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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 15, 2018

            7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

            7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

            Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

            Video Summary

            Why is it important to train up our core strength?

            There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

            This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

            Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

            In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

            One Exercise, multiple benefits

            There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

            By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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            When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

            Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

            In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

            What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

            What will happen when you start doing planks every day

              1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

              Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

              • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
              • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
              • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
              • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

              2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                  Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                  4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                    Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                    A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                    A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                    On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                    5. You’ll improve overall balance

                      Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                      6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                        Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                        7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                          Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                          How to hold a plank position

                          1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                          2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                          3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                          4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                          5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                          6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                          7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                          Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                          Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                            How to improve your plank time gradually

                            1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                            2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                            3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                            Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                            Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                            You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                            • Prolapse
                            • After prolapse surgery
                            • Pelvic pain conditions
                            • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                            • Previous childbirth
                            • Overweight

                            Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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