Delicately flavored and versatile, almonds make a healthy and tasty snack or an addition to dishes. Almonds are one of the most nutritious of all nuts. As consumers are increasingly becoming dedicated to healthy lifestyles, studies have found that adding almonds to your diet can contribute to physical wellness, including weight loss.
Almonds are the single-seeded, plum-sized stone fruits of the almond tree (Rosaceae family), a medium-sized tree that bears fragrant pink and white flowers. Enclosed in a stone fruit is a seed, which is what we refer as the almond nut. It is approximately 2 cm long covered by a light brown seed coat.
Almonds are a source of vitamin E, copper, magnesium and high quality protein. It also has high levels of healthy unsaturated fatty acids in addition to several bioactive molecules including fiber, phytosterols, vitamins, other minerals and antioxidants. Nuts and seeds, including almonds are the richest in fiber next to cereals.
How Almonds Help Lose Weight
Healthy fats in nuts such as almonds can help you shed pounds. In one study, people who added almonds to their daily low calorie diet lost more weight compared to people who followed the same diet but replaced almonds for a high carbohydrate snacks like crackers. The researchers think that the fat in those nuts may not be totally absorbed and refer to earlier study suggesting that the cell walls of almonds can serve as a physical barrier to fat.
Almonds help to make you feel fuller, longer. Nuts including almonds contain fiber, protein and fat, which have an effect on satiety. If you snack on almonds, you will feel fuller on a longer period, helping you curb exta calories.
The fiber in almonds can effectively prevent the absorption of fats and calories by your digestive system. The fiber binds fat and prevents it from reaching the intestinal wall and will be flushed out instead.
Rich in protein, almonds can be a good alternative to red meat and eggs. Studies show that 1 oz of almonds has the same percentage of protein in lean meat. What makes almonds a healthier alternative than meat is due to its high fiber content.
Almonds contain oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat. It helps reduce cholesterol in the body. Study shows that eating at least 1 oz of almonds daily significantly reduces LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. This can also reduce the risk of heart diseases.
How to Enjoy
Almonds can be eaten raw as a snack. They can also be a great addition to a wide range of recipes. Cut or crush them and include a handful into salads, baked goods, or morning cereals.
Remember, however, that almonds are not a magical weight loss food, but they indeed have a place in a low-calorie diet. Any almonds you eat should be counted in your day’s calorie intake. It is still advisable to watch your portion sizes at meals and exercise regularly to lose weight.
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