Now that we know that nuts are actually good for us, it should come as no surprise that almonds could do more than promote healthy cholesterol levels. It turns out, according to researchers at Tufts University in Massachusetts, that almonds can help lower quite a few risk factors, not only for heart disease, but diabetes as well.
Almonds are special healing foods that are rich in a number of healthful ingredients. First, and perhaps most obviously, these nuts contain monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat helps to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, while at the same time boosting HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Almonds are also high in fiber, which has been proven to help lower the risk for a number of health diseases. Almonds contain antioxidants such as tocopherol, minerals such as magnesium and copper, and phytonutrients.
The research team at Tufts noted that the fat and fiber in almonds contribute to its hypocholesterolemic benefits. They also concluded that almonds are likely to have a beneficial effect on other modifiable cardiovascular and diabetes risks, such as body weight, glucose homeostasis, inflammation, and oxidative stress. That’s an impressive list. But the researchers weren’t quite finished. They found evidence that almond consumption beneficially influences chronic degenerative disease risk, particularly in people with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
There are a lot of different ways you can add almonds to your meals. Sliced almonds taste great in a morning bowl of cereal (add a handful of berries, too, and get an extra dose of antioxidants). Roasted almonds can be tasty in a stir-fry. Almond milk is a delicious addition to the beverage category. For those who are lactose-intolerant and don’t like the taste of soymilk, almond milk can be a good alternative. You can use almond milk in your morning cup of tea or coffee, in recipes for baked goods, and as a base for soups. But for pure nutritional value, just grab a handful of raw almonds midday for a healthy and tasty snack.
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