Including almonds in your daily diet could help reduce belly fat, a well-established heart disease risk factor, says a study.
A daily snack of 1.5 ounces (42 gram) of almonds instead of a high-carbohydrate muffin, eaten as part of an overall healthy diet, improved a number of heart disease risk factors in study participants. Participants ate cholesterol-lowering diets that were identical except that one group was given a daily snack of 42 gram of whole natural almonds, while the other group was given a banana muffin that provided the same number of calories.
Participants were provided all meals and snacks in amounts based on their calorie needs to maintain body weight, and followed each diet for six weeks. The results showed the diet containing the almond snack, compared to the muffin snack, decreased abdominal fat, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol non-HDL-cholesterol and other blood fats. Almonds are an especially good source of healthy fats and are loaded with fiber and protein, but since they are also loaded with calories, this nutrient-dense food is often taken off the table by anyone trying to lean out. NewsletterThe latest, greatest training info and research delivered to your online mailbox every week and it's FREE. When cravings attack, it can be tempting to reach for something greasy or sweet, but neither is friendly to the waistline. Almonds may also help with weight loss, reducing fat mass, and lowering systolic blood pressure in combination with a low-calorie diet .


Add the rest of the ingredients and blend for a few minutes at a time, making sure to scrape the sides of the food processor bowl frequently (if the mixture sticks). In addition, the diet with the muffin snack reduced HDL (good) cholesterol more than the almond diet.
However, almonds have long puzzled experts because their calories don’t seem to translate into added body fat. For a healthy alternative, grab some almonds to help satisfy hunger and boost energy between meals. Almonds are actually the most nutritionally dense nut,  meaning they offer the highest concentration of overall nutrients per calorie and per ounce.
One study suggests eating between 1 and 6 ounces of almonds per day can reduce total cholesterol and may contribute to lowering “bad” cholesterol (LDL), though the study’s authors believed more conclusive evidence was needed. Better yet, studies suggest eating almonds alone— without making any other dietary considerations— could spur a healthier diet all around. One study found that dry roasted nuts are actually more easily digested, meaning that more of their nutrients are released. A one-ounce serving contains 161 calories, nearly 13 grams of unsaturated fat and 3.4 grams of fiber (that’s about 14% of the daily recommended value).


When subjects added almonds to their regular diets, they unintentionally upped their intake of healthy options like plant proteins and fiber, while reducing intake of some less-than-healthy picks packed with cholesterol and sugar— no nutritionist required.
Of course, nuts roasted with, oil, honey, or salt can pack on loads of additional fat, sodium, and sugar, so it’s best to stick with raw or unsalted dry-roasted almonds.
What’s more, almonds are a good source of potassium, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron. Now that’s something to go nuts over!
Plus, a recent study shows that snacking on almonds can reduce hunger without leading to weight gain. A single serving of almonds contains over 160 calories and 14 grams of fat, but only 68 percent of those calories were actually absorbed by subjects in a test conducted by the USDA. Scientists believe that exchanging three servings of almonds for an equal number of calories derived from simple carbs and sugars could create a significant deficit of up to 150 calories a day.



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