Choose a healthier you, this World Health Day with almonds!

Every year World Health Day is celebrated as a campaign to generate awareness around diverse health themes that are important for the overall growth and development of people across the world. With this year’s theme centered on ‘Universal health coverage (UHC)’, it brings attention to a key concern that many people in the world face.

As governments and organizations come together to ensure people and communities everywhere have access to quality health services, without suffering financial hardship, it is also important for us to contribute to better health for our families and ourselves. This World Health Day, take charge of your health by incorporating small yet impactful changes to your lifestyle.

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A good way to start this is by making informed food choices and snacking right. Nuts like Almonds are a source of 15 nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, zinc, etc. Beyond this, almonds are known to provide several health benefits and here are 3 key reasons you should add them to your diet today:

Almonds for heart health

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a collective of various kinds of heart ailments, strokes and diseases of blood vessels nourishing the limbs. They have become a major cause of mortality globally, as well as in India. One of the main reasons for this is the inconsistent lifestyle that many Indians follow, including not getting enough physical activity, over-indulgence in sweet and fried snacks, and following a diet high in saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol. A review by a panel of Indian nutrition and cardiovascular experts, published in the journal Nutrients, suggests that daily inclusion of almonds as part of a healthy diet may help reduce dyslipidemia, one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease among Indians.

According to Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, “For a healthy heart, it is important to be cognizant of what we eat. I regularly come across patients with heart disease seeking dietary suggestions. I always recommend a heart-friendly diet plan, including foods such as almonds, fresh fruits, sprouts, whole grains, lots of vegetables, etc, in the diet. According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers estimated that for every 30 grams increase (approximately 1 serving) of almonds consumed daily, an estimated 10-year coronary heart disease (CHD) risk score was reduced by 3.5% .”

Regional Head-Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi, Ritika Samaddar said,“In order to manage cardiovascular diseases, we need to focus on our diet choices as well as our lifestyles. Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent chronic diseases and long-term illnesses. While eating, it is very important to take stock of our cholesterol levels and make efforts to lower total and LDL cholesterol, for better heart health. A small yet significant step that we can take is increasing the consumption of foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats like almonds and replace them with highly saturated fats.”

Commenting on this, Madhuri Ruia, Pilates Expert and Diet & Nutrition Consultant said, “Nowadays, stress has become a part of many people’s lifestyles, which may further contribute to an increased risk of heart diseases. Due to this, many of us tend to become victims of emotional eating – which is prompted by one’s feelings and not by the body’s need for food. To counter this, it is a good idea to be mindful when it comes to eating. I suggest snacking smart with almonds instead of consuming unwholesome snacks as it can make a healthy difference to our lives.”

Almonds shown to improve overall skin health

Our skin health is largely determined by a number of factors – the lifestyle we follow, the food we eat and the constant change in the environment. In the long run, these factors might lead to various skin diseases including acne, premature ageing and skin pigmentation. That said, to maintain a perfect skin, we tend to apply various cosmetic products. What we don’t realise is that these are only short-lived solutions, and a healthy skin requires daily intake of foods that are nutrient-rich. According to published Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani texts, almonds are good for skin health and can help in enhancing skin glow. Additionally, a new pilot study by researchers at the University of California, Davis found that a daily snack of almonds in place of other nut-free snacks improved measures of wrinkle width and severity in postmenopausal women.

Emphasizing on the importance of skin health, leading Bollywood Actress, Soha Ali Khan said, “Being an actress, it is important for me to follow a regular skincare regime. I personally don’t prefer applying a lot of makeup to make my skin look good. Instead, I focus more on my diet to maintain a healthy and glowing skin. For this, I make sure to consume a handful of almonds daily. Whether at home, work or while travelling in between shoots, I always keep some almonds handy in my bag.”

Almonds help in weight management

Obesity is slowly becoming a serious medical condition across the globe, and in India, in particular. It is also associated with several related conditions including high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar. Having a sedentary lifestyle and following an improper diet are some of the major factors contributing to this.  According to a recent study, in addition to significantly improving HDL cholesterol, snacking on almonds also reduced central adiposity (belly fat) and waist circumference, all well-established heart disease risk factors.

According to Fitness enthusiast and Supermodel, Milind Soman, “Health is always a priority for me. No matter how busy our lives get, compromising on maintaining fitness and a healthy lifestyle is never an option. I like to remain fit and ensure keeping a check on my metabolism at all times. As a part of my everyday routine, I involve myself in different physical activities – be it running outdoors or exercising at home. To complement my lifestyle, I ensure including almonds as a part of my diet. I have read that a handful of almonds may have satiating properties that promote feelings of fullness, which may keep hunger at bay between meals.”

Healthy living takes practice, preparation and commitment but, in the end it’s worth it! This World Health Day, let’s pledge to stay healthy.