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Celebrate a healthy and mindful harvest festival with almonds!


INDIA, 09 January 2023: Harvest festival is celebrated across the globe and occurs around the main harvest period of different regions. India, with its diversity, celebrates this festival in various ways. However, the essence of it remains the same. It is called Maghi and is preceded by Lohri in North India, Magh Bihu in North-east, Uttarayan in the West, Pongal in the South and Makar Sankranti in the South and East. Celebrating this festival is a way of thanking for the successful harvests and feasting with one’s family and friends, with foods that are drawn from the crops.

During these occasions, as tradition dictates, we tend to indulge in a lot of sweets and savories. However, it is possible to modify them a little and make these celebrations a healthier one. For instance, instead of gifting a box of sweets to your friends and family, you can share a box of assorted almonds. Moreover, almonds are a “gift of good health” which can make for a healthy gifting substitute for these occasions. Almonds are known to be a source of  nutrients like magnesium, copper and dietary fiber, and are rich in proteins along with immunity-enhancing antioxidant vitamin E. Almonds are also high in unsaturated fats which are good for one’s health. Research supports multiple benefits of eating almonds, including heart health, type 2 diabetes management and enhancing satiety.

According to well-known Fitness Expert and Celebrity Master Instructor, Yasmin Karachiwala,” Festivities are a time for feasting and celebrations, and it is natural to indulge in them. My mantra in life is to balance things, which is why I enjoy these festivities fully but ensure to add a healthy twist to them. I would suggest the same for you given that health is a precious thing. So, while exchanging gifts with your loved ones, I would recommend you swap the calorie-laden sweet boxes with a healthy substitute like almonds. These healthy nuts are also known to be a gift of good health and are a perfect gifting option for such occasions. Including almonds as a part of your daily diet can go a long way in ensuring good health and may keep several health concerns at bay. Almonds also contain satiating properties which may also help you to manage your weight!”

Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant said, “Festivals are a great time to bond with your loved ones and express feelings of love, affection and care, but they are also a time when we throw caution to the wind and overindulge in festive foods. To counter this, we can make mindful changes to the usual celebrations by substituting the traditional sweets and savories with a healthier option. One such option is almonds. Almonds are easily adaptable in many traditional Indian recipes and are also a good choice for snacking between meals. The best part about almonds is that they are easy and quick to flavour and go with just about any masala/spices making them a tasty and yet healthy addition to your festival food. Research suggests that almonds can help lower the blood sugar impact of carbohydrate foods that they are eaten with, which affects fasting insulin levels1. Eating almonds as part of a healthy diet has also been shown to help lower total and LDL cholesterol and reduce levels of heart damaging inflammation2.

Talking about the various benefits of almonds, Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head – Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi said, During Sankranti, a lot of us give way to our temptations, and tend to indulge in sweets and other deep fried snacks. A good way to control this, is by switching to gifting healthier items like dried fruits or nuts like almonds, which also make for good snacking. Replacing ultra-processed snacks, with dry, roasted or salted variants of almonds will not only help in keeping you satiated through the festivities, but also aid in your overall health. Research also suggests that regular consumption of almonds may reduce harmful LDL cholesterol levels and help maintain protective HDL cholesterol when included in a healthy diet.3 It may also help reduce levels of heart damaging inflammation for individuals with type-2 diabetes4.”

Integrative Nutritionist and Health Coach, Neha Ranglani mentioned,”While it is natural to indulge in some traditional delicacies during festivals, it is always wise to know when to draw a line. Sweets and savories, although gratifying in the short-term, have a far-reaching negative impact on our health in the long term. This makes it imperative to eat as healthily as possible. This harvest festival, I would urge you to start your new year right by making some mindful changes to the traditional snacking. It can be simply substituting the traditional sweets with a handful of almonds. Almonds are a healthy addition to your diet as they have a host of essential nutrients such as vitamin e, iron, magnesium, zinc among others. Research suggests that consuming almonds daily may help control the progression of conditions such as pre-diabetes, and keep your heart healthy5.”

Renowned Kannada actress, Pranitha Subhash said, “Sankranti is a time when we celebrate by cooking some delicious traditional delicacies at our home and exchange gifts with our friends and family. However, keeping our health intact is something I am very cautious about. Hence, I try to incorporate as many healthy ingredients in our festival foods, as possible. One such example is almonds. They are easy and quick to flavor and go with just about any Indian masala/spices. Almonds are also a source of essential nutrients like vitamin E, iron, magnesium, zinc etc. I also make sure to pack a box of almonds along with the gifts as almonds are known to be auspicious and a gift of good health.”

Renowned Indian television & film actress, Nisha Ganesh said, “Pongal is celebrated at our home as a part of our family tradition. And just like all festivals, we exchange gifts with our friends and family during this occasion. However, I try to do it a little differently and in the healthiest way possible. This is why I make sure to add a box of almonds in the kitty. Almonds are a source of several essential nutrients such as vitamin E, iron, zinc among others, which help in immunity building and as a result keep us healthy. I would recommend you to do the same and make sure to add a handful of almonds in your daily diet.

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2 Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, Parker TL, Connelly PW, Qian W, Haight JS, Faulkner D, Vidgen E, Lapsley KG, Spiller GA. Dose response of almonds on coronary heart disease risk factors: blood lipids, oxidized low-density lipoproteins, lipoprotein(a), homocysteine, and pulmonary nitric oxide: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial. Circulation. 2002; 106(11): 1327-32.


3 Kalita S, Khandewal S, Madan J, Pandya H, Sesikeran B, Krishnaswamy K. Almonds and Cardiovascular Health: A Review. Nutrients. 2018; 10:468. Doi:10.3390/nu10040468.

Musa-Veloso K, Paulionis L, Poon T, Lee HL. The effects of almond consumption on fasting blood lipid levels: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.  Journal of Nutritional Science 2016; 5(e34):1-15.


4 Gulati S, Misra A, Pandey RM. Effect of almond supplementation on glycemia and cardiovascular risk factors in Asian Indians in North India with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A 24-week study. Journal of Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders.2017:15(2):98-105.

Sweazea KL, Johnston CS, Ricklefs KD, Petersen CN. Almond supplementation in the absence of dietary advice significantly reduces C-reactive protein in subjects with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Functional Foods 2014: 252-259.

Liu, J.-F., Y.-H. Liu, C.-M. Chen, W.-H. Chang, C.-Y. O. Chen. 2012. The effect of almonds on inflammation and oxidative stress in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized crossover feeding trial. European Journal of Nutrition 2013; 52(3): 927-35.


4 Madan J et al.  Effect of Almond Consumption on Metabolic Risk Factors - Glucose Metabolism, Hyperinsulinemia, Selected Markers of Inflammation: A Randomised Controlled Trial in Adolescents and Young Adults in Mumbai City Frontiers in Nutrition

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Topics: Harvest