A handful of almonds for mindful eating and prioritizing family health

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A handful of almonds for mindful eating and prioritizing family health

A handful of almonds for mindful eating and prioritizing family health.

As people across the country gear up to celebrate the festive season, it is important now more than ever to put oneself in the habit of mindful eating, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Most of us tend to over-indulge during the festivities and be carried away with the revelry and lose sight of our health. This festive season, it is time to make some alterations to our daily habits and avoid munching on unhealthy foods. With an aim to educate consumers on the importance of mindful eating, Almond Board of California, today, hosted a session around ‘Prioritising mindful eating: the new mantra for holistic family health’. The discussion focused on the importance of eating healthy satiating foods to ensure holistic health for our families and us. The session featured well-known Celebrity Fitness Trainer, Sapna Vyas, as well as Integrative Nutritionist and Health Coach, Neha Ranglani, andwas moderated by RJ Megha.

With the fast-paced lifestyle we live in, we often see people binge eating sometimes due to work stress, sometimes due to the way consumption patterns have been since ages, and sometimes it is just habitual. Intake of calorie-dense foods like sweets and sugar-based foods is also a routine when it comes to certain delicacies or occasions. Hence, mindful eating becomes even more necessary as it aids in gaining control over one’s eating habits. Mindful eating helps in maintaining an in-moment awareness while consuming food. Foods such as almonds have been a part of the Indian traditions and food habits for thousands of years now, and their health benefits have been widely quoted in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha texts. However, a lesser-known fact of almonds is that a handful of almonds may have satiating properties that promote feelings of fullness, which may keep hunger at bay between meals[1]. Snacking on healthy foods like almonds not only keeps us from munching on junk foods but also ensures that our body gets nutrition, as almonds are a source of 15 nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, zinc, etc.

Speaking about the benefits of regular almond consumption, the panellists spoke about how almonds, which are a source of protein and are high in dietary fiber, can help in maintaining  blood sugar levels, may improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes and help lower the blood sugar impact of carbohydrate foods, which affects fasting insulin levels.[2] Nutrients like zinc, folate and iron, that are present in almonds and other foods, contribute to normal functioning of the immune system.  Focusing on the significance of healthy eating, the panellists discussed the multiple lifestyle disorders like weight management, type-2 diabetes and heart health, and that making minor alterations like adding a handful of almonds as part of one’s daily routine can  easily help in maintaining good health, and in staying fit consistently. Through the session, the panellists also urged families across the city to inculcate healthier eating habits and inspire other friends and extended family members to instil this change. During the discussion, both panellists also shared anecdotes from their personal lives, how they also consume almonds through festive almond dessert recipes, as well as suggestions for dietary and lifestyle adjustments that families can make towards a holistic health.

Integrative Nutritionist and Health Coach, Neha Ranglani, said, “Studies suggest that intervention techniques that enhance mindful self-awareness improve well-being, including anxiety and depression, eating disorders, food cravings, and weight loss.[3] A study conducted by the researchers at King’s College London found that almond snacking led to improved heart rate variability in response to mental stress. My top recommendation for mindful snacking is to include nutrient-rich foods like  almonds, a variety of fruits, and vegetables. Almonds are a source of nutrients such as protein, vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, zinc etc., and are known to provide energy through good fats, which makes them a healthy yet tasty treat.[4] Awareness of good food choices and snacking habits is key to leading a healthy lifestyle, especially now as we tend to eat unhealthy foods during the festive season. While it is indeed common to overindulge during festivities, leading a healthy lifestyle and ensuring a healthy regime is of the essence.”

Celebrity Fitness Trainer, Sapna Vyas said, “We live in a country that celebrates festivals with great zeal and pomp. Now more than ever, it is crucial for every family member – old or young – to take stock of their health amidst over-eating during festivities. We all know that regular exercise coupled with nutritious meals and mindful snacking is key to building a person’s health, but often don’t take it seriously. Research shows that consuming almonds may lower total and LDL cholesterol when included in a healthy diet and reduce levels of heart damaging inflammation. Therefore, almonds are a healthy snack option.[5] Start by dedicating 30 minutes – 1 hour for a form of exercise that you enjoy every day, but be sure to practice this regularly. Additionally, make sure to complement your workout routine with mindful snacking which may also aid in better weight management. Eat a handful of almonds everyday as they make for a healthy, tasty snack and are known to have satiating properties that promote feeling of fullness which can also help in keeping your food cravings under control.”[6]

Although habits are hard to break, modifying dietary habits and making corrective lifestyle adjustments is one of the best ways for families to ensure holistic  health in the long term. Besides feeling lighter and energetic during the festive season, a healthy lifestyle sustained over time will also help in reducing the risk of chronic and lifestyle diseases, which are on the rise in India.  Small dietary and lifestyle changes like incorporating nutritious foods such as a handful of almonds every day, can make a healthy difference to our lives.

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