Monday, May 28, 2012

Be Healthy: Almonds

Almonds are one of the most nutritious nuts around. Almonds are high in protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

When it comes to snack foods, the health benefits of almonds secure top honors for the nut. The health benefits are wide and varied. Here are some amazing health benefits that almonds have:
  1. Keeps the Heart healthy: A study showed those who consumed nuts five times a week had a 50% reduction in risk of heart attack. Huge amounts of vitamin E found in these nuts acts as an antioxidant and reduces the risk of heart diseases. Almonds also help reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) which causes artery-damaging inflammation.
  2. Reduces bad cholesterol: Almonds are a good source of monounsaturated fats and some polyunsaturated fats which help to lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol). A handful of almonds every day can lower your bad cholesterol level by 8 to 12 percent.
  3. Improves blood circulation: Almonds are high in potassium and low in sodium, both are factors that regulate blood pressure. The high level of magnesium in almonds has a very positive effect on our arteries and veins and helps to improve the overall flow of nutrients through our bodies. It also contains iron, which helps carry oxygen to all of the body's cells and organs.
  4. Strengthen our bones: They are a very good source of calcium which prevents osteoporosis and strengthens the bones, teeth and muscles. It also provides other nutrients that help to increase the bone mineral density, which helps to strengthen the skeletal system.
  5. Helps you lose weight: Almonds have high fiber content, protein and the good type of fat which satisfies your appetite very soon therefore you are less likely to have cravings and overeat. Studies have revealed that almond rich low calorie diet is good for obese people to assist in shedding their weight.
  6. Good for diabetic people: They are a low glycemic index (GI) food. When eaten with a high GI food, it helps in reducing the rise in sugar and insulin levels after meals.
  7. Reduces the risk of Cancer: Being high in natural fiber, it improves the movement of food through the colon, thereby preventing colon cancer. It is an excellent source of vitamin E, phytochemicals and flavonoids which suppress the growth of breast cancer cells. It is also rich source of boron which helps to prevent prostate cancer.
  8. Prevents Gallstones: People eating at least 5 almonds a day have a 25% lower risk of developing gallstones, a study confirms. Almond oil also possesses laxative properties and helps to produce soft stools and avoid any constipation.
  9. Good for hair: A massage of Almond oil mixed with Indian gooseberry (amla) juice can prevent hair loss. It also prevents graying and thinning of hair. It also helps if you have dandruff.
  10. Good for skin: An almond face pack prevents dry skin, pimples and black heads and is a good long term cure for acne. It also improves skin complexion and premature aging. It nourishes the skin making it smooth and soft.
  11. Energy booster: Nutrients present in almonds like Protein, Manganese, Copper & Riboflavin are all used to generate energy in our body. An almond chocolate or an energy bar is something must if you are always on the move.
  12. Good for brain power: Almond is a source of many nutrients which helps in development of the brain development. Ayurveda recommends having 5 soaked almonds in the morning everyday for maximum brainpower. Phenylalanine, a brain-boosting chemical present in almond, aids healthy development of our cognitive functions.
  13. Good source of Protein: Almonds, like all nuts, provide one of the best plant sources of protein. They provide high quality and highly absorbable protein. A quarter-cup (containing around 30 almonds) contains around 7.6 grams of protein.

Almonds, though a bit expensive, are easily available and can be consumed at any time and in all seasons. The sweet almonds are edible and bitter almonds are used to make almond oil. So go Nuts on Almonds and stay healthy!

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