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10 Benefits of Almonds That Will Surprise You (+Healthy Recipes)

10 Benefits of Almonds That Will Surprise You (+Healthy Recipes)

Almond is a popular nut rich in minerals, vitamins, proteins, fibers and other important substances which promote a healthy life. This super-nut can be eaten as it is roasted or as part of a delicious recipe. The main problem is most people misunderstand that almond is just tasty and rich in fats. So they often avoid eating almond, unfortunately. However, the truth about almond is completely different, as you are going to find out by reading this article.

The health benefits of almond have been studied for centuries and the number of studies which focus on this small nut is quite impressive. Here are 10 reasons why you need to include almond in your diet and five delicious recipes to inspire you.

The amazing benefits of almonds

1. Almonds prevent cardiovascular disease and heart attacks

Almonds are packed with healthy fatty acids, called monounsaturated acids or MUFA, which pair with antioxidants, also found in high amount in almonds, to protect your heart and the entire cardiovascular system. The high amount of beneficial substances in almonds, especially the antioxidant flavonoids, a plant component that is present in the skin of almonds, prevents the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and having a heart attack.

Along with vitamin E, the flavoniods reduce inflammation throughout the body. Almonds also contain lots of minerals, such as magnesiun, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese and arginine, which are all important for your heart: these substances support the cardiovascular function. Studies have shown that almonds can reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol, which is bad for your health. This leads to an important health improvement in both people with high cholesterol levels and those who suffer from diabetes.

Regular consumption of almonds promotes healthy artery walls, as it prevents the buildup of plaque, which can clog the arteries and prevent the blood from flowing. This is why almonds are also a great supplement for those who suffer from high blood pressure.

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2. Almonds maintain a healthy brain function

Almonds are one of the most appreciated brain foods due to their high content in riboflavin and L-carnitine. These two substances prevent cognitive decline and support healthy neurological activity, reducing the inflammatory processes in the brain. Elders and adults with a high risk of developing cognitive diseases, like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, are encouraged to make a habit out of eating almonds on a daily basis or at least several times per week.

3. Almonds improve the skin health

Want to have healthy, glowing skin? Eat almonds! Almonds are a great source of vitamin E and antioxidants, which fight free radicals and reduce inflammation, preserving your skin healthy and young. Further research showed that almonds contain high amounts of epicatechin, catechin, quescetin, isorhamnetin and kaempferol; these substances are all antioxidants, which can fight the damage produced by UV rays, pollution and a poor diet on your skin. Being strong antioxidants, these substances fight and prevent skin cancer. All these, along with the MUFA content in the almonds, make them a great ally in the fight against aged, malnourished skin.

4. Almonds prevent diabetes

As we’ve seen, almonds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which have a very important function in the body, as they balance the amount of glucose in your blood and control the way it is being absorbed and used by the body. This means almonds can help you control your blood sugar levels and your diabetes. Making a habit out of eating almonds can prevent insulin resistance, which can appear when the body stops reacting to insulin, allowing the glucose level to raise too much. Other benefits of almonds consumption are the reduction of unhealthy body weight and oxidative stress.

5. Almonds prevent weight gain and overeating

Almonds contain high amounts of fats and fibres, which promote weight loss. Eating almonds helps you control your cravings and prevents overeating, as they make you feel full faster than other foods. Snacking on almonds will keep you energized for the day, as they are high in calories. Almonds also help you control your blood sugar, as we’ve seen, so you won’t be at risk of experiencing a roller coaster of glucose raise and drops.

There are multiple studies which looked at how almonds enhance weight loss. Nurses’ Health Study showed that almonds support a healthy metabolism, keeping you away from weight issues. People who often snack on almonds instead of other foods have lower obesity rates: this is a fact proven by studies which looked at dieters who ate almonds. These researches also show that almond consumption prevents overeating of carbs.

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A study publishes in the International Journal of Obesity in 2003 showed that women who ate almonds for six months experienced a reduction in their weight and their BMI, compared to the group of women who didn’t eat almonds. Those who included these nuts in their diet also lost fat mass, experienced a reduction in their blood pressure and a reduction in their waist circumference.

6. Almonds increase the nutrient absorption

The world is obsessed to lose fat, but fat actually has a number of important functions in our body. One of these functions is helping with fat-soluble vitamins absorption. Luckily, almonds contain enough fat to promote this function and boost the absorption of vitamins A and D, which are fat-soluble. The nutritional substances found in almonds are involved in the process of nutrient extraction and the synthesis of cholesterol. Among the benefits of almond are the control of digestive enzymes and the bile acid production, which leads us to the next fact…

7. Almonds ensure digestive system’s health

Almond skin contains probiotic compounds which support the health of the digestive system. Your digestive system has a number of good bacteria which helps it digest food and turn it into nutritional elements. Without the bacteria, the digestive system can stumble upon a number of problems and you may develop a wide array of ailments. Almonds prevent this, as they improve the number of good bacteria in your system, preventing ailments and nutritional deficiencies.

Studies on this matter show that almonds and their skins promote and improve the health benefits of the gut bacteria due to their content of prebiotics. A study conducted by the Institute of Food Science and Technology in China, in 2014, revealed that women who ate 56 grams of almonds for 8 weeks managed to increase their population of good gut bacteria, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

8. Almonds prevent inflammation and can fight cancer

Almonds contain a type of vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that can fight free radicals linked to cancer. There are many studies finding a link between the consumption of almonds and other nuts and a reduced risk of developing cancer in the colon, the prostate and breasts.

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9. Almonds promote a healthy smile

Being packed with minerals, almonds promote a healthy smile. They contain magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for strong, healthy bones and teeth. The consumption of almonds decreases the risk of developing osteoporosis and the risk of bone fractures, but the tasty nuts also prevent tooth decay.

10. Almonds are alkaline food

Almonds are great digestive system boosters and balance multiple hormones and substances in the body; they are also alkaline and help reduce the pH level in your body. When the pH level of the body is reduced, your immune system becomes stronger and your digestive tracts works better.

With all these reasons to eat almonds, you have to try some delicious recipes with these superfoods to test the benefits of almond!

5 Healthy recipes including almonds

Turkey Curry

turkey almond curry

    Chargrilled mackerel with new season pumpkin and romesco sauce

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    17120194506_db79197333_o

      Cranberry and Almond Chicken Salad

      almond chicken salad

        Strawberry and Spinach Salad

        strawberry spinach salad

          Chocolate and Almond Smoothie

          chocolate almond smoothie

            Featured photo credit: 5 second Studio via shutterstock.com

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            Last Updated on August 20, 2019

            How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

            How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

            Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

            Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

            I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

            You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

            Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

            When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

            I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

            Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

            Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

            Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

            1. The Inner Critic

            This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

            • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
            • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
            • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
            • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

            The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

            Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

            2. The Worrier

            This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

            The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

            3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

            This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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            This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

            The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

            4. The Sleep Depriver

            This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

            The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

            • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
            • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
            • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
            • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

            How can you control these squatters?

            How to Master Your Mind

            You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

            Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

            There are two ways to control your thoughts:

            • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
            • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

            This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

            The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

            Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

            For the Inner Critic

            When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

            You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

            For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

            You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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            “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

            If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

            • They rile up the Worrier.
            • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
            • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
            • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
            • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

            Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

            Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

            For the Worrier

            Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

            Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

            You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

            • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
            • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
            • Muscles tense

            Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

            If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

            Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

            “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

            Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

            If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

            Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

            Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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            For example:

            If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

            “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

            Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

            “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

            Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

            For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

            Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

            The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

            • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
            • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
            • Muscles tension

            I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

            Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

            Breathe in through your nose:

            • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
            • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
            • Focus on your belly rising.

            Breathe out through your nose:

            • Feel your lungs emptying.
            • Focus on your belly falling.
            • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

            Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

            Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

            One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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            Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

            For the Sleep Depriver

            (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

            I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

            Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

            1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
            2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

            When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

            From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

            For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

            If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

            You can also use this technique any time you want to:

            • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
            • Shut down your thinking.
            • Calm your feelings.
            • Simply focus on the present moment. 

            The Bottom Line

            Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

            You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

            Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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            Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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