Diabetic? Forget pills, pop almonds

As India grapples with a major public health problem, being home to an estimated 50.8 million diabetic population, the largest in the world, experts say “consuming a few almonds daily can help combat the lifestyle disease.”

“Eating almonds has a positive effect on reducing low densitycholesterol and also improves insulin sensitivity; so it does help in pushing diabetes away,” says Ritesh Gupta, head of clinical operation at Fortis C-Doc Hospital .

“It is a healthy source of fibre, protein and calories and has been found to have a positive effect in reducing bad cholesterol and improved insulin sensitivity,” Gupta told.

Diabetes is caused when there is deficiency of insulin hormone, which controls blood sugar level. Its symptoms include fatigue, excessive thirst and frequent urination.

With India staring at a major public health threat due to diabetes and other lifestyle diseases, almond is now being hailed as the health nut.

“A handful of almonds contain 164 calories and 7 gm of protein, which helps in fighting hunger pangs and helps you control what you eat. Almonds also help growing children in developing strong bones,” he adds.

“It’s also very easy to consume, one can have it any time, so it merges well with the hectic lifestyle,” Lapsley said.

Gupta, however, adds that indiscreet consumption of almonds alone will not help and it should be seen as a percentage of total calorie intakes.

“It is not that one can eat anything and pop five almonds. It has to be seen as a percentage of total calorie intakes. The rest of the diet is as important”

You can eat almonds directly, preferably eat it empty stomach to ensure absorption of their nutrients. You can soak them in water overnight and eat in the morning. You can also garnish various dishes with crushed almonds.

These are other health benefits:

  • Good for brain: Almond is a source of many nutrients which help in development of the brain. Almond induces high intellectual level and has been considered as an essential food item for growing children. Many mothers give almonds soaked in water to their children daily in the morning (2-3 pieces of soaked almonds are good enough, you can also remove the outer shell if it causes allergy to you.
  • Regulates cholesterol: Regular consumption of almonds helps to increase the level of high density lipoproteins (HDL) and reduce the level of low density lipoproteins (LDL), thereby effectively controlling cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is called bad cholesterol.
  • Good for heart: Mono-saturated fat, protein and potassium contained in almonds are good for the heart. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and reduces the risk of heart diseases. The presence of magnesium in almonds helps to avoid heart attacks. Almonds help reduce C-reactive protein which causes artery-damaging inflammation. Almond is also a source of folic acid. They therefore help to reduce the level of homocystein, which causes fatty plaque buildup in arteries.
  • Skin care: The benefits of almond for skin care are well known, and hence a massage with almond oil is often recommended for new born babies. Almond milk is also added in some soaps as almonds help in improving the complexion of the skin.
  • Regulates blood pressure: Potassium present in almond helps to regulates blood pressure. Almonds are very low in sodium which also helps in containing blood pressure.
  • Prevention of cancer: Almond improves the movement of food through the colon, thereby preventing colon cancer.
  • Protection against diabetes: Almonds also help in reducing the rise in sugar and insulin levels after meals. This offers protection from diabetes.
  • Good in pregnancy: Almond contains folic acid. Folic acid helps to reduce the incidence of birth defects in newborn babies.
  • Weight loss: Unsweetened almond milk helps one to reduce weight. The mono-saturated fat contained in almonds satisfies appetite and prevents over-eating. Studies have revealed that almond rich low calorie diet is good for obese people to assist in shedding their weight.
  • Prevention of constipation: Almonds are rich in fibre. Like most other fibre rich food, almonds also help in preventing constipation. Make sure you drink good amount of water after eating almonds.
  • Boosts energy: The presence of manganese, copper and Riboflavin helps in energy production.

One avoids the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by consuming almonds. But just like any other food, even almonds have their cons. They contain oxalates and excessive oxalates can cause crystallization. So people having kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid eating almonds.

The almond is botanically a stone fruit related to the cherry, the plum, and the peach.

The almond that we think of as a nut is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree, a medium-size tree that bears fragrant pink and white flowers. Like its cousins, the peach, cherry and apricot trees, the almond tree bears fruits with stone-like seeds (or pits) within. The seed of the almond fruit is what we refer to as the almond nut.

Almonds are considered to be the healthiest and most nutritious nuts of all Almonds have a vast number of health benefits and these beneficial properties are used via various forms like almond oil, almond paste or whole almonds. Here are all the health benefits of almonds that you should know about:

Studies carried out by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund have revealed that almonds had several substances as their chemical constituents which could be useful in the prevention of cancer.

Almonds are loaded with protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E and other antioxidants and phytochemicals. Almonds have been shown to promote good health, especially when they are part of a healthful diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and low fat whole grain products.

According to one study, almonds are a well balanced food. They contain the right kind of fats-monounsaturated and some polyunsaturated, so they help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol, while not touching the high-density, or good cholesterol levels.

One ounce of almonds contains 35 percent of the daily intake of vitamin E. Vitamin E is believed to protect the bodys cells from cancer, heart disease, and aging.

Almonds are also rich in magnesium and dietary fiber. Magnesium is mainly found in the bone and inside cells of body tissues and organs. It is needed for keeping the heart rhythm steady and supporting a healthy immune system. Magnesium also regulates blood sugar levels and promotes normal blood pressure. It is excreted through the kidneys and magnesium has also been shown to help prevent and manage hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Magnesium can also be found in green vegetables and fish; however almonds are one of the greatest and most natural sources of magnesium. Magnesium allows the body to circulate blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body with less strain.

Uses of almond oil

·  Strengthens brain and nerves, is a nutrient,

· Relieves tension

· Strengthens brain power

· Good for heart

· Keeps body warm in winter

· Nourishes skin

· Prenatal and postnatal care

·  Helps build stronger bones as it contains higher content of Ca, Fe and P

· Good for infants

·  Improves body strength and removes constipation in a natural way:

How to use almonds?

People use almonds in different ways as a remedy for following ailments:

Improves memory and weakness of the brain if:

1. 5-10 ml of almond oil is mixed with 250 ml of milk at night and consumed.

2. Soak 10 pieces of almond nuts overnight in water and Remove the hard covering in morning and grind with 10 g butter and sugar and eat for one or two months.

3. Alternately 5-6 pieces of almonds are ground with 10 g sugar and Saumf and taken with hot milk in night.

4. Almond oil can also be applied on the forehead.

Improvement in eye-sight

·Make a paste of 5 almonds with water in night and use it with warm milk in the morning

· Also heals the spots caused due to small pox

Dry lips:

·Intake of 5 grains of almonds

Dry cough:

·Grind 5 pieces of almonds and make a paste with sugar. It will remove cough

Increase in weight:

·Soak overnight 12 almonds in water and grind in morning after removing scalp. Make sandwich with bread butter and sugar and drink a glass of water for six months

Stammering:

·Eating with butter or black pepper corrects speech problems. Eat 10-12 almonds, the equivalent of two aspirins, for a migraine headache. Almonds are far less likely to upset the stomach.

Almonds are excellent for dry coughs. Soak about seven almonds in water and keep them overnight.
Next morning peel off the brown skin. Now grind them to form a powder and add twenty grams each of
butter and sugar and form a paste. Consume it twice a day, once in the morning and the second time in
the evening.

Almond milk is the most useful health tonic. It should be prepared by grinding the blanched almonds with milk, adding some more milk and little sugar to it. Almond fat is in an unsaturated form. Besides, it has also 11 gms of a fatty acid (linolenic acid) in 100 gms of almonds. Thus, almonds help to lower serum cholesterol level.
Almonds help to raise haemoglobin, form new blood cells, and enable liver, heart, brain and nerves to perform their respective functions normally. It prolongs life, tones up and energises muscle function, energises brain power and strengthens health. Take equal quantities of raisins, almonds and roasted black grams. If 50- 100 gms of this recipe is taken with milk, it will meet all food requirements of body and brain.

Almond is laxative, removes skin disorders, respiratory problems, rejuvenates sexual power and system, does away with constipation but, for all such or any other disorder or to derive tonic effect, only sweet almond should be used, but not the bitter variety.

For healthy skin – Mix equal quantity rose petal’s paste, almond paste (of blanched almonds) and milk cream. If applied daily over face, it will beautify the face, by nourishing the skin, it will also provide glow, softness and lustrous look to skin, remove wrinkles, black-heads, pimples, dryness of skin and retard pre-mature aging effects on face.

To remove constipation – Mix half teaspoonful of almond oil to hot milk but, those who have sensitive stomachs should not use the oil, in stead they can chew the almonds (blanched) to be followed by hot milk drink.

Almond oil with rose water can be applied to face for facial tenderness.

For relief in asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough – Mix ten to fifteen drops each of ginger and lemon juices to a spoonful of almond oil and take for 10-15 days at a stretch once or twice a day, depending on severity of the symptoms.

In pregnancy – Almonds being highly nutritive are an ideal source of energy for pregnant women. For best results, soak almonds in milk, add a pinch of saffron and drink the tasty preparation everyday for nourishment both to the mother and the to-be child.

To increase vitality – Almonds in milk also increase libido and enhance general sexual performance in cases of frigidity too.

As a brain tonic – Almond is popular for its property as a nerve tonic. Rich in nourishment and essential fats, almonds serve to enhance memory and intelligence. Soak 4-6 almonds in water and eat after removing the kernel.

As a body coolant – Badam kheer is a well known preparation made by grinding almonds and mixing in milk. This cools the body apart from relieving brain exhaustion and improving functioning.

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