Although almonds are a nutrient-dense food, some consumers may have avoided them for their calorie density. The good news is that, emerging research indicates almond consumption does not cause weight gain and that almonds may have a role in successful weight management due to their effect on appetite satiety.
A seed from the stone fruit family, almonds are a rich source of nutrients, most notably Vitamin E and protein. Almond research conducted over the past decade has shown strong links of almond consumption with lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of lifestyle diseases, and overall wellness. Research into nuts has been so extensive that qualified health claims for certain nuts such as almonds' ability to reduce the risk of heart disease has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] in USA.
Almonds are a quality protein source, an excellent source of vitamin E, a good source of dietary fibre, and offer a multitude of essential minerals, making them a smart choice as part of a healthy diet. Almonds also offer monounsaturated, or "good," fat that is beneficial to heart health.
Benefits of almonds
Almonds help in fighting diabetes and heart diseases
The presence of powerful nutrients like proteins, dietary fibre, monounsaturated fatty acids [MUFA] and Vitamin E make almonds a rich diet source for combating degenerative diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases.
Almonds are a great cholesterol-lowering food
Nearly 70 per cent of the fat in almonds is monounsaturated - a suggested substitute to saturated fats to reduce the cholesterol levels. Research also shows that almonds and almond oil have similar cholesterol-lowering effects. In fact eating almonds consistently lowers total and LDL cholesterol respectively by four and five per cent. This cholesterol-lowering effect is similar to heart-healthy foods such as oats and soy.
Almonds are good for weight management
Weight management is a critical issue being faced by the Indian population, which can be attributed to the impact of a sedentary lifestyle that encompasses both adults as well as children in today's times. One of the most difficult tasks in the process of weight management is to control the type of food intake. People follow various diet plans and exercise regimes for weight management, ignorant of certain simple ways to shed those extra kilos. This primarily happens due to lack of information and awareness about the benefits in terms of nutrient composition of the food we eat and thus, the true value addition of various food products. Almonds are one of them. In the food science and nutrition industry, it has been shown that almonds along with a healthy meal may play a vital role in weight management, but this aspect of almonds remains unknown to the consumers.
Almonds are heart-friendly
In addition to offering "good" fat, nuts are packed with vitamins and minerals, making them a nutrient powerhouse. Just a handful of these versatile almonds [one ounce or about 23 almonds] offer vitamin E, protein, fibre, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron in only 163 Kcal. Moreover, almonds contain phytochemicals - plant chemicals that provide powerful protection against heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. Like all plant-based foods, almonds are also cholesterol-free.
A healthy snacking choice
Substituting the easily accessible tempting and high caloric snacks like chips, burgers, pizzas and cola with appetising almonds can make a healthy nutritious snack. One can carry nutritious almonds easily in small containers as ready-to-eat snack at work and schools or can easily prepare delicious low caloric snacks like almonds dhokla, almond bhelpuri and almonds in upma to curb hunger. Almonds may soon become the next healthy snacking choice for many adults and children in the country.
Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre, almonds are an easy, delicious way to get the nutrients we need, every day. And, not to be forgotten they're naturally cholesterol-free. From heart disease to cancer, almonds are fighting for our good health.
So, the next time your stomach starts talking to you, don't ignore it, and give it what it wants - a healthy snack... a handful of almonds. And, as you've enjoyed these tasty morsels, just stop and think that you were also doing something good for your body.
- 1 cup almonds, finely ground
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1-2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter [Use ghee for authenticity]
Grease a shallow 6x6 inch pan with ghee.
In a frying pan over a low flame mix almonds, sugar and milk. Keep stirring.
After 5 minutes, add ghee.
Continue stirring till the mixture thickens to the consistency of bread batter, and starts leaving the sides of the pan.
Continue stirring for another couple of minutes.
Remove from flame and pour it into the prepared greased pan; smoothen surface of the mixture if necessary.
20 minutes later, after it partially cools down, cut into one inch squares using a knife or pastry cutter.
Cool completely, and store squares in an airtight tin.
Almonds should be soaked and peeled before eating.
This is a misconception that you need to peel almonds before consuming. But, the fact is that the skin of the almonds contributes to a significant part of the fibre content, a nutrient important for regular bowel movement. The skin also contains antioxidants.
Almonds can be consumed only in winters.
Almonds can be consumed throughout the year. The common belief that almonds cause body heat has not been verified scientifically. But in peak summers, you can also consume almonds in the form of "Badam Sharbat" or "Thandai".
Almond Nutrition Facts
Serving size 1 ounce [28g] or about 23 almonds
|Dietary Fiber||3.5 g|
|Total Fat||14 g|
|Vitamin E||7.43 g|
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