Advertising
Advertising

Ten Benefits of Almonds + 5 Great Recipes

Ten Benefits of Almonds + 5 Great Recipes

Do you get hungry in between meals, and then overeat at lunch or dinner?

Are you interested in learning about healthy snacks which can boost energy levels throughout the day and keep you going strong?

Then look no further than almonds, a “supernut” which is packed with nutrients that bring your body an amazing array of benefits, including those below.

Almonds Support Healthy Bones

If you are after strong and healthy bones, don’t just think about dairy products! Foods like almonds are great for you as well: a single serving can give you 385mg of calcium and 386 mg of magnesium, minerals which, along with nutrients like vitamin D, strengthen your bones and make it less likely that you will develop osteoporosis (a disease marked by weakening bones and fractures) as you age.

Advertising

Almonds are Good for Joint Health Too

Stiff, sore inflamed joints can be a real problem: not only do they make it more difficult to do your work throughout the day, they can also interfere with simple activities like walking or running. And many conditions that affect the joints — like rheumatoid arthritis — can strike you when you are middle-aged or even young.

So where do almonds come in? They are rich in both linoleic and linolenic acids, fatty acids which decrease inflammation throughout the body and can reduce painful, stiff or inflexible joints.

Almonds Can Boost Your Energy Levels

Are your energy levels just not what you would like them to be? A diet which is rich in almonds can help with the problem of feeling chronically tired. This is because almonds are an excellent source of both manganese and copper, minerals which can help your cells produce more energy. The presence of vitamin B-12, helps make energy pathways through the body more efficient, so you can go all day and do what you need to do!

Almonds Reduce High Blood Pressure

Doctors have dubbed high blood pressure “the silent killer” because, though it has few warning signs, it can lead to serious problems like heart attacks or strokes. However, it is possible to control this problem naturally by carefully choosing what you eat. Almonds have been linked in several studies to lower blood pressure levels. Mostly this is due to their high levels of magnesium (which relaxes the arteries around the heart to increase blood flow and decrease pressure) and potassium (which acts on the muscles of the heart to keep blood pressure at a healthy level).

Advertising

Almonds Lower Cholesterol Levels

High cholesterol is another major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes — but the good news is, this problem can be greatly influenced by your diet!

In a British study, patients with elevated LDL “bad” cholesterol levels were put on a diet which included almonds and other nuts as well as soy protein and fiber. Within two weeks, significant differences were noted in their cholesterol levels. It is believed that this is due to the combination of monounsaturated fat, fiber and antioxidants like vitamin E that almonds are so rich in.

Almonds Improve Your Digestion

If you are looking for ways to improve your digestion, you should definitely be adding almonds to your diet in order to combat this issue. Why? Almonds are rich in fiber (3.5 grams in every serving) and fiber has been proven to improve the gastro-intestinal system and it can reduce the chances of having problems like constipation.

Almonds Help You to Lose Weight

In the past, many dieters have stayed away from almonds and other nuts because they are a calorie-dense food. However, there is a growing body of evidence to show that almonds can actually help those who are wanting to achieve their weight loss goals. In one study out of Canada, it was shown that dieters on an almond-enriched diet did better than those on a diet high in complex carbohydrates, even though the overall calorie intake was the same for both diets. The patients who ate almonds regularly had lower percentage of body fat and stored water weight, smaller waist circumferences and overall lower weight.

Advertising

Almonds Support a Healthy Brain

As you age, cognitive skills like memory and learning can take a real hit.  However, important nutrients in almonds like riboflavin and L-carnitine can help improve the health of neurons and increase the number of neural pathways, which can help to reduce the risk of problems like Alzheimer’s disease.

Almonds are Great for Diabetics

Because of their unique blend of healthy fats, protein and fiber, they are a perfect food for diabetics who want to manage their condition. In several studies, regular use of almonds in the diet has lead to an improvement in several markers for this disease, including postprandial blood sugar (or the blood sugar after a meal), overall blood sugar and insulin resistance — even when a meal that is high in carbs, such as pasta, was eaten.

Almonds Decrease Your Risk of Gallstones

Gallstones are a painful complaint of the digestive system which often requires surgery — and is a particular problems for people who are middle-aged, female and have weight problems. Almonds, however, can be a game-changer; in one study of American women, it was found that those who ate almonds or other nuts at least once a week reduced their chance of getting gallstones by around 25%.

5 Simple, Delicious Recipes to Get Almonds into Your Diet

Homemade Raw Almond Milk

Advertising

frosted-glass-1164200_1280 (1)

    Homemade Almond Butter

    bake-1239113_1280

      Brown Sugar Oatmeal with Cranberries and Almonds

      Almond Cookies

      meal-843230_1280

        Cranberry and Almond Muffins

        cranberry-683913_1280

          So try some of these recipes today — and from better digestion to higher energy levels and a healthy heart– you can start reaping the benefits of almonds in your diet!

          More by this author

          Brian Wu

          Health Writer, Author

          Amazing Benefits Of Cucumber Water (+5 Refreshing Recipes) How To Improve Your Health With Matcha Green Tea How To Enjoy Green Tea By Reducing Caffeine In It 8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds You Shouldn’t Miss 7 Superfoods To Restore Energy When You’re Burnt Out

          Trending in Lifestyle

          17 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day 210 Surprising Benefits Of Dragon Fruit You Never Knew 311 Benefits of Almond Milk You Didn’t Know About 411 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits) 510 Benefits of Sleeping Naked You Probably Didn’t Know

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising

          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.

          Advertising

          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

            Advertising

              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.

                  Advertising

                  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

                      Advertising

                        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.

                          Read Next