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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!

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          Brian Wu

          Health Writer, Author

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          Last Updated on August 12, 2019

          12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

          12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

          Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

          But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

          I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

          Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

          1. Nuts

          The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

          Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

          Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

          Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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          2. Blueberries

          Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

          When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

          3. Tomatoes

          Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

          4. Broccoli

          While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

          Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

          Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

          5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

          Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

          The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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          Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

          6. Soy

          Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

          Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

          Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

          7. Dark Chocolate

          When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

          Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

          8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

          Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

          B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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          Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

          Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

          To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

          9. Foods Rich in Zinc

          Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

          Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

          Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

          10. Gingko Biloba

          This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

          It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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          However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

          11. Green and Black Tea

          Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

          Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

          Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

          12. Sage and Rosemary

          Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

          Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

          When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

          More About Boosting Brain Power

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

          Reference

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