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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.

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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).

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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.

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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

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    Homemade Almond Butter

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      Brown Sugar Oatmeal with Cranberries and Almonds

      Almond Cookies

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        Cranberry and Almond Muffins

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          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

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          Last Updated on September 18, 2020

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

          Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

          1. Exercise Daily

          It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

          If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

          Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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          If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

          2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

          Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

          One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

          This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

          3. Acknowledge Your Limits

          Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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          Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

          Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

          4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

          Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

          The basic nutritional advice includes:

          • Eat unprocessed foods
          • Eat more veggies
          • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
          • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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          Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

            5. Watch Out for Travel

            Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

            This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

            If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

            6. Start Slow

            Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

            If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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            7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

            Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

            My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

            If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

            I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

            Final Thoughts

            Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

            Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

            More Tips on Getting in Shape

            Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

            Reference

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