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Almonds, the mend-it-all nut! By Suman Agarwal

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health benefits of almonds

Almonds are chockablock with nutrients

Almond, rightfully known as the king of nuts, is a highly nutritious food. They are rich in almost every nutrient required by the body. Almonds are also a great source of dietary fiber, heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, high-quality protein, vitamin E and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron. Eating a small fistful of this nut daily gives you a healthy dose of mind and body food. New research also shows that almonds not only provide essential nutrients but also help fight obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Almonds crack obesity. It’s not as nutty as it sounds. Research studies indicate that going on an almond low calorie diet not only makes you lose weight more effectively, it makes you healthier as well.

When you eat almonds, the normal chewing action breaks down only some of the cell walls, leaving others intact. While the protein in the almond is highly digestible, the lipid material (fat component) is largely unabsorbed. Thus, not all the fat is available for digestion, making it a lower-calorie food than suspected.

Due to their high fiber content, almonds offer a greater level of satiety. This greater satiety leads to an overall satisfaction of hunger that can help people maintain a healthy weight. Food records from participants also showed that almonds replaced less healthy high calorie snacks in their diets.

The International Journal of Obesity in Duarte California conducted a study in which two groups of people were put on diets which differed only in the relative amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and fiber. One group was given a diet consisting of a formula supplemented by vitamins and minerals, and 84 grams (3 oz.) of whole un-blanched unsalted almonds. The other group was given a self-selected amount of complex carbohydrates equivalent in calories to 84 g almonds. The differences between the diets in reductions in weight, BMI, waist circumference and systolic blood pressure were all significant, in favor of the almond-containing diet.

  • The study showed that adding nuts (specifically, almonds) to a low-calorie diet may improve actual weight loss.
  • It may also enhance the effects that weight loss has on blood pressure and the blood lipids.
  • Blood insulin levels decreased more with the almond-LCD.
  • Systolic blood pressure decreased more with the almond-LCD.
  • While the weight loss in the carbohydrate-LCD leveled after the first 16 weeks, volunteers on the almond-LCD continued to lose weight over the full 24 weeks study period. 

So go on, grab a handful of nuts if you’re in the mood for a snack!

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