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Almonds voted as the top snacking choice for healthy diet
Saturday, 16 September, 2023, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
Over the past few decades, there has been a significant increase in lifestyle-related health issues. A large part of this problem is due to changes in our lifestyles, such as decreased physical activity, unhealthy diets, increased stress, and inadequate sleep.

These changes have resulted in an increase in chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and certain types of cancer. While modern medical advancements have enabled us to better manage and treat these conditions, prevention through lifestyle changes remains an effective way to reduce the burden of lifestyle-related diseases. It is important to prioritize healthy habits and make positive lifestyle changes to improve our overall health and wellbeing.

In a recent YouGov survey conducted by the Almond Board of California, it was found that most urban cities in India reported a rise in lifestyle-related health issues such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease. While the survey highlighted the growing health concerns in India, it also revealed some of the key strategies followed by them to fight these health problems like eating a well-balanced diet, exercising, and eating healthy snacks.

A noteworthy mention in the healthy snacking category was almonds. In the survey, almonds were found to be most preferred healthy snacking option owing to its strong nutritional profile, especially high presence of protein and fiber, and its various health benefits. A fair section of the respondents associated almonds with being the good for heart health, Type 2 diabetes, PCOS amongst other health conditions.

Intensity of consuming snacks was found to be stronger in the North (41%), West (42%) and East (42%), in comparison to the South (36%), where fewer people say that they consume snacks multiple times a day. When it comes to healthy snacks, (25%) urban Indians spontaneously recall nuts/dry fruits. This awareness was significantly higher in the South (32%) vs cities like Delhi NCR, Lucknow, Ludhiana (21%), West (18%) and East (20%). West and South are more likely to demand for a snack that has no artificial preservatives. When focusing on eating patterns, it was noted that more than half of the respondents consume Almonds every day; this was seen to be higher among those from the North and West. Additionally, more respondents from West (82%) consume almonds regularly as compared to cities like Delhi NCR, Lucknow, Ludhiana (76%) and East (74%).

The quantitative survey was done amongst a sample size of over 4000 respondents in cities including Delhi, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Indore, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kochi, and Chennai.

Ritika Samaddar, regional head - dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi, said, “Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for overall health and wellbeing and this survey is a testament to that fact. A balanced diet provides essential nutrients and energy that our bodies need to function properly, including carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. One food that has gained attention for its health benefits is almonds. Almonds are a nutrient-dense food that provides an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. They are also a healthy source of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Regular consumption of almonds has been associated with various health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, improving blood sugar control, and promoting weight management.”

Sheela Krishnaswamy, nutrition and wellness consultant, said, “The survey is insightful and rightly finds almonds as the top nut choice. Given the nutrient profile of almonds, it is not surprising that these nuts have been voted as one of the most preferred healthy snacks of Indians. Almonds are a natural source of nutrients and are rich in protein, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. They also contain essential fats that are proven to be good for the heart. In fact, research suggests that daily almond consumption as a part of a balanced diet plan, can help in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels [1] as well as in managing weight. In addition to their health benefits, almonds are versatile and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, from a quick and easy snack to a crunchy topping for a salad or yogurt. Incorporating almonds into a healthy diet is a simple yet effective way to support overall health and wellbeing.”

Dr Rohini Patil, nutritionist, said, “Awareness around PCOS, type-2 diabetes and hypertension have increased in the recent past as people are taking precautionary measures to curb the onset of such health problems. It is good to see that almonds have emerged as the top nut choice in Indian diets as per the survey. Almonds are extremely nutritious and are a plant-based source of protein and calcium. They make for a perfect dietary choice for vegans and people with lactose intolerance. In addition to being rich in protein and calcium, almonds are a good source of dietary fiber that help in blood sugar control and weight management. They are also high in vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant to support pulmonary immune function. A convenient and effective strategy to boost overall health and wellbeing is by integrating almonds into a wholesome diet.”
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