Almonds have long since been considered a health food and their reputation for aiding weight loss is certainly well deserved.
Although regularly consuming small portions of all nuts can help to contribute towards a healthy and happy body, eating raw almonds for weight loss is by far the most successful way to wave goodbye to those unwanted pounds.
Most people shy away from including almonds in their diet plans when they are trying to lose weight because of their relatively high-calorie content.
It is automatically assumed that all high-calorie foods are detrimental to diets.
However, this is a common misconception and studies have shown that using almonds for weight loss is an effective way to assist in shedding fat.
Why Should You Eat Almonds?
Although almonds are made up of a whopping 72% fat, the majority of their fat content comes from the monounsaturated fats that contribute towards a healthily functioning body.
Consuming almonds is an excellent way to top up your “good” fats as they provide a quality source of the essential fatty acids needed to maintain a healthy heart and cholesterol levels.
Evidence from research indicates that regularly eating foods that are high in monounsaturated fats, such as almonds, avocado, and olive oil, can contribute towards successful weight loss.
One study found that individuals who followed a controlled diet incorporating a small portion of almonds lost more weight than those individuals who followed the same diet but with added complex carbohydrates in place of the high fat snack.
The people following the diet enhanced with almonds consumed a daily total of 39% fat whereas the diet enhanced with complex carbohydrates had a daily total of just 18% fat, completely dispelling the myth that high-fat foods are detrimental to weight loss.
The International Journal of Obesity conducted a similar study which found that a restricted diet enriched with almonds improved the abnormalities contributing to metabolic syndrome in individuals.
The study concluded that the combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity that results in metabolic syndrome were all eased by the simple inclusion of a small portion of almonds in the daily diets of the participants.
The group of participants were put on calorie controlled diets with one-half consuming a small portion of almonds and the other consuming the equivalent amount of calories from complex carbohydrates on a daily basis.
Although both groups did lose fat on the restricted diets, it was found that the weight reduction over the 24 week period was significantly greater in those individuals who had consumed almonds than in those who did not.
The findings suggest that eating almonds in moderation can play a crucial role in combating not just obesity, but other health problems that are associated with being over.
Carbohydrates make up just 15% of each almond’s total nutrients meaning that they are an ideal addition to the diet of anyone who may be following a low carb diet such as the paleo diet.
It has been suggested that opting for a low carb diet which incorporates foods high in monounsaturated fats can reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to decrease the stubborn “bad” fats that encircle vital organs and can be found in the area surrounding the stomach.
Many individuals opt for snacks that are high in carbohydrates such as chips or muffins when they are on the go simply because these are the foods that are most widely available.
Most people do not realise how detrimental to weight loss this high carbohydrate convenience foods really are and rely on them to stave off hunger pangs when they strike.
Why not try using almonds for weight loss yourself and keep a small packet of them handy for those times that you need a quick snack on the go?
Almonds for Muscle Building
Almonds have the highest protein content out of all the nuts and this, when combined with the quality source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids that they provide, can contribute toward losing fat and achieving a lean look.
The amino acids found in almonds are the building blocks of muscle and are crucial when it comes to growing and maintaining the muscle mass needed in order to achieve the toned look that many people desire.
The combination of the high protein and fat contents in almonds also provide a boost in energy levels meaning that eating almonds can benefit you when participating in physical activity as they can help to enhance performance.
In addition to this, it has been suggested that almonds act as an appetite suppressant due to their ability to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Evidence suggests that the high levels of the monounsaturated fat present in almonds can leave people feeling fuller for longer, meaning that they are less likely to reach for that unhealthy cookie while in between meals.
The Nutritional Content of Almonds
Almonds are by far the most nutrient dense nut and are absolutely bursting with the vitamins and minerals required to maintain a healthily functioning body.
They provide an excellent source of Vitamins E, K, B16 and B12 in addition to Riboflavin and Folate to name just a few.
Almonds also contain high levels of a multitude of minerals including Iron, Zinc, Potassium, Calcium and Manganese, all of which play a key role in aiding cellular processes in the body and help activate energy productively.
This means that simply including a small handful of almonds in your daily diet is enough to guarantee that your energy levels will soar, leaving you less likely to experience that mid-afternoon slump that can so leave you reaching for a sugary quick fix.
The seemingly endless health benefits of almonds do not end there though as, in addition to providing a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, almonds also provide an excellent source of fiber.
Just 20 almonds per day provide 3.5 grams of fiber meaning that the tasty nut makes an ideal addition to the diet of anyone who struggles with digestive issues such as bloating and constipation.
Almonds and Heart Health
In addition to easing the health problems associated with metabolic syndrome, it has also been suggested that including a small portion of almonds in an individual’s daily diet can prevent the onset of heart disease.
One report in the Journal of the America Heart Association examined a study that took place over a six-week period and concluded that regularly consuming almonds decreases the level of “bad” cholesterol in the body.
In the study, a group of 48 individuals consumed a calorie controlled diet with one-half eating a small portion of daily almonds and the other half instead eating an isocaloric muffin substitute.
Although the two variations of the calorie controlled diet did not differ in terms of saturated fat or cholesterol levels, it was found that those individuals who had consumed almonds had decreased levels of non-HDL, or “bad” cholesterol, in the body.
It was also found that, although both groups lost weight, the group whose diet included almonds lost more weight than the carbohydrate group, particularly around their stomachs and legs.
These findings reinforce those from previous studies and indicate that the regular consumption of almonds is a simple and easy way to not only reducing body fat but to also prevent heart disease.
Almonds for Aesthetics
In addition to having the ability to help reduce fat and maintain muscle in the body, the regular consumption of almonds is thought to provide a variety of beauty benefits.
Regularly eating almonds provides the body with an excellent source of Vitamin E which, not only helps to keep your heart healthy but is also imperative when it comes to both the protection and appearance of your skin.
The mixture of tocopherols and tocotrienols found in almonds help to protect the skin’s collagen and elastin proteins, meaning that regularly eating almonds can assist your skin in protecting itself from free radical damage.
The collagen and elastin proteins in the body are what keep skin firm and taut, therefore, by eating small portions of almonds and strengthening these proteins, your skin will adopt a more youthful appearance.
There is also evidence to suggest that eating almonds can help to defend your skin from damage caused by the environment.
Almonds provide a quality source of up to twenty different antioxidant flavonoids that work in conjunction with Vitamin E to protect your skin and keep it looking in great condition.
Almonds do not only contain the antioxidants and vitamins essential to keeping your skin looking great, but they can also contribute towards the improved condition and overall appearance of your hair.
Nutrients such as Copper, Manganese and Magnesium have all been linked to healthy hair, and high levels of each of these minerals can be found in almonds.
With fat loss, a healthy heart, youthful looking skin and shiny hair guaranteed, why wouldn’t you start to incorporate regularly a handful of almonds into your daily diet?
How to Include Almonds in Your Diet
In order to use almonds for weight loss and achieve the maximum health benefits from this delicious high-fat snack, you should aim to eat one handful of plain almonds each day.
Unfortunately, that means that salted, dry roasted or other processed varieties of the nut just won’t cut it.
A pre-packaged bag of almonds in your handbag makes an ideal snack for times when you are away from home and hunger strikes.
Snacking on almonds will enable you to keep those hunger pangs at bay between meals without giving into
easily accessible and convenient junk food.
If the thought of eating plain almonds each day fills you with dread and you find yourself craving the salted or dry roasted variety, why not try making your own version of jazzed up almonds for when hunger cravings strike.
Try tossing a handful of almonds in some raw, organic maple syrup or honey and placing on a baking tray before sprinkling with chilli flakes and roasting for around thirty minutes.
This twist on the healthy snack will ensure that your taste buds are satisfied without compromising the nutritional value of the almonds.
Other ways to incorporate almonds into your meals include throwing a handful into salads, stir fries or even trays of oven roasted vegetables for added crunch.
Almonds also work well when chopped up and added to homemade muesli or smoothies, and they also make delicious toppings for yogurt when combined with mixed berries or chopped banana.
You could even include almond butter spread in your diet by purchasing a tub of natural almond butter; just ensure you check the labels to find one with nothing added to it.
This delicious spread is similar to peanut butter and can be used to top some wholemeal toast or even added to porridge to make a satisfying and nutritious breakfast.
You could also try spreading two tablespoons of almond butter over sliced apple or banana for a delicious and filling snack between meals.
Other ways you can reap the health benefits of almonds while minimizing your waistline include incorporating almond milk and almond flour into your daily diet.
Try substituting regular flour for flour made from ground almonds when making pancakes or baked goods and swap full-fat milk for almond milk poured over cereal and added to hot drinks.
Incorporating almonds into your daily diet plan assists in the fat loss helps keep your health hearty and provides an energy boost enabling you to reach your optimum performance during workouts.
Almonds have a multitude of nutritional benefits that positively impact the human body from the inside out.
Tocopherols and tocotrienols are true forms of Vitamin E found in almonds which are proven powerful. These two protect collagen and elastin which are vital for firm and young-looking skin.
With the guarantee of weight loss, endless additional health benefits and so many delicious ways to incorporate almonds into your daily diet, why aren’t you already on the way to the store to pick some up?
Share with us in the comments below, how often do you use almonds in your diet?