People with Diabetes and Depression May Benefit from Eating Almonds, Study Suggests

Usually, it takes more than one small diet change to make a difference in depression symptoms. However, a small new study suggests that one particular food might help ease depression in people with type 2 diabetes, especially when used as a replacement for other carbohydrates in the diet.

The small randomized control trial involved 45 Chinese adults who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes but who had not necessarily been diagnosed with depression. Their average score on the PROMIS depression scale was 49, just below the 55-point limit for mild depression.

Photo: Adobe Stock/Milan

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The subjects were advised to adopt a low-fat and low-carb diet rich in vegetables and protein and low in salt. The control group was given permission to indulge in a daily 300-gram serving of carbohydrates, such as rice or noodles, while the experimental group was asked to cut that amount in half and replace it with about half a cup of almonds (56 grams).

Participants in the almond group saw a reduction in their self-reported depression symptoms via the PROMIS scale after three months, while the control group’s average mood did not change.

Photo: Adobe Stock/nenetus

Both diets improved participants’ metabolic parameters, including weight and HbA1c, but the almond group had a slightly better reduction in HbA1c. Microbiome biodiversity also improved in both groups, but the almond group showed a significant increase in bacterial species that produce short-chain fatty acids, which promote the production of peptide-1 and can help lower appetite and regulate insulin.

Because of the study’s small sample size and the fact that the almonds were a replacement for other carb-laden foods rather than an addition to the participants’ diets, more research is needed to truly understand the relationship between almonds, depression, and diabetes metrics.

Photo: Adobe Stock/Daisy Daisy

For now, however, if you like almonds and you’re dealing with depression, it couldn’t hurt to try eating more almonds (on top of following a low-carb diet with plenty of vegetables and protein) in an attempt to boost your mood. We wish you luck, and we can’t wait to see more research on this topic.

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