Celebrate the joy of Christmas with a handful of almonds

It is that time of the year again when the mercury dips a little lower and evenings get longer. The air, although cold, is filled with the warmth of love and laughter. It is the time for Christmas where the days are merry. While Christmas is celebrated differently in various parts of the world, the essence and spirit is universal. The festival is all about coming together of communities and appreciating and merry making of one another. Houses are decorated with glittering lights and Christmas trees; loved ones are showered with gifts and treats.

Christmas is also the time when people indulge in scrumptious and appetizing meals with family and friends along with a variety of sweets. However, the multiple feasts and parties, while tantalizing to the taste buds, are not so great for the family’s health. But it is entirely possible to celebrate a healthier Christmas by simply adding nutritious foods to the mix. Almonds are a perfect example of one such food – they satiate our hunger pangs and are good for our health. Additionally, they are known to be the gift of good health, as they provide a variety of benefits across heart health, diabetes and weight management. Almonds are also a very versatile gift as they can be consumed in a variety of ways: plain, roasted or flavored and at any time of the day, with or between meals. So, make sure to treat your guests and gift your family and friends’ almonds, this Christmas.

Speaking of balancing the healthy with the not-so-healthy foods, Leading Bollywood Actress, Soha Ali Khan said, “Christmas for me is all about spending time with the family, and sharing gifts. This year, I plan on sharing thoughtful gifts that will add to my friends and family’s health, and almonds are on the top of the list. The advantages of doing this are twofold. One, they serve as a delicious snack, and two, they are known to be a source of several nutrients required for a healthy life, which makes them an apt gift.”

According to the well-known Fitness and Celebrity Instructor, Yasmin Karachiwala, “Christmas time for many means a week of overindulgence in baked goods and merrymaking which in turn can often lead to bloating and weight gain. Break this cycle by changing the approach to the festivities and gifting healthy foods like almonds instead, which can be used in dishes prepared during the parties or eaten as a snack anytime. Almonds are known to have satiating properties, and provide energy. Added to that, global and Indian research also suggests that daily consumption of almonds supports heart health and weight management and may have benefits for those with type 2 diabetes, which makes them a great gift to share with loved ones.”

Ritika Samaddar, the Regional Head-Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi mentioned, “Christmas is a good time to reflect on the year gone by and begin to make resolutions for the next year. One of the most important lessons a lot of us have learned this year is the need to take care of our family and our own immunity. Be sure to imbibe this learning into your gifting plan. Instead of sharing calorie laden sweets or chocolates with loved ones, opt for almonds as they are known to be a source of immunity supporting nutrients like zinc, folate, vitamin E and copper .”

Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant said, “Through Christmas time and year end, a lot of us tend to freely consume sweets which often are gifted by loved ones. A good strategy is to avoid this to change our own attitude towards gifting. This year, gift healthy foods like almonds instead as they make for a nutritious and beneficial choice. In fact, research suggests snacking on 42 grams of almonds everyday can help in reducing central adiposity (belly fat) and well-established heart disease risk factors .”

Integrative Nutritionist and Health Coach, Neha Ranglani mentioned, “Come Christmas time, everyone is looking for gifts to share with loved one’s – especially younger people who love to celebrate the occasion. But sharing chocolates or cakes, isn’t the best for their health. Therefore, instead of gifting unhealthy foods, choose to share almonds. Almonds make for a healthy snack and can be consumed anytime when hunger strikes. Additionally, snacking on almonds can also be a good way to improve glucose metabolism in adolescents and young adults with prediabetes. In fact, a recent study suggests that snacking on almonds can be a beneficial food-based strategy to help improve blood sugar levels, therefore helping prevent or delay the development of diabetes in younger people .

So, make this Christmas merrier by adding some crunchy and nutritious almonds to the family’s daily diet!