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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 February 20, 2019

            13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

            13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

            Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

            Why is this so critically important to you?

            The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

            Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

            1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

            Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

            When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

            • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
            • The man facing the judge.
            • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
            • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
            • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
            • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

            These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

            Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

            Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

            2. Accept Your Fear

            Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

            We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

            And here’s what can be done.

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            3. Get Some Perspective

            I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

            And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

            That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

            We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

            So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

            • Are you really at risk?
            • Will this kill you?
            • Which leads us on to..
            • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

            4. Hold a Hand

            As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

            Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

            We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

            Ask yourself:

            • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
            • Could that really happen?
            • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
            • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

            By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

            5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

            This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

            Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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            The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

            It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

            For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

            Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

            6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

            I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

            Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

            Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

            Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

            Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

            Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

            7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

            Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

            I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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            It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

            One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

            Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

            It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

            8. Assume the Worse

            If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

            Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

            • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
            • Think about how they feel about champagne?
            • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

            And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

            When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

            Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

            9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

            If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

            Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

            Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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            10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

            One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

            11. Go with Fear

            When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

            I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

            Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

            One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

            However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

            We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

            12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

            And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

            The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

            What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

            13. Own Your Fear

            Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

            We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

            You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

            More Resources About Fighting Fear

            Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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