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We all have probably heard the advice that eating almonds after soaking them in water overnight is good for health. Commonly associated with increasing memory power, this saying has never really been explained. Well here's why eating soaked almonds is actually great for your entire body.
Why you should eat soaked almonds
Almonds are known for their immense health benefits, and one of the most well-known one is the fact that they help your memory. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, zinc, calcium, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, almonds can do a world of good when it comes to your health. But in order to absorb all those nutrients, the almonds you eat, should be soaked in water overnight. This is because their brown, rough skin contains a certain enzyme inhibitor that is meant to protect the seed until it has the perfect conditions for germination. Our body cannot breakdown this enzyme-inhabiting compound, not only making the digestion of almonds difficult, but also restricting your body from absorbing its nutrients. Apart from that, soaking almonds also softens the seed, making it easy to chew and therefore digest.
The health benefits of eating soaked almonds:
Helps in the proper growth of an unborn child's body
Soaked almonds are a great source of folic acid an essential vitamin for the proper development of the fetus's brain and neurological system. Moreover, when the almonds are soaked they become much easier to digest, helping a pregnant woman's already sluggish digestive system absorb all its essential nutrients.
Keeps your digestion in check
Soaked almonds are known to help greatly in improving a person's digestive system. In a study published in the Journal of Food Science(1), it was found that eating raw, soaked almonds helped empty the stomach faster and also made digesting proteins easier. Apart from that, the fact that the almonds are soaked deactivates the enzyme inhibiting compound (found on the skin of the almond) and initiates the release of an essential lipase, that helps in the proper breakdown of fat; therefore improving digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Controls high blood pressure
These nuts are great for your blood pressure too. According to a study published in the journal Free Radical Research,(3) scientists found that eating an almond rich diet helped increases the amount of alpha tocopherol in the blood a compound that is key in maintaining one's blood pressure. The study also found that eating almonds on a regular basis brought down a person's blood pressure significantly (indicating a therapeutic effect on hypertension) and was especially effective in men between the age of 30 and 70.
Keeps your heart healthy
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition(4), almonds are very potent antioxidant agents that prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. This property of the nut helps protect the heart and entire cardiovascular system from damage and the ill-effects of oxidative stress. If you suffer from any form of heart disease, try including almonds in your diet to stay healthy.
Maintains a check on the levels of 'bad' cholesterol
High cholesterol is quickly becoming one of the most common ailments in India. High cholesterol is one factor that sets you up for a variety of diseases including heart disease and blockages in the arteries of the heart. Here's where almonds can help. Almonds are great in lowering the levels of 'bad' cholesterol and help in increasing the amount of 'good' cholesterol in the body.(5)
Can help you lose weight
On a diet? Eat soaked almonds regularly to help hasten the process of weight loss. According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity Related Metabolic Disorders (6) adding almonds into one's low calorie diet was extremely beneficial in weight loss. Not only did the nut help improve digestion and reduce cravings, but it also beat symptoms of metabolic syndrome -- a major factor in obesity.
(1) Bornhorst GM, Roman MJ, Rutherfurd SM, Burri BJ, Moughan PJ, Singh RP. Gastric digestion of raw and roasted almonds in vivo. J Food Sci. 2013 Nov;78(11):H1807-13. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12274. Epub 2013 Oct 8. PubMed PMID: 24245891.
(2) Richmond K, Williams S, Mann J, Brown R, Chisholm A. Markers of cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes are improved by the daily consumption of almonds or sunflower kernels: a feeding study. ISRN Nutr. 2012 Dec 19;2013:626414. doi: 10.5402/2013/626414. eCollection 2013. PubMed PMID:24959542; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4045277.
(3) Choudhury K, Clark J, Griffiths HR. An almond-enriched diet increases plasma -tocopherol and improves vascular function but does not affect oxidative stress markers or lipid levels. Free Radic Res. 2014 May;48(5):599-606. doi:10.3109/10715762.2014.896458. Epub 2014 Mar 20. PubMed PMID: 24555818.
(4) Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, Josse AR, Nguyen TH, Faulkner DA, Lapsley KG, Blumberg J. Almonds reduce biomarkers of lipid peroxidation in older hyperlipidemic subjects. J Nutr. 2008 May;138(5):908-13. PubMed PMID: 18424600.
(5) Spiller GA, Jenkins DA, Bosello O, Gates JE, Cragen LN, Bruce B. Nuts and plasma lipids: an almond-based diet lowers LDL-C while preserving HDL-C. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Jun;17(3):285-90. PubMed PMID: 9627917.
(6) Wien MA, Sabat JM, Ikl DN, Cole SE, Kandeel FR. Almonds vs complex carbohydrates in a weight reduction program. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Nov;27(11):1365-72. Erratum in: Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Mar;28(3):459. PubMed PMID: 1457434.
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