Add Some Almonds

 
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Why you should add almonds

Like all nuts, almonds are one of nature’s superfoods. If you eat them regularly, they may lower your risk of heart attack and type 2 diabetes, and they can even make it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight.

  • Eating 70 grams of almonds daily can reduce bad LDL cholesterol by almost 10 per cent—that’s a one per cent reduction for every seven grams you consume! More importantly, almonds prevent cholesterol from becoming oxidised, so it’s less likely to become sticky and block your arteries.
  • Adding almonds to your meals dampens the blood sugar surge after eating and research suggests that the more you add the better. Even for people with well-controlled diabetes, the regular use of almonds can lower their blood sugar reading over three months.
  • Despite being high in fat, almonds don’t cause you to put on weight and they help to blunt appetite. Tests show that overweight adults who included 84 grams of almonds daily as part of a low-kilojoule diet had 62 per cent greater weight loss than those who didn’t.

How they work

Almonds provide strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and even prebiotic benefits, meaning they can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in your intestines, especially if you keep their skin on. They’re packed with nutrients such as monounsaturated fats, vitamin E (30 grams provide 70 per cent of the daily requirement), plant sterols, plant protein including arginine (there are 6 grams per handful), calcium and multiple phytonutrients like polyphenols that work collectively for maximum health benefits.

Ways to use more

Unless you have an allergy, include at least 30 grams of almonds (about 20) in your daily diet. If you find them hard to chew, simply soak them in water for 8 to 12 hours.

Enjoy almonds as snacks, in cereals or tossed through salads and stir-fries. Spread their butter on bread instead of margarine and use their “flour” to create moist, flourless cakes. 

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Sue Radd is one of Australia's leading nutritionists and health communicators. She also advises law firms, providing expert nutrition reports for use in court cases.