiovascular issues.
“Peanuts have a low glycemic index of 14, which helps to prevent spikes in blood sugar, which in turn reduces insulin needs,” Dr. Samara Sterling, a nutrition scientist and research director for The Peanut Institute, explains in a press release. “This new research shows that peanuts can help keep blood sugar stabilized overnight, which is something many diabetics struggle with.”
According to the CDC, about 88 million people in the US are currently living with prediabetes — but 84 percent of those individuals don’t realize it yet. So, whether you’ve been diagnosed or not, it might be a good idea to grab peanuts before hitting the sack at night. Spreading a couple tablespoons of peanut butter on toast or crackers works, too.
This recent research also backs up an earlier study from 2002 which specifically looked into the benefits of peanut butter for warding off diabetes in women. After observing more than 80,000 adult women over a 16 year period, they found consuming peanut butter five times a week reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 21 percent.
Now go ahead and enjoy a salty peanut snack before bed tonight and rest assured only your dreams will be sweet.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.