Nuts About Nutrition: The Real Deal on Almonds
"I can't eat almonds because they will make me fat." Chances are either you have uttered this statement or have heard someone else say this. However, this statement may not be accurate as you will see below. A more accurate statement would be "Eating an excess of any energy producing nutrient (carbohydrates, proteins, or fats) will make you fat".
Our bodies can be compared to cars and the food we eat to fuel. Just as a car needs fuel to keep it running, so to, our bodies need food (energy) to function. The key here though, is to know which types of food and in what amounts are best for our bodies. Not only do we want to prevent diseases, but we want to feel and look our very best. Yes, it is true, we are what we eat. There is no greater feeling one can have than when one is in control of what he/she puts in his/her mouth.
Here are a few raw facts on almonds:
· Rich in antioxidants (vitamin E)
· Excellent source of protein and fiber
· Contains magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron
· Low in carbohydrates
· 1/4 c. =205 calories
The fiber found in almonds helps prevent constipation. This fiber also helps those who have big appetites and are trying to either maintain or lose weight. Almonds are great for diabetics, those diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), or those on a gluten-free diet.
Eating almonds is a great way to prevent cardiovascular diseases. The antioxidant action of Vitamin E plays a major role in reducing heart disease risk. Almonds provide 25% daily value of magnesium. A deficiency of this mineral is associated with a risk of a heart attack. Almonds are also very low in sodium, making them an excellent choice for those with hypertension.
In 1992, researchers working on the Adventist Health Study at Loma Linda University in California reported that those eating nuts daily had up to 60% fewer heart attacks than those who ate nuts less than once per month.
Worried about your weight?
Eating almonds actually lowers your risk of weight gain. So, what's the scoop on almonds? How can I eat them and enjoy their excellent health benefits without getting fat?
Here are a couple of interesting studies:
A study in the journal Obesity found that those who ate nuts at least twice a week were much less likely to gain weight than those who almost never ate nuts.
The Nurses' Health Study found that nut consumers were actually a little thinner on average than those who almost never consumed nuts.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders revealed that an almond enriched low calorie diet can help one shed more pounds effectively than a low calorie diet which is high in complex carbohydrates.
Nuts do not seem to cause a weight gain since they appear to satisfy hunger thereby appropriately reducing the consumption of other foods. For example, substituting one ounce of almonds a day for a carbohydrate rich food would be a good choice. So don't make yourself nuts and enjoy your almonds!