19 December 2023
The Season of cakes, carols, and celebrations is here! With Christmas just around the corner, many of us are indulging in the joy of baking sweet treats. While these treats can certainly lift our spirits and create a festive atmosphere, it’s essential to understand that overindulgence can potentially impact our health. This concern is relevant considering the rising cases of diabetes and prediabetes in India. A study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation estimated that India has around 101 million people living with diabetes and another 136 million people in pre-diabetes stage.
With all the tasty cakes and chocolates around this festive season, it’s time to be mindful about our health and wellbeing and make wise eating choices. Here is where almonds play a vital role, especially if we are looking to incorporate a healthy lifestyle and cut back on sugary foods. Almonds are a powerhouse of goodness and are a source of 15 nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, zinc, protein, among others, that are vital for our body. Regularly adding these nutritious nuts to our daily well-balanced diet can help keep blood sugar levels in check and help to maintain heart health. In addition to their health benefits, almonds enhance the deliciousness of our treats with an extra crunch and nutty flavor.
Almonds are a convenient travel snack that can be carried and consumed while on-the-go. They can also be used as a garnish on our food and desserts. Furthermore, snacking on almonds can effectively curb hunger, potentially aiding in weight loss by facilitating reduced calorie consumption. This Christmas, let’s savor our favorite indulgences with a touch of goodness from almonds, making our celebrations delectable and health-conscious!
Commenting on how Christmas is celebrated with health in mind, leading Bollywood actress and celebrity Soha Ali Khan mentioned, “I am a fitness enthusiast all year round, but like anyone else, I love indulging in sweets, cakes, and my favorite foods this time of the year, but not at the expense of my or my family’s health. When baking cakes, I replace refined sugar with jaggery, and to add that extra healthy twist, almonds are my first choice. The good thing is, adding almonds to the diet can help reduce the blood sugar impact of carbohydrate foods they are consumed with, affecting fasting insulin levels. Additionally, a daily serving of almonds (30 grams/23 almonds) may help improve both short-term and long-term markers of blood sugar control in those with uncomplicated type 2 diabetes. Therefore, I make sure to incorporate almonds, along with a few other healthy alternatives, into my daily diet during the festive season or otherwise.”
Fitness and Celebrity instructor, Yasmin Karachiwalabelieves,“One should enjoy the festive season along with their favorite sweets and foods but do so in moderation. These indulgences should also be complemented with some form of exercise. It’s okay to not engage in rigorous workouts during the festive/holiday period but incorporating light exercises like yoga or brisk walking is beneficial. We should also be mindful of what we eat. While it’s common to indulge in not-so-healthy diets during festivities, one must be mindful of adding healthy elements like almonds to their diet. This ensures that you can relish great food during the festive season without compromising too much on your health. It’s always good to start your day with a handful of almonds. You can also make your Christmas cake a bit healthier by garnishing it with almonds andby replacing sugar with healthy alternatives. Overall, enjoy the festivities but be mindful of your health.”
Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head – Dietetics, Max Healthcare, Delhisaid, “The festive season is a time when people often lose control of their diet, regardless of the health issuesthey may be facing. However, one should enjoy the festive time but not at the expense of their health.Adding items like almonds to the food we eat contributes to overall health without compromising the festive mood and taste buds too much. Almonds are versatile and can be eaten in their raw form or added to favorite desserts as an ingredient or for garnishing. These tiny nuts are a source of 15 nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, zinc, and so on. Protein is known for contributing to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. Almonds are also rich in Vitamin B2, magnesium, and phosphorus, nutrients recognized for their role in releasing energy from food.”
Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Sheela Krishnaswamyemphasized,“The importance of having a balanced meal even during festive times is crucial. The festive season, stretching from Navaratri to Christmas for over 2 months, can pose challenges for those with pre-existing health conditions. While it’s alright to enjoy favorite festival foods, moderation is the key, especially for those already dealing with health issues. To make festive eating healthier, consider adding nutritious options like almonds. These tiny powerhouses are packed with 15 essential nutrients and can benefit skin, diabetes management, and heart health. A handful of almonds can also make you feel full, helping to manage weight during the indulgence in festive foods. So, enjoy your favorite cuisine this festive season and don’t forget to include almonds in your diet.”
Integrative Nutritionist and Health Coach,Rohini Patil shared, “Christmas is a special time for my whole family to come together and celebrate. During this festive season, I enjoy baking cupcakes and cakes while keeping health in mind. Instead of using sugar and refined flour, I opt for healthier alternatives, making my treats both delicious and nutritious. To enhance the flavor, I always include almonds for that extra crunch. Beyond adding a delightful taste, almonds offer numerous health benefits, including weight management, diabetes control, and promoting heart health. These nuts are a source of 15 essential nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, and zinc. Moreover, daily consumption of almonds may even contribute to reducing wrinkle severity in post-menopausal women. So, this Christmas, indulge in tasty and health-conscious treats.”
Renowned Kannada actress, Pranitha Subhash said,“When I reminisce about Christmas, all I can recall is my 10-year-old self, sitting beside a bonfire, delighting in my favorite cartoon show, and savoring some delectable almond muffins. The delightful mix of crunchiness and softness in those muffins is still vivid in my memories. Almonds have consistently been my preferred snack—their crunchy texture combined with nutritional benefits makes them the perfect choice. Furthermore, eating almonds is advantageous because they offer essential nutrients such as protein and healthy fats.”
Renowned Indian film &television actress,Vani Bhojansaid,“Christmas is one of my favorite seasons of the year. As an actor, I maintain a diet throughout the year, but during this time, I allow myself to enjoy sweets and cakes that I like, of course, in moderation. However, I make sure to choose foods that won’t significantly impact my health. Most often, I try to include nutritious foods in my diet to satisfy my cravings. This is where I rely on almonds a lot. For instance, along with cakes, I often opt for a handful of almonds during the winter/festive season. This not only fulfills my craving but also ensures that my body gets some of the nutrition it requires. Almonds are a source of 15 nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, zinc, good fats, which not only provide energy but also contribute to overall health. These nuts are also rich in Vitamin B2, magnesium, and phosphorus, nutrients known for their role in energy release from food.”
Almonds from California are a natural, wholesome and quality food. The Almond Board of California promotes almonds through its research-based approach to all aspects of marketing, farming and production on behalf of the more than 7,600 almond growers and processors in California, many of which are multi-generational family operations. Established in 1950 and based in Modesto, California, the Almond Board of California is a non-profit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit www.almonds.in.