By Bronwyn Ison
You are on the go and eager to grab a quick snack. Pausing for fast food is convenient yet unhealthy. You ponder — what can be a quick and healthy snack? As a mother and yoga instructor I am on the move and in need of a quick nutritional snack several times a day. A handful of almonds will do your body right and pack an extra punch to your diet.
Almonds contain approximately 26 percent carbohydrates, plus 12 percent that are dietary fiber. Studies show about 20 percent of the raw almond is made of high quality protein, containing amino acids.
The United States is the largest producer of almonds according the Food and Agriculture Organization. They also report approximately three million almonds were produced in 2013. Almonds are stone fruits and related to the cherry, plums and peach family. Here are a myriad of reasons why you should choose almonds as your healthy go-to snack.
Give your heart some love. Almonds are a high fat food that is good for your health. A bit of an oxymoron but this heart healthy nut is high in monounsaturated fats. This is the same type of health-promoting fat that is found in olive oil, which has been associated with reducing heart disease. Studies indicate that almonds reduce the LDL-Cholesterol levels. This is partly due to the vitamin E found in almonds. A quarter-cup of almonds contains 62 mg of magnesium plus 162 mg of potassium. 1.5 ounces a day may reduce heart disease and equates to 12 percent of our daily protein.
Of all the tree nuts, almonds rank highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin. Studies have also shown the skin of the almond has twenty antioxidant flavonoids. The flavonoids help to protect the artery walls.
Consuming almonds may also accelerate weight loss. A study conducted involving as many as one thousand people found those who ate nuts two times per week were less likely to gain weight than those who never ate nuts. According to Ayurveda (a specific diet), almonds help increase high intellectual level and longevity. Hence, providing enhanced brain function due to the riboflavin’s and L-carnitine and possibly reducing Alzheimer’s disease.
Visiting the bulk items section at Sprouts (or your local favorite health store) is the best way to purchase your almonds and other nuts. The variety is plentiful and cost effective. I personally enjoy making my own trail mix. My mix consists of almonds, pistachios, cashews, dried cranberries and a few dried apricots. It’s the almonds that give the mix a kick. I recommend raw almonds versus salted. This is a quick and easy treat that is healthy and that you won’t feel guilty about eating. Go ahead… Be a nut!
Bronwyn Ison is the Owner of Evolve Yoga. www.e-volveyoga.com
Or (760) 564-YOGA (9642)