9 Reasons Why Almonds Are the Best Snack For YouLuke Coutinho
Most of us grew up with our parents encouraging us to eat nuts and seeds soaked overnight. Yet many of us forget that these are fantastic sources of nutrients when we have them the right way and in the correct quantity. Today I want to speak to you about almonds.
Here’s some trivia about them. Did you know that almond is not botanically considered a true nut? The fruit of the almond tree is called a drupe. It is fleshy on the outside and has a shell that covers the seed which is what the almond we all know is. But over the years, it is loosely called a nut or a tree nut.
One of the most common questions that people ask me is, “Luke, aren’t almonds fattening?” For the longest time, people across the world have consumed this powerful dry fruit to improve their cognitive function, enhance beauty, lower inflammation, and improve diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cholesterol.
Today almonds are scientifically documented for several health benefits. Let’s delve into some of these:
For better brain health
Almonds are loaded with monounsaturated fats. These are essential fats for our body that contribute to maintaining brain health. This would explain why patients with neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, memory problems, and cognitive brain disorders are prescribed to eat almonds according to their weight.
Monounsaturated fats are great for the neurogenerative power of your cells and transmitters.
To improve skin and hair
Your grandma wasn’t lying when she said almonds are good for your skin and hair. Almonds are rich in Vitamin E which is a potent antioxidant. It protects your cells from the damage caused by free radicals. They are also loaded with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and magnesium that nourish your hair follicles and promote healthy and shiny hair. This may explain why almond and their extracts find their way into many skin and hair care products too.
It also has zinc and B vitamins like riboflavin and niacin that give your skin and hair a natural intrinsic glow. It has copper which works to maintain the color of your skin and hair. The linoleic acid in almonds helps reduce dryness. Whether you consume it or add it to your routine, it can help you.
As a post-workout recovery snack
When you have a good workout, having a snack rich in Vitamin E and magnesium can help with muscle recovery. It also enables you to build quality muscle and protects you at a cellular level.
For cellular protection
Your cells need protection from the oxidative stress you are exposed to every day from pollution to refined foods, sleep deprivation, a sedentary lifestyle, side effects of medication, and so on.
Every time a cell is exposed to oxidative stress, there is damage to our DNA too. When there is uncontrolled damage or corruption of DNA, our body’s intelligence of switching on good genes and switching off bad genes is affected. This expression of genes influences the prevention, recovery, and onset of disease.
Everything happening in your body starts with the communication between chemical messengers known as your hormones. When your hormones are communicating the right way in balance, everything else works the right way. But when these are out of whack, you become more vulnerable to diabetes, thyroid-related issues, hair fall, premature greying, pigmentation, stubborn belly fat, irregular periods, painful menopause, reduced muscle mass decreases, low energy, low libido, and so on.
Keeping your hormonal balance in check by protecting your cells is crucial. Almonds have monounsaturated fat and Vitamin E that help this.
Post-chemotherapy and radiation
Because almonds can protect you at a cellular level, these are included in the recovery plan of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Almonds are not going to take away your cancer but they play a role in assisting your body to manage it.
For improved sleep and lowering blood pressure
Apart from post-workout recovery, the magnesium content in almonds also helps you with improved sleep and lowering blood pressure. Magnesium acts as a vasodilator by relaxing blood vessels and enabling the free flow of blood.
To curb cravings
It is a great snack rich in protein and fiber. When you snack on almonds, you do not feel hungry quickly, unless you have been gorging on salted almonds. These may taste great but make you overeat. The salt in them also makes you crave more. Have plain raw almonds which are soaked. These will keep you full for a longer time.
Studies show that diabetic patients who have almonds about 10 to 20 minutes before their meals record a 30 percent drop in their post-prandial blood sugar levels. Several studies show the impact of almonds on balancing your glucose levels or glucose homeostasis. But almonds will not work alone. You need to make other lifestyle changes too.
For heart health
Yes, almonds are heart friendly. When it comes to your heart health, any food that can help you reduce bad cholesterol and improve your good cholesterol is good for you. The good fats in almonds help improve your HDL and lower your LDL and triglycerides when consumed the right way. Just do not overdo them.
How many almonds can I have in a day?
Adults can have 8 to 10 almonds and go up to 15 to 20 depending on their activity and the overall caloric intake of the other nuts they are eating in a day. You cannot go wrong with 8 to 10. Children can have 4 to 5 almonds a day. Always make an informed decision. Rule out allergies.
What is the best time to eat almonds?
Anytime and this is the beauty of it. Even for those who feel hungry late at night, practice restraint before forcing yourself to order food. Almonds are one of the best snacks you could ever have because these are good fats and proteins that will not make you feel heavy or sluggish or interfere with your sleep. They give you the nourishment you need without adding extra calories when you eat them the right way. These will also keep you full.
How to eat almonds?
Avoid salted almonds. Consume raw almonds soaked overnight to remove the phytic acid or antinutrients. Why? Because they can interfere with proper digestion and nutrient absorption. Always soak them. Some people prefer to peel them because the skin contains tannins that block iron absorption in the human body. You can peel them or not. It is up to you.
Stock good quality almonds through any season. You can even source them from our wellness platform here.
Moderation is key. Do not overdo almonds. When you eat it with greed, you add the extra calories your body doesn’t need. And it will get stored in your body as fat. Apart from eating soaked almonds as is, you can also crush and add them to your salads. On the days that I eat raw until lunch, these are my favorite additions to my breakfast plate alongside fruits and seeds.
Do you like almond milk? Most store-bought almond milk is processed in factories where almonds are never really soaked. This is a leading reason why people complain of bloating and nausea after consumption. You can make your almond milk at home. Here’s the recipe.
DIY Homemade Almond Milk
Serves – 1
Preparation time – 12 hours (soaking)
Total time – 12 hours 15 minutes
7 to 8 almonds (raw, unsalted, and soaked overnight)
1 cup water (as per required consistency)
- Soak 7 to 8 almonds overnight.
- The next day, discard the water. Blend the soaked almonds with little water into a fine paste.
- Add a glass of water to this paste to reach a thin milk-like consistency. Do not sieve. Keep the fiber intact. Stir well.
- Boost its flavor by adding cardamom powder or a dash of jaggery to sweeten (as per taste).
- If you decide to sieve the milk, the pulp can also be added to your pancake mix.
Also, check out this special badam soup for pregnant mothers.
I hope this can inspire you to add this gift of nature to your and your loved ones’ plates.
Disclaimer: Please keep your healthcare provider in a loop before introducing any new food item into your lifestyle, especially if you have a medical health condition or are on medications. In case you are allergic to certain foods, please avoid the same.
ALSO WATCH: Why Are Almonds So Good For You?
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