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Almonds, as Memory Booster?

Submitted by Sharon Hopkins on November 18, 2010

Almonds for Good Health

Dry fruits and nuts such as peaches, apricots, figs, walnut, pecans, cashew nut, and almonds should form part of your well-balanced diet. Mediterranean cuisine uses a lot of these dry fruits, seeds, and nuts as part of daily cooking. However, if your favorite cuisine does not include these seeds and nuts, you may consume them as part of a healthy snack, sprinkle some on your cereals, or include them as garnish on salads and stir-fry.

Is almond a seed or a nut? Before we extol the benefits of almonds, you should know that although included as part of nuts, almonds are actually seeds or pits inside the almond fruit. They are usually dried and maybe roasted or salted for commercial use.

While some varieties of almonds may taste bitter or may vary in size, most experts agree that almonds with their skin on are better for health. However, if you prefer not to consume the skin, soaking the almonds overnight in warm water will help peel them off easily.

With or without skin, this super food is choc-a-block with vitamins and minerals to revitalize many organs and parts of your body. Almonds provide a range of benefits from healthy skin and hair to better digestion and cardiovascular health.

However, its benefits for children and young adults are particularly noteworthy.

Almonds for brain power. For decades now, mothers have trusted this miracle nut for their children.

Now scientific study has proven benefits of almonds for brain. Almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, nutrients that boost brain activity significantly. In fact, these chemical nutrients in almonds increase memory.

L-carnitine enables the brain to absorb certain chemicals, which may be responsible for neurological degeneration. With its age defying properties, eating almonds for memory and brain health may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Another chemical called phenylalanine in almonds can alter our mood and cognitive function. Since it is easily absorbed into the brain, this chemical starts acting immediately to produce hormonal chemicals such as adrenaline and dopamine. Studies show that these hormones relax the body and boost brain function. Under the influence of these hormones, you develop better reflexes and alertness. Students will greatly benefit from consuming almonds for concentration.

Some of the other benefits of almonds are as follows:

• Apart from its brain boosting capabilities, almonds may also trigger hormones that can help reduce pain. Ongoing tests show that this pain relieving capacity of almonds may be beneficial in individuals suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
• There may also be some merit in the fact that almonds can aid cardiovascular health. A handful of almonds or mixed nuts can lower bad cholesterol or LDL and reduce the risk of arterial blockage.
• Almonds contain monosaturated fats, which are good for heart health. However, moderation is important. All nuts including almonds contain traces of fatty oil. Excess consumption may lead to obesity.
• Vitamin E found in plentiful in almonds is a beneficial anti-oxidant, which promotes blood flow. Thus, it helps to move essential nutrients and oxygen to various organs, especially the brain.
•  Consuming almonds in moderation for snacks or including them in your breakfast cereals or fruit smoothies can help you maintain weight or achieve weight loss.
• With its low sodium content and high potassium content, snacking on almonds may help lower your blood pressure. Be careful to choose the unsalted or unseasoned variety of almonds if they are store bought.
• Diabetic patients may also benefit from consuming almonds. Since they are low fat, non-sugar nuts, they can satisfy your hunger. Almonds also contain anti-oxidant properties, which may lower insulin levels.
• Include almonds and other dry fruits in a diet for expectant mothers. Almonds are a rich source of folic acid, which promote cell and tissue growth of the fetus.
• Individuals suffering from constipation will notice a remarkable difference in their digestive health when they consume four to five almonds on a daily basis.
• For athletes and individuals leading an active lifestyle, almonds provide instant energy. With healthy traces of manganese, riboflavin, and copper, almonds are instant fuel.

Almonds are rich sources of calories and monounsaturated fat. Around 50 grams of almonds are recommended for adults, everyday. A fifth of the calorie requisite of adults is met by 100 grams of almonds. They are helpful in getting rid of amnesia or weakness of memory. They are memory boosters and comprise of certain properties, which enable brain power. Almond paste is effective in such a treatment. Almond oil inhalation is also equally helpful. Almond oil for hair is also recommended.

Protein is a vital nutrient necessary for growth and development. They are excellent protein sources, and 6 grams comprises of protein equivalent to that in an ounce of red meat. They are high quality protein and easily digestible. It is a combo pack of protein and vitamin E. They are also rich in arginine, an essential amino acid. Almonds can be consumed in the presence of other proteins, thereby, providing a symbiotic action. A wholesome amount of both the amino acids is achieved. It is a good source of folate, which helps in reducing the homocysteine levels. Homocysteine increases the plaque formation in arteries. Consumption of almonds reduces the probability of diabetes, cancer and alzheimer’s disease.

An ounce of almonds provide with 3 grams of dietary fiber. Insoluble fiber forms a majority of this, around 80%. The rest is contributed by soluble fiber. This combination aids in decreasing bad cholesterol levels. The risk of colonic cancer is also reduced. Absorption of fat is less, thereby contributing less to the caloric amount. Satiety is easily achieved, due to the high fiber and high quality protein.

They are rich sources of monounsaturated fatty acids and the major component is oleic acid. Substitution of saturated fats to monounsaturated fats decreases the risk of cholesterol levels. They also exhibit cardio protective function, and this is attributed to the omega 6 fatty acids present in them. They are plant products, and hence are devoid of cholesterol, by nature. They can be substituted for the saturated fats on our table.

Almonds are a good source of micronutrients, such as calcium and phosphorus, thereby contributing to bone growth and development. They are also good sources of manganese, magnesium and pyridoxine, which play a vital role in metabolic processes of fats and carbohydrates. Pyridoxine aids in the reduction of homocysteine levels, thereby contributing to cardiac health.

Raw almonds are supposed to provide maximum benefits, rather than blanched ones. They reduce the LDL cholesterol levels in a significant manner. Crypt foci, lesions seen in guinea pigs, are subdued by the anti-carcinogenic effect of almonds. This is attributed to the dietary fiber, polyphenols and vitamin E.

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