Natural Wonders – Almonds

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Keep some almonds handy for a quick energy boost.

Almonds are rich in nutrients

Almond and its nutrients

Almond, rightly called the wonder nut, not only tastes good but also comes loaded with numerous health benefits, especially, for women. Packed with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and health-promoting fats, research reveals that these nuts reduce risk of heart disease and lowers cholesterol. What more? Frequent consumption of almonds aids weight management as they satiate your appetite and curb cravings.

Though referred to as a nut, almond is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree. They are off-white in colour, covered by a thin brownish skin, and encased in a hard shell. There are two kinds of almonds: sweet and bitter. While sweet almonds are the kind that are eaten; bitter almonds are used to make almond oil, known to strengthen bones, improve skin and hair.

Traditionally a part of the Indian diet, almonds make for a healthy snack and also a tasty additive to many recipes.Make eating almonds a part of your dietary routine

Health benefits of almonds:

Helps cure anaemiaNearly 56% of Indian women are anaemic, according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS). The haemoglobin count for most Indian women falls under the standard accepted worldwide. Sufficient amounts of copper when combined with iron and vitamins can boost production of red blood cells and cure anaemia. Since almonds pack in a high percentage of copper, they make for an ideal supplement. Further, these highly nutritious nuts help increase bone mineral density, making a strong skeletal system.

Wonder food for mothers-to-beDoctors across the globe recommend consumption of almonds before and after pregnancy. A leading source of Vitamin E, the most essential nutrient for mothers-to-be; a handful of almonds can supply 33% of the Vitamin E required by the body.

Aids weight lossMany avoid nuts in the fear of weight gain. But studies suggest that nuts like almonds, when eaten frequently help in weight management. Thanks to its nutrient density, almonds have the effect of making you feel full and thereby reducing cravings and possibilities of over eating.

Prevents birth defects: One of the most important things you can do to prevent birth defects in your baby is to get adequate folic acid everyday. Folic acid, which plays a big role in healthy cell growth and tissue formation, is found in high doses in almonds

Good for your hair and skinThe antioxidant properties of almonds are considered to be good for your skin and hair. So eating almonds, or alternately applying almond oil to your skin and hair will help you to derive its benefits.

For a healthy heart: Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of "good fat" found in olive oil that is known to lower risk of heart diseases. Including almonds in your regular diet helps increase HDL or "good" cholesterol, levels, and lowers LDL or "bad" cholesterol, levels.

More help with energy production: Nutrients in almonds such as manganese, riboflavin, and copper are all known to aid energy production. If you're the kind who is always on the go, keep almonds handy for an instant energy boost.

Photographs courtesy of the Almond Board of California and Maria Li, via sxc.hu