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Why you should include almonds in your daily diet

Almonds (badam) are one of the most nutritious nuts. They are high in protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. This nut-like seed has gained quite a reputation as a superfood. You can eat it as a quick healthy snack, put it in your milk shake or mix it with fresh fruits and vegetables to make a detoxifying drink. When it comes to snack foods, the almond’s health benefits get top honours.

Heart healthy: According to one study, those who consumed nuts five times a week had a 50 per cent reduction in risk of heart attack. The huge amount of vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and reduces the risk of heart diseases. Almonds also help reduce C-reactive protein (CRP), which causes artery-damaging inflammation.

Reduces bad cholesterol: Almonds are a good source of monounsaturated fats and some polyunsaturated fats that help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol). A handful of almonds every day can lower your bad cholesterol level by 8-12 per cent.

Improves blood circulation: Almonds are high in potassium and low in sodium, thereby helping regulate blood pressure. The high level of magnesium has a very positive effect on the arteries and veins and helps improve the overall flow of nutrients through our bodies. It also contains iron, which helps carry oxygen to the body’s cells and organs.

Strengthens our bones: They are a very good source of calcium, which prevents osteoporosis and strengthens bones, teeth and muscles. It also provides other nutrients to increase the bone mineral density, which helps strengthen the skeletal system.

Helps lose weight: Almonds have high fibre content, protein and the good type of fat, which satisfies your appetite very soon. So you are less likely to have cravings and overeat. Studies have revealed that almond-rich low-calorie diet helps obese people shed their weight.

Diabetic help: They are a low glycemic index (GI) food. When eaten with a high GI food, it helps reduce rise in sugar and insulin levels after meals.

Reduces risk of cancer: Being high in natural fibre, it improves the movement of food through the colon, thereby preventing colon cancer. It is an excellent source of vitamin E, phytochemicals and flavonoids that suppress the growth of breast cancer cells. It is also a rich source of boron, which helps to prevent prostate cancer.

Prevents gallstones: One study has shown that people eating at least five almonds a day have a 25 per cent lower risk of developing gallstones. Almond oil also possesses laxative properties and helps avoid constipation.

Beauty aid: A massage of almond oil mixed with amla juice can prevent hair loss. It also prevents greying and thinning of hair. It also helps treat dandruff. An almond face pack prevents dry skin, pimples and black heads and is a good long-term cure for acne. It also improves skin complexion and premature aging.

Good in pregnancy: Almond contains folic acid, which helps reduce incidence of birth defects in newborn babies.

Energy booster: Nutrients present in almonds like protein, manganese, copper and riboflavin are used to generate energy. Keep an almond chocolate or energy bar with you if you are always on the move.

Brain power: Almond is a source of many nutrients which helps in development of the brain development. Ayurveda recommends five almonds soaked in water every morning for maximum brainpower. Phenylalanine, a brain-boosting chemical present in almond, aids healthy development of cognitive functions.

Good source of protein: Almonds, like all nuts, provide one of the best plant sources of protein. They provide high quality and highly absorbable protein. A quarter-cup (around 30 almonds) contains around 7.6 gm of protein.

Read the full article here.

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