12 PowerFoods for Christmas – #1 Almonds and other Nuts

It’s not quite 12 days before Christmas, but I’m starting a 12-part post on powerfoods that will help keep me healthy, reduce pain, improve recovery and rehabilitation, and help improve fat loss. Today marks the real first day I’m tracking my food, and it happens to be exactly four weeks prior to first days of Sensei Kisaka’s 2011 Karate Winter Special Training. The intention is for me to use these foods more and more in my everyday diet. I figure I will remember them better by focusing on a different one each day.

Credit goes to Performance Spine and Sports Medicine for the core of this information. They handed out a packet containing this data when I attended a seminar at Gold’s Gym Lawrenceville a few weeks ago: “You Can’t Do Squat Without Your Knees.” The talk was given by Dr. Jimenez.

Eat almonds and other nuts with the skins intact.

These almonds and nuts are superpowers in building muscle and fighting food cravings. This will be a big help for me now that I’m concentrating more focus on my eating habits.

The “secret weapons” in almonds and nuts are: proteinmono-unsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate (in peanuts), fiber, magnesium, and phosphorus.

They fight against obesity, heart disease, muscle loss and cancer.

Close cousins of almonds and nuts which are also helpful include: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, omega-3 rich flaxseed, and avocados. I don’t think I’ve actually eaten avocados before.

Avoid these evil imposters: salted or smoked nuts. Higher levels of sodium in these nuts spike blood pressure.

Worried about fats in nuts? There are good fats and bad fats. My favorite treat lately has been peanut butter cookies. These soft, tasty cookies are made by Dow Jones’ cafeteria and they are very good. They literally bake peanut butter cups into the cookie. Unfortunately, the small amount of unsaturated fats in the peanut butter in those cookies doesn’t make up for all the evils they bring, like all the saturated fat in the cookie itseld 🙁  Nuts on the other hand are high in protein and mono-unsaturated fats. And almonds are the king of this category. I can eat as much as two handfuls a day.

If I eat two ounces of almonds (about 24 of them) each day, my hunger will be suppressed. Apparently this appetite suppressant works even better if I wash down those almonds with a tall glass of water.

Maybe I’ll try this alternative to cookies sometime this week: spray a handful of almonds with nonstick cooking spray and bake them at 400 degrees for five to ten minutes. Once done, sprinkle them with either brown sugar and cinnamon mix, or cayenne pepper and thyme.

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