Wonderfully delicious, almonds have long been revered as symbol of wellness and health. The nuts are enriched with many health-benefiting nutrients that are essential for optimum health.
Brief History of Almonds
The almond is believed to have originally been cultivated in Asia and North Africa, and it was Spanish missionaries who first brought almonds to California. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United States is the largest producer of almonds in the world.
The almond featured significantly in different cultures throughout history. The Romans would shower the bride and groom with almonds as a blessing of fertility. In Egypt, almonds were used in bread that was served exclusively to the Pharaohs. There are also several references to the almond in the Bible.
Many people believe that there are many health benefits of almonds including reduced LDL cholesterol, reduced oxidative damage from smoking, and stabilized blood sugar levels after eating. These claims have yet to be proven true in a large documented study.
Nutrients in Almonds
Nutritionally, almonds have more calcium than any other nut and are an excellent source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils, protein, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamin E. More than 60% of the fat comes from monounsaturated fat.They are a good source of antioxidant flavonoids.
In recent studies it has been demonstrated that almonds significantly reduce LDL cholesterol, which may lessen the risk of heart disease. In a randomized crossover trial involving 22 men and women to determine the effect of almonds on LDL cholesterol, half of their habitual fat was replaced with either whole almonds or almond oil for 6-wk periods, and LDL cholesterol was significantly decreased. Another study of forty-five men and women who followed one of three diets; almond-based, olive oil-based, or dairy-based for 4 weeks showed reductions in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in the almond based diet. Within group analysis revealed that the almond-based diet induced significant reductions of LDL cholesterol.
There is some concern of weight gain from consumption of the fat content in almonds. A study of twenty women was conducted which demonstrated that ten weeks of daily almond consumption did not affect weight loss adversely.
In another 24-week trial, it was concluded that a low calorie diet supplemented with almonds was effective in a greater and more sustained weight loss.
Reduce Damage From Smoking
In a study involving 60 healthy males who were smoking and 30 healthy not smoking, it was found that the antioxidant nutrients found in almonds could increase antioxidant defenses and reduce oxidative damage in people who are smoking.
Blood Sugar Stability
In a human study it was found that almonds helped stabilize blood sugar levels after eating, and a decrease in insulin levels in the blood were also recorded. Stable blood sugar levels help to protect against heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Almond Butter Before Bedtime
Do you turn in early yet still toss and turn all night – and then wake up tired? Tim Ferriss believes that one of the biggest culprits for waking up during the night is low blood sugar. To prevent this, eat 2 tablespoons of raw almond butter before bed. This low-glycemic index food can prevent blood sugar spikes so you can sleep better. In fact, according to Ferriss, correcting your blood sugar level can actually make you feel as if you are doubling up on the sleep you are actually getting – 4 hours can feel like 8, 6 like 12, etc. Remember that the recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-8 hours.
In preliminary studies, results suggest that almonds may be helpful in the prevention of colon cancer.
Alkaline vs. Acid Food list
Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline ( 7.35 - 7.45 ). Below or above this range means symptoms and disease. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. A pH below 7.0 is acidic. A pH above 7.0 is alkaline.
An acidic pH can occur from, an acid forming diet, emotional stress, toxic overload, and/or immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients. The body will try to compensate for acidic pH by using alkaline minerals. If the diet does not contain enough minerals to compensate, a build up of acids in the cells will occur.
An acidic balance will: decrease the body's ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients, decrease the energy production in the cells, decrease it's ability to repair damaged cells, decrease it's ability to detoxify heavy metals, make tumor cells thrive, and make it more susceptible to fatigue and illness. A blood pH of 6.9, which is only slightly acidic, can induce coma and death.
The reason acidosis is more common in our society is mostly due to the typical American diet, which is far too high in acid producing animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, and far too low in alkaline producing foods like fresh vegetables. Additionally, we eat acid producing processed foods like white flour and sugar and drink acid producing beverages like coffee and soft drinks. We use too many drugs, which are acid forming; and we use artificial chemical sweetners like NutraSweet, Spoonful, Sweet 'N Low, Equal, or Aspartame, which are poison and extremely acid forming. One of the best things we can do to correct an overly acid body is to clean up the diet and lifestyle.
To maintain health, the diet should consist of 60% alkaline forming foods and 40% acid forming foods. To restore health, the diet should consist of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods.
Generally, alkaline forming foods include: most fruits, green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs and seasonings, and seeds and nuts.
Generally, acid forming foods include: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, grains, and legumes.
Shifting Your pH Toward Alkaline...
This chart is for those trying to "adjust" their body pH. The pH scale is from 0 to 14, with numbers below 7 acidic ( low on oxygen ) and numbers above 7 alkaline. An acidic body is a sickness magnet. What you eat and drink will impact where your body's pH level falls. Balance is Key !!!
1. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
2. Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
4. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Josse AR, Salvatore S, Brighenti F, Augustin LS, Ellis PR, Vidgen E, Rao AV. Almonds decrease postprandial glycemia, insulinemia, and oxidative damage in healthy individuals. J Nutr. 2006 Dec;136(12):2987-92. PMID: 17116708.
5. Hollis J, Mattes R. Effect of chronic consumption of almonds on body weight in healthy humans. Br J Nutr. 2007 Sep;98(3):651-6. Epub 2007 Apr 20. PMID: 17445351.
6. Wien MA, Sabaté JM, Iklé DN, Cole SE, Kandeel FR. Almonds vs complex carbohydrates in a weight reduction program. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Nov;27(11):1365-72. PMID: 14574348.
7. Spiller GA, Jenkins DA, Bosello O, Gates JE, Cragen LN, Bruce B. Nuts and plasma lipids: an almond-based diet lowers LDL-C while preserving HDL-C. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Jun;17(3):285-90. PMID: 9627917.
8. Hyson DA, Schneeman BO, Davis PA. Almonds and almond oil have similar effects on plasma lipids and LDL oxidation in healthy men and women. J Nutr. 2002 Apr;132(4):703-7. PMID: 11925464.
9. The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
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