Eating almonds was linked to lower risk of diabetes and maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels, according to a recent study published in the journal Metabolism, Clinical and Experimental.

Researchers at the Taipei Medical University Hospital in Taiwan, observed that patients with type 2 diabetes who ate 2 ounces of roasted, unsalted whole almonds per day, had significantly lower fasting insulin levels and fasting glucose levels, as well as cholesterol levels. Fasting levels refer to levels usually found in the morning, before the first meal of the day.

The trial was small for a feeding study with 20 participants so further research is needed, researchers note.

The almond diet accompanied a healthy diet that recommended less than 7 percent daily calories from saturated fat and less than 200 mg cholesterol daily.

"Adopting healthy eating habits is high on the list of recommendations for diabetes prevention and management," the Almond Board of California who represents the almond industry, said in a statement.

The recent study supports findings of a similar study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in June 2010 which suggested that consuming an almond-enriched diet may help improve insulin sensitivity and maintain healthy levels of "bad" cholesterol in people with pre diabetes.

Diabetes is expected to affect 8 percent of the global population by 2025.