Around 3:00 every afternoon, the same thing happens — the dreaded "snack" attack.
You know the feeling — it’s a few hours until dinnertime, but you find yourself craving something, anything, to get you through the rest of the afternoon.
A few years ago, I learned a lesson that’s kept me away from vending machines, fast food, and bags of chips — I throw a small container of almonds into my bag. That way, no matter where I am when the attack strikes, I’m good to go with a healthy and satisfying snack.
Now, what I didn’t know is just HOW healthy my go-to snack is.
Turns out, though, that I could be doing a lot to reduce my risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease just by munching regularly on almonds.
A 16-week study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition had pre-diabetic participants consuming 20 percent of their daily calories from almonds.
They showed significant improvement in LDL-cholesterol levels and measures of insulin sensitivity. Almonds are packed with fiber and contain unsaturated fat, both of which are beneficial to cholesterol levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
This is good news, to be sure, but it’s definitely news that comes a little late for some. In the past year, I’ve had several friends tell me their doctors have put them on statin drugs to get their cholesterol under control. That’s supposed to be a step that’s taken after exercise and diet don’t work, but that doesn’t seem to be the course that was followed in these cases. (And even when it is taken as the "last resort," there are just too many scary risks that come along with the prescription.)
Of course, it’s not like this news about almonds will change anything about writing out a prescription at the first sign of trouble. I don’t think the mainstream will ever get out of that habit. But it could help change the way individuals approach their health.
In this season of new year’s resolutions, I know I’m thinking about ways to take better care of myself naturally, and I’m sure you’re doing the same. Why not start by picking up a bag of almonds and help take care of your heart with every bite!
Ms. O’Brien has written for Nutrition & Healing, Healthier Talk and a variety of other natural and alternative health outlets. She believes in the power of natural medicine and her goal is to open people’s eyes to the benefits of alternative and integrative medicine.
Christine is passionate about helping people help themselves without having to turn to harsh drugs or invasive surgeries.
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