If you've chosen to lead a healthier lifestyle, you've taken on a big challenge that likely includes many sacrifices.
One great hurdle is denying yourself the freedom to indulge in snacks whenever you want, especially those that taste great and are really bad for you. Since that is not at all easy, you need alternatives that are satisfying and will advance your aim for a healthier life. Here's a snack surprise that could help: almonds!
With protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, almonds could be just the solution for keeping your appetite in check until mealtime. To get the benefits of almonds without added fat, however, make sure to choose raw or dry roasted almonds.
Beyond Snacking: Lose Weight With Almonds
Almonds are packed with nutrition that can help weight loss and give you a health boost at the same time. Almonds are a source of the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium. They also contain vitamin E, vitamin B6 and folate.
According to a research study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders., overweight Americans who used about two-thirds of a cup of almonds per day as part of a weight loss diet had 62 percent greater weight loss than those who followed a standard weight loss diet; there was also a 50 percent greater reduction in waist circumference.
Almonds and Taming High Blood Sugar
The insulin resistance syndrome, also called the metabolic syndrome, now affects almost 25 percent of all U.S. adults, and over 40 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 60. It is characterized by an expanding waistline (the "apple shape"), and greater risk of high blood pressure diabetes, liver disease, heart attacks, stroke and Alzheimer's disease.
Research from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey found that incorporating almonds into the American Diabetes Association (ADA) diet reduced insulin resistance: Insulin is critical in far more than managing blood glucose, and when the body becomes resistant to insulin then serious metabolic problems are not far away. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, noted an improvement in cardiovascular risk factors with the almond-enhanced ADA diet.
Another study, published in the journal Metabolism, found that adding approximately 60 grams of almonds per day increased dietary intake of: fiber, magnesium, polyunsaturated fatty acid, monounsaturated fatty acid and vitamin E.
The authors of this study concluded: "Our results suggested that incorporation of almonds into a healthy diet has beneficial effects on adiposity, glycemic control and the lipid profile, thereby potentially decreasing the risk for cardiovascular disease in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus."
More on nutrition for weight loss: Strawberry Benefits: Strawberry Nutrition Facts
Cut Cholesterol with Almonds
A Canadian study found that two-thirds of a cup of almonds a day, when added as a snack food to the diets of people with elevated cholesterol, significantly reduced the levels of total and LDL-cholesterol (low density or "lousy" cholesterol) and especially reduced the dangerous oxidized LDL-cholesterol.
Now you've got an answer for yourself, and friends and relatives, as to whether you can enjoy snacks (and life) on the road to a healthy life.
Almonds are tasty enough to eat right out of the bag. But if you are feeling inspired to whip something up in the kitchen, I created recipes and meal plans featuring almonds in The Fat Resistance Diet, a program developed with my physician father, Dr. Leo Galland.
Here is one of my favorites: Start with a cup of yogurt, drizzle with pomegranate, cherry or blueberry concentrate for an antioxidant boost. Then sprinkle a few almonds on top.
Now I'd like to hear from you: Do you eat almonds?
How do you enjoy them, plain or in recipes?
Have you noticed anything special when you have almonds?
Please let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.
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Jonathan Galland is a health writer who created over 100 recipes for the anti-inflammatory program developed with his father, Dr. Leo Galland, in their book The Fat Resistance Diet. Jonathan Galland is CEO of pilladvised.com, an extensive online resource for the healing concepts of integrated medicine.
For more by Jonathan Galland, click here.
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References and Further Reading:
USDA Agricultural Research Service, Dry Roasted Almonds Data.
Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Nov;27(11):1365-72, "Almonds vs complex carbohydrates in a weight reduction program." Wien MA, Sabaté JM, Iklé DN, Cole SE, Kandeel FR. City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA 91010, USA.
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2008 Nov;48(10):905-12. "Dietary fiber in the prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome: a review." Aleixandre A, Miguel M. Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Jun;29(3):189-97. "Almond consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in adults with prediabetes." Wien M, Bleich D, Raghuwanshi M, Gould-Forgerite S, Gomes J, Monahan-Couch L, Oda K. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey, USA.
Metabolism. 2011 Apr;60(4):474-9. Epub 2010 May 23, " Almond consumption improved glycemic control and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus."Li SC, Liu YH, Liu JF, Chang WH, Chen CM, Chen CY.School of Nutrition and Health Science, Taipei Medical University, Taipei City 110, Taiwan.
Full Text: "Diet and Inflammation" Leo Galland, MD, Nutr Clin Pract December 7, 2010 vol. 25 no. 6 634-640
Circulation. 2002 Sep 10;106(11):1327-32. "Dose response of almonds on coronary heart disease risk factors: blood lipids, oxidized low-density lipoproteins, lipoprotein(a), homocysteine, and pulmonary nitric oxide: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial." Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, Parker TL, Connelly PW, Qian W, Haight JS, Faulkner D, Vidgen E, Lapsley KG, Spiller GA.Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The Fat Resistance Diet: Unlock the Secret of the Hormone Leptin to: Eliminate Cravings, Supercharge Your Metabolism, Fight Inflammation, Lose Weight & Reprogram Your Body to Stay Thin Leo Galland, M.D., Broadway Books.
This information is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute (i) medical advice or counseling, (ii) the practice of medicine or the provision of health care diagnosis or treatment, (iii) or the creation of a physician-patient relationship. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your doctor promptly.