Even while following a healthy lifestyle, snacking is something we Indians find hard to resist. But unhealthy snacking can lead to weight gain and lifestyle diseases in the long run. Almonds can be of help here. Instead of buying unwholesome or fried snacks, opt for almonds, as they are a healthier choice. They are light and easy to carry and go well with almost all Indian spices. Their nutrient-rich profile makes them an apt choice for any kind of snacking, whether it’s between meals, while travelling for leisure or work, watching television, midnight munching or even after a workout.
The lockdown has enabled people to step into their kitchen and fulfill their cravings in different ways. From baking cakes, to preparing momos to homemade paani puri, Dalgona coffee or the latest chapatti-pizza, people are truly experimenting these days. While we relish these yummy dishes, and continue to try our hand at newer recipes, it’s easy to get swayed and lose sight of one’s health.
As most of us continue to stay home, and practice social distancing, it’s important to pay attention to our family, our lifestyle and diet. One of the easiest ways to make our diet better is by simply adding a handful of almonds to it every day.
Should you consume soaked almonds or raw almonds?
People often wonder whether to consume almonds soaked overnight or raw. “The answer is easy – eat them as you please. Soaked or raw almonds are both rich in nutrients. I usually recommend that soaked almonds be given to the elderly, as soaking makes the almonds easier to chew. However, if you wish to eat almonds, with the skin, that’s fine too since it provides fibre, which is beneficial for the gut,” suggests Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant.
We share some other benefits of almonds which will encourage you to add them to your diet, right away.
To keep your hunger at bay between meals, add almonds to your daily diet. They are rich in plant-based protein, which keep one satiated. Also a good source of dietary fibre, which helps to facilitate proper digestion. Both these elements are important for managing weight. “As per a recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants who consumed 43 grams of dry-roasted, lightly salted almonds every day experienced reduced hunger and improved dietary vitamin E and monounsaturated (‘good’) fat intake without increasing body weight,” explains Krishnaswamy.
Managing blood sugar
For people who have Type 2 diabetes, almonds can be a good addition. According to a study published in the Journal of Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, daily consumption of almonds may significantly reduce haemoglobin A1C, a clinical marker that indicates an improvement in blood glucose levels over time. The study also suggested that including almonds as part of a healthy diet may help improve glycaemic control and cardiovascular risk factors.
Our skin health is largely determined by a number of factors – the lifestyle we follow, the food we eat and the constant change in the environment. These factors might lead to various skin problems including acne, premature ageing and skin pigmentation. Cosmetics help to mask some of the skin problems but they are short-lived solutions, and maintaining a healthy skin requires a daily intake of foods that are nutrient-rich.
Maintaining heart health
For Indians who are prone to heart-related problems, almonds can be a welcome inclusion. Studies among the Indian population suggest that almonds can be beneficial in helping to manage heart disease risk factors. “According to a recent systematic review that examined a variety of studies that were done in the past on almonds and blood lipid levels – eating almonds regularly resulted in significant reductions in total cholesterol, harmful LDL-cholesterol or ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while helping to maintain beneficial HDL-cholesterol or ‘good’ cholesterol levels,” informs Krishnaswamy.