Almonds: For a Healthy Waistline and a Healthy Heart

8035450_sLooking for a healthy snack?  Whether you are trying to maintain your weight or lose a few pounds, grab a handful of almonds.  Although nuts have been traditionally thought of “too fattening” and pulled out of weight-loss programs, these attitudes are changing as more and more research shows that nuts actually help people to lose weight.  So now the experts are telling us that we CAN eat nuts to lose weight. I was pleasantly surprised to see health gurus like Dr. Oz and the advisors on “Biggest Loser” recommending the public to include nuts in their diet to maintain a healthy waistline.

Healthy Waistline Equals a Healthy Heart

Did you know that the size of your waistline has been correlated with your chances of getting heart disease?  A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that heart patients with an apple shape or with a large waist size, meaning “greater than 35 inches for women, or 40 inches for men, were 70 percent more likely to die” from heart disease.  The study found that waist size was a much better predictor than overall weight or Body Mass Index.

Festive Holiday Nuts and Trail Mix

Almonds are actually full of good fats and nutrients that protect the heart and promote heart health, like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Check out this link for a nutritional breakdown of raw almonds.

With all these nutrients, almonds make a perfect healthy holiday snack.  This time of year we can get the freshest nuts of all kinds in the shell: from almonds to filberts, walnuts and pecans.  Although a bit more effort, there is nothing like the flavour and freshness of eating nuts from the shell.  So include a colourful display of shelled nuts and nutcrackers at your holiday parties.  Here is also a recipe for a Festive Trail Mix that you can serve guests with your appetizers and snacks.

Try Almonds in Your Holiday Baking – Gluten-free almond cookies

Almonds are also a great addition to holiday baking.  They add flavour, texture and healthy fiber to any cookie, bar or muffin recipe.  They also make a healthy base with rice flour for gluten-free almond cookies.  More and more people have family members or friends that cannot eat gluten because it affects their digestive system.

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So rethink all you know about nuts.  Remember that almonds are actually full of “good” fats and tonnes of fiber that will keep your waistline trim and your heart strong. When you are trying to resist all the holiday sweets and desserts, buy some nuts in the shell, or raw unsalted almonds, and give yourself permission to snack on this delicious and nutritious food.

We’d love your feedback! And don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog too via the commentluv feature here on the site.

Until next time,

Stephanie

 

Sources: http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/02/waist.size.predicts.heart.disease/index.html

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