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    BY ILENE ENG

     

    National Almond Day falls on Feb. 16, and almond lovers have another reason to celebrate this year. In addition to the studies that have already demonstrated almonds’ health benefits, a recent survey shows that almond eaters are happier too.

    The Almond Board of California conducted a survey last summer and found that those who consume almonds regularly are more likely to be happy compared to their peers (63 percent vs. 53 percent).

    Almond eaters are also healthier because they stick to healthy habits longer than those who do not eat almonds regularly, the survey showed.

    “Almond eaters also prefer all-natural snacks (74 percent) and plan for healthy snacking (59 percent). Purposeful snacking and health habits are important to maintain—especially when they help fuel quality of life, well-being and happiness,” a press release stated.

    The survey consisted of 4,027 adults and was conducted between June 26 and July 13, 2019, using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel.

    “Panel members are randomly recruited by probability-based sampling to be representative of the U.S. adult population,” an Almond Board of California spokesperson stated.

    The group consisted of 1,933 males and 2,094 females. The majority were Gen X and Baby Boomers. Millennials and Gen Z together made up less than 1,000 of the group.

    Respondents rated their happiness level on a sliding scale from 1 (not at all happy) to 10 (extremely happy).

    Health Benefits

    Almonds are packed with nutrients like Vitamin E, fiber, calcium, and magnesium. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends 1.5 ounces of nuts per day to reduce the risk of heart disease.

    According to Rachel E. Scherr, Ph.D., assistant research scientist and director of the Center for Nutrition in Schools at the University of California Davis Department of Nutrition, almonds have been known to help people lose weight.

    “What has been shown consistently is that consuming almonds regularly as part of a healthy diet is associated with improvements to blood glucose control and circulating total cholesterol and lipoproteins (HDL and LDL). Many of these studies also demonstrate that consuming almonds results in weight loss as part of a healthy balanced diet. These studies also indicate that consuming almonds increases satiety and fullness—probably what is causing the decrease in body weight, as people are consuming less other foods as a result of eating almonds,” she said.

    Swati Kalgaonkar, associate director of the Nutrition Research Program for the Almond Board of California, said: “Almonds provide 6g of plant protein per serving (1 ounce/28g) that comes without the high fat and cholesterol that one might worry about from other dietary protein sources. Several clinical studies have also clearly demonstrated the heart health benefits imparted by almonds, namely reduction in total cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels.”

    Studies have shown that almonds help cognitive abilities and memory.

    There has not been actual research done to link almond consumption and mood, but reports such as this one by Healing Tree Wellness Center have singled out almonds as a superfood to fight depression and improve mood.

    “I suppose we can extrapolate that if someone consumes almonds and loses weight as a result, they may have improvements to mood and self-esteem,” said Scherr.

    Almonds have high levels of magnesium, and people who have higher amounts of magnesium also have a healthier amount of serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter that contributes to a person’s well-being and happiness.

    Recipe Ideas for National Almond Day

    California supplies around 80 percent of the world’s almonds. With National Almond Day around the corner, people can spend the weekend prepping a few almond snacks:

    • Baked or roasted whole almonds: Plain and simple is sometimes the best.
    • High protein almond bread: Not hard to make, but should be eaten in a moderate amount, since its density gives it more calories per slice.
    • Almond butter cookies: A fairly simple recipe made with almond flour and almond butter.
    • Almond milk chai latte: An easy homemade latte made with almond milk, cinnamon, chai tea, a pinch of nutmeg, and vanilla flavoring (optional).
    • Almond hummus: A blend of almonds and a variety of spices for a smooth dip for snacks.
    • Chocolate and almond pairings: The combination can be simple, or it can be exotic like Brazilian Coffee and Cocoa Almonds or Thai-Inspired Sweet and Spiced Cacao-Coated Almonds.
    • Almond-crusted chicken: Chicken can be rolled and pressed into a pile of thinly sliced almonds to give it an extra crispy crunch.
    • Tofu satay with almond dipping sauce: Skewered tofu cubes dipped in almond sauce.
    • Salads: Sprinkle almond crumbs, slices, or pieces over salads for an extra fiber boost.
    raw almonds

    Republished with Permission The Epoch Times    SUBSCRIBE


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