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The work life of the world has seen a drastic shift in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the U.S. alone, over 40% of the labor force are now working from home full time. On top of that, the pandemic has pushed our stress and anxiety levels up to soaring heights. These circumstances have many of us snacking and stress eating way more than we did in our pre-pandemic lives. The weight-gain problem is real and it’s been billed the “Quarantine 15.”
Part of the pandemic-snacking solution lies in an old classic that resides in countless cupboards across the globe. The almond. There are many reasons why almonds stand the test of time amongst the healthiest of snack food options. In this article we will share three ways that almonds can benefit your health, during the pandemic and beyond.
#1 – Almonds Are Antioxidants
Antioxidant is a term attached to many of the foods touted as being “superfoods,” including nuts like almonds. A superfood is defined as a “nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” But what are antioxidants and why are they good for us?
When our bodies metabolize food, a chemical reaction called oxidation takes place as a normal part of that process. Free radicals are a byproduct of that process that can cause damage to the cells in our bodies, leading to health problems. Specifically, free radicals are associated with cancer, heart disease, and other diseases of aging. Antioxidants are found in a variety of foods and supplements. They bind to those free radicals in our bodies, helping to stabilize them before they cause damage.
Research has been conducted to measure the impact of eating almonds on the damage done to cells through oxidation. One study showed that eating three ounces of almonds every day over a period of four weeks reduced the biomarkers of oxidative damage in the studied group of male smokers by 23-34%.
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#2 – Almonds Promote Healthy Weight
Almonds are the perfect addition to the diet of anyone looking to maintain or reach a healthy weight. There are a few reasons for this that are all due to the nutrient profile of this very special tree nut.
Almonds are a high protein, high fiber, and low carbohydrate food. Foods high in protein and fiber are well known for keeping a person satiated for longer periods of time as compared to foods high in carbohydrates. A study showed that eating almonds as a snack reduced hunger and the desire to eat. This feeling of fullness helps you to eat less calories overall during a typical day.
#3 – Almonds Are Heart Healthy
All of us have two types of cholesterol in our blood: LDL and HDL. Most people call LDL the “bad cholesterol” as it is the type that builds plaque in our circulatory system and causes heart disease. There are a variety of foods that can reduce LDL cholesterol. Of primary interest are those foods that can lower your bad cholesterol but leave your good cholesterol alone. Almonds do both!
The scientific research in this particular area is dense. One review looked at the wide body of evidence available and concluded that almond consumption reduces LDL and helps maintain or even increase HDL in the blood. Eating almonds is a great way to reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
When it comes to snacking, the shopping aisles are chock full of tempting choices that taste great in the moment, but don’t help us long term. Turn to the time-honored tradition of eating almonds and enjoy a multitude of healthy results.