Nuts come in all shapes and sizes and offer you protein, healthy fats and fiber. Although some might be more favorable than others, a recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has discovered that almonds stand out among all the rest in terms of weight management. The study found that participants eating 1.5 ounces of almonds every day experienced reduced hunger and an increased intake of vitamin E and monounsaturated (good) fats. Throughout the study, the participants followed their usual eating patterns (aside from the almonds) and physical activity. Despite eating an additional 250 calories a day from the almonds, none of the participants experienced weight gain.
Snacking on unhealthy foods is one of the major culprits in weight gain and increased obesity risk. The research from this study suggests that almonds are a smart snack choice in that they increase satiety and provide 13 grams/ounce of monounsaturated fat, 6 grams/ounce of protein and 4 grams/ounce of fiber.
Weight management isn’t the only health benefit almonds have to offer. These nuts help reduce your risk of heart disease due to the antioxidant power of vitamin E and the monounsaturated fats which lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in the blood. Almonds are also a rich source of magnesium and potassium which help improve blood flow and maintain normal blood pressure and heart function.
Almonds can be incorporated into trail mixes, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal or even eaten alone – and no, chocolate covered almonds don’t count! Almonds are also sold as almond butter, which is spreadable and can be used in place or in addition to other nut butters. Start incorporating this nutritious hunger fighting snack into your meal plan!
But do be careful…even though almonds have wonderful healthy benefits, they still have calories. Watch your portion.
Your turn to take action: How will you incorporate almonds into your meal plan?