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Snacking on almonds can put lifestyle diseases at bay

Snacking on almonds can put lifestyle diseases at bay
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Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity are on a rise because of a sedentary and erratic lifestyle. Sheela Krishnaswamy, diet,...

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity are on a rise because of a sedentary and erratic lifestyle. Sheela Krishnaswamy, diet, nutrition and wellness consultant, says, “The last two decades have seen a drastic change in the lifestyle of people. Everything, from our eating habits to our working habits, has gone through a transformation. Even trying to take out time for exercise is becoming an effort.”

Research suggests that almonds can help support a healthy lifestyle in a number of ways. Cardiovascular diseases and obesity: These lifestyle diseases are inter-related. Heart diseases have emerged as the number one killer in both urban and rural areas of the country. Almonds have been shown to help promote heart health. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, a daily snack of 42 grams of almonds instead of a high carbohydrate muffin, consumed as part of an overall healthy diet, improved the condition of heart patients.

In addition to significantly improving LDL cholesterol, snacking on almonds also reduced central adiposity (belly fat). Although heart disease remains the number one cause of death worldwide, it is estimated that at least 80 per cent of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease can be avoided if diet and lifestyle risk factors are controlled. Diabetes: Diabetes is fast gaining the status of a potential epidemic in India with more than 62 million diabetic individuals currently diagnosed with the disease.

In 2000, India (31.7 million) topped the world with the highest number of people with diabetes mellitus followed by China (20.8 million) and with the United States (17.7 million) in second and third place respectively. Consuming unhealthy foods and eating at odd hours may contribute to diabetes. Almonds are a healthy snacking option for those with type-2 diabetes.

It has been found that including almonds in a healthy diet has beneficial effects on body weight, blood sugar, cholesterol levels and markers of inflammation, which may lower risk for heart disease in adults with type-2 diabetes. Almonds make a high satiety food for weight watchers as they are high in fibre.

A new study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that study participants consuming 43 grams of dry-roasted, lightly salted almonds every day experienced reduced hunger and improved dietary vitamin E and monounsaturated (good) fat intake without increasing body weight.

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