Are Cashews Good For Diabetes? Exploring The Facts In 2024

Lisandra Fields

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

are cashews good for diabetes
Are cashews good for diabetes? The answer is yes!

Are cashews good for diabetes? Let’s dive in! Cashews are these amazing nuts known for their creamy texture and delicious taste. But are they a good choice for people with diabetes? They definitely can be! 

Cashews offer some potential benefits for those managing diabetes. They’re low in carbs but packed with healthy fats, fiber, and protein. These nutrients can help regulate blood sugar levels and keep you feeling satisfied. 

However, keeping an eye on portion sizes is important because cashews are a bit calorie-dense.[1]  In this article, we’ll dig into the research and expert opinions to determine whether cashews can fit into your diabetes-friendly diet and how much is good to have. 

So, put aside your supplements and grab a handful of cashews; let’s find out if they’re a crunchy snack you can enjoy guilt-free!

Are Cashews Good For Diabetes?

Yes. Cashews can be a nutritious snack option for individuals with diabetes. They are low in carbohydrates and contain healthy fats, fiber, and protein. These components can help regulate blood sugar levels and promote satiety. However, portion control is crucial due to their calorie density. Consuming cashews in moderation is advisable as part of a balanced diet. Consulting a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance on incorporating cashews or any other food into a diabetes management plan. Remember to consider individual dietary needs, overall health, and any existing medical conditions.

Cashews Nutrition Facts

Cashews are delicious and offer a range of beneficial nutrients. Here’s a breakdown of cashews’ nutrition facts:[2]

  • Healthy Fats (23.8 grams): Cashews are a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.[3] These fats help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Dietary Fiber (3.3 grams): Cashews are a good source of dietary fiber,[4] which aids in digestion, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and promotes a feeling of fullness.
  • Protein (18.2 grams): Cashews provide a moderate amount of protein, making them a great snack option for vegetarians and vegans. Protein is essential for tissue repair, muscle growth, and overall body function.
  • Micronutrients: Cashews contain various essential minerals such as magnesium (292 milligrams), zinc (5.78 milligrams), phosphorus (593 milligrams), and copper (2.2 milligrams). These minerals are vital in bone health, immune function, energy production, and enzyme activity.
  • Antioxidant Properties: Cashews are rich in vitamins, including vitamin E (0.9 milligrams), which can help combat oxidative stress and protects cells from damage. While cashews offer these nutritional benefits, it’s important to remember that they are also calorie-dense. Therefore, portion control is crucial to prevent overconsumption and maintain a healthy diet.

Do Cashews Raise Blood Sugar Levels?

If you’re concerned about the impact of cashew nuts on blood sugar levels, you’ll be relieved to know that cashews generally have a minimal effect. 

While cashews contain carbohydrates, they also contain a considerable amount of healthy fats, fiber, and protein, which can help slow down glucose absorption into the bloodstream. 

This slower absorption can prevent high blood pressure. Additionally, cashews’ fiber content can improve blood sugar control. However, it’s important to consume cashews in moderation and be mindful of portion sizes to maintain these benefits. 

It’s always a good idea to monitor your blood sugar levels and consult a healthcare professional certified in diabetes education or a registered dietitian for personalized advice on cashews and your diabetes management plan.

Health Benefits Of Cashews For Diabetes

Cashews offer several health benefits for individuals managing diabetes. Here are some ways they can be advantageous:

Blood Sugar Control 

Cashews have a low glycemic index,[5] meaning they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. Their healthy fats, fiber, and protein combination can help regulate blood glucose levels, preventing sharp spikes and promoting stable control.

Heart Health Support 

The monounsaturated fats in cashews can help improve heart health by reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. Managing cardiovascular health is crucial for individuals with diabetes at a higher risk of heart disease.

Weight Management 

Cashews’ fiber and protein content increases satiety, helping control appetite and manage body weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for diabetes management as it can improve insulin sensitivity.

Nutrient Density 

Cashews are packed with essential nutrients, including magnesium, which is vital in glucose metabolism and insulin action. Additionally, they contain copper, which aids in energy production and immune function.

Nutritional Balance 

Incorporating cashews as part of a well-rounded, healthy diet can help diversify nutrient intake and add variety to meals and snacks. This contributes to overall health and well-being.

Remember, while the benefits of cashews are promising, it’s important to consider individual dietary needs and practice portion control.

 In fact, the monounsaturated fat found in cashews helps to control blood pressure, one of the cardiovascular risk factors prevalent in diabetes.

Who Should Avoid Eating Cashews

While cashews offer numerous health benefits, certain individuals should exercise caution or avoid consuming cashews altogether. Here’s a list of individuals who may need to be mindful of cashew consumption:

Allergies 

Cashews are a common allergen,[6] and individuals with known cashew allergies should avoid them completely. Cashew allergies can cause severe reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.

Kidney Problems 

Cashews are relatively high in potassium, and individuals with kidney problems such as chronic kidney disease may need to limit their potassium intake[7] in order to preserve their kidney function. 

Weight Concerns 

Cashews are calorie-dense and can contribute to weight gain[8] if consumed in excess. Individuals who are trying to lose weight or maintain a specific calorie intake should be mindful of their cashew portion sizes.

Gastrointestinal Issues 

Some individuals may experience digestive problems, such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea when consuming cashews or other nuts. If you have a known sensitivity or intolerance to cashews, it’s best to avoid them.

Nutrient Interactions 

Cashews contain oxalates, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones[9] in susceptible individuals. If you have a history of kidney stones or are at a higher risk, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before including cashews in your diet.

How To Add Cashews To Your Diabetes Diet

If you have diabetes and want to incorporate cashew nuts into your diet, here are some tips to do so in a diabetes-friendly way:

  • Portion Control: Cashews are calorie-dense, so it’s essential to be mindful of portion sizes. Stick to a small handful or approximately 1 ounce of cashews to avoid excessive calorie intake.
  • Pair with Balanced Meals: Include cashews as a balanced meal combining carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. For example, add a sprinkle of chopped cashews to a salad with leafy greens, lean protein, and a source of carbohydrates like quinoa or sweet potatoes.
  • Snack Mindfully: Use cashews as a satisfying snack option, but avoid mindlessly munching on them straight from the container. Portion out a serving size and enjoy them with a protein or fiber source, such as a piece of string cheese or some raw vegetables.
  • Combine with Carb-Rich Foods: Since cashews are relatively low in carbohydrates, pairing them with carb-rich foods can help slow down glucose absorption and provide sustained energy. Consider enjoying cashews alongside oats, quinoa, or whole grains.
  • Balance with Physical Activity: To consume more cashews, consider incorporating physical activity to help manage blood pressure levels. Exercise can enhance insulin sensitivity and assist in maintaining stable glucose levels.
  • Monitor Blood Sugar Levels: Consider how cashews impact your blood sugar levels. Everyone’s response may vary, so monitoring your blood glucose levels after consuming cashews is important to understand their effect on your diabetes management.

Always consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice on incorporating cashews into your diabetes diet plan. They can provide specific recommendations based on your individual health condition, medication, and blood sugar control goals.

The Takeaway

Are cashews good for diabetes? Definitely. These healthy nuts can be a beneficial addition to a diabetes-friendly diet when consumed in moderation and with consideration for individual needs. These creamy nuts offer various health benefits, including blood sugar control, heart health support, weight management, and nutrient density. 

While they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels, portion control remains crucial due to their calorie density. Incorporating cashews into your meals and snacks can be done creatively, such as enjoying them as a snack or adding them to salads, stir-fries, or baked goods. 

However, individuals with allergies, kidney problems, weight concerns, or gastrointestinal issues should exercise caution. 

As with any dietary decision, consulting with healthcare professionals or registered dietitians for personalized guidance is essential. By considering these factors and making informed choices, you can enjoy the taste, nutritional benefits, and potential advantages of cashews while managing your diabetes effectively.


+ 9 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Mohan, V., Rajagopal Gayathri, Jaacks, L.M., Nagarajan Lakshmipriya, Ranjit Mohan Anjana, Spiegelman, D., Raman Ganesh Jeevan, Gounder, K., Shanmugam Shobana, Mathialagan Jayanthan, Gopinath, V., Divya S, Vasudevan Kavitha, Parthasarathy Vijayalakshmi, Bai, R., Ranjit Unnikrishnan, Vasudevan Sudha, Krishnaswamy, K., Jordi Salas-Salvadó and Willett, W.C. (2018). Cashew Nut Consumption Increases HDL Cholesterol and Reduces Systolic Blood Pressure in Asian Indians with Type 2 Diabetes: A 12-Week Randomized Controlled Trial. [online] 148(1), pp.63–69. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxx001.
  2. Usda.gov. (2023). FoodData Central. [online] Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170162/nutrients
  3. Sepideh Mahboobi (2019). The Effect of Cashew Nut on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (P06-117-19). [online] 3, pp.nzz031.P06-19. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzz031.p06-117-19.
  4. Rico, R., Mònica Bulló and Jordi Salas-Salvadó (2015). Nutritional composition of raw fresh cashew ( Anacardium occidentale L.) kernels from different origin. [online] 4(2), pp.329–338. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.294.
  5. Jamshidi, S., Moradi, Y., Ghazaleh Nameni and Mohammad Reza Vafa (2021). Effects of cashew nut consumption on body composition and glycemic indices: A meta-analysis and systematic… [online] ResearchGate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349871768_Effects_of_cashew_nut_consumption_on_body_composition_and_glycemic_indices_A_meta-analysis_and_systematic_review_of_randomized_controlled_trials
  6. Aysegul Ertugrul, Ilknur Bostanci and Serap Ozmen (2021). A remarkable food allergy in children: cashew nut allergy. [online] 56(2), pp.131–135. doi:https://doi.org/10.5152/turkarchpediatr.2020.20111.
  7. Picard, K., Maria Manuela Silva, Mager, D.R. and Richard, C. (2020). Dietary Potassium Intake and Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease Progression in Predialysis Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: A Systematic Review. [online] 11(4), pp.1002–1015. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmaa027.
  8. Rajabali Rayati Damavandi, Seyedeh Neda Mousavi, Farzad Shidfar, Mohammadi, V., Rajab, A., Hosseini, S. and Mahdi Sepidarkish (2019). Effects of Daily Consumption of Cashews on Oxidative Stress and Atherogenic Indices in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Controlled-Feeding Trial. [online] In Press(In Press). doi:https://doi.org/10.5812/ijem.70744.
  9. Lee, O., Park, K., Sun, K. and Gordon, S. (2021). Cashew-Induced Oxalate Nephropathy: A Rare Cause of Acute Renal Failure. [online] ResearchGate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/355971562_Cashew-Induced_Oxalate_Nephropathy_A_Rare_Cause_of_Acute_Renal_Failure
Lisandra Fields

Medically reviewed by:

Melissa Mitri

Lisandra Fields is a freelance medical writer from Pennsylvania who creates articles, blog posts, fact sheets, and website content for health-related organizations across North America. She has experience working with a wide range of clients, from health charities to businesses to media outlets. She has experience writing about cancer, diabetes, ALS, cannabis, personality psychology, and COVID-19, among many other topics. Lisandra enjoys reading scientific journal articles and finding creative ways to distill the ideas for a general audience.

Medically reviewed by:

Melissa Mitri

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