A handful of almonds for mindful eating and prioritizing family health
In 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 meals¹. 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 almonds Almond Board of California 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.
Renowned Indian television & film actress, Nisha Ganesh said, “I am known in my close circle to be a person who prefers consuming healthy foods. However, since I had Samaira, my focus has been on holistic fitness and a healthy lifestyle. I always make sure that I have an array of healthy snacks like almonds and seasonal fruits at disposal. Being a working mother doesn’t leave a lot of time to prioritize health or cook elaborate dishes, so I always carry a handful of almonds in a small box when I am out with Samaira, or on shoots. As almonds are known for their satiating properties, it prevents me from indulging in unwholesome or junk foods. Almonds are good for the entire family, from elders to young children, as they are a source of 15 nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, protein, etc.”Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, said, “It is important to practice mindful eating i.e. in-the-moment awareness of what one is consuming. 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. One can begin to practice mindful snacking by including 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”
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, 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 everyday, can make a healthy difference to our lives.19