Almonds have been enjoyed since the beginning of time. However, it is only recently that we started to realize that these little nuts are far more than just a delicious crunchy snack.
Almonds are packed with healthy nutrients, giving you a good dose of unsaturated fats, protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are components found in plant foods that give them their beautiful colour, aroma and flavour. These phytonutrients act as anti-oxidants that help to keep our body cells healthy.
The amazing nutrients in almonds
Almonds consist of 20 % protein, 20 % carbohydrate and 50 % fat. It also contains 267 mg calcium and 4.8 mg iron per 100 g portion. It is therefore a good option for those following a vegan diet, as protein, calcium and iron are nutrients that can lack in such a diet.
Almonds and Heart disease
One of the most exciting research findings is that it can contribute to reduce your risk for heart disease. Adding almonds to a healthy diet can lower your total and bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol levels. The phytonutrients that act as antioxidants, reduces the inflammation and fight against substances that damage the cells in the inner layer of your arteries.
Almonds and Diabetes
As part of a healthy diet, almonds can contribute to improved blood sugar levels, making it a great snack option, especially for people with diabetes. This happens as the mono-unsaturated fats in almonds helps the body cells to be more sensitive to insulin so that the sugars can go into the cells to make energy.
Almonds and Weight control
Almonds do have a high energy value of 2380 kJ per 100 g portion. As one single food item cannot contribute to weight gain, research has found including almonds as part of an energy-controlled diet cannot contribute to weight gain. However, it is advisable that you need to watch the frequency and quantity of consumption should you follow a weight loss plan.
SIX Easy ways to include almonds in your diet
- Add them to your breakfast cereal
- Sprinkle them over your salad to add an extra crunch
- Add them to your favourite soup, instead of croutons, as a much healthier option
- Crush them over your bowl of fruit and yogurt
- Replace the butter on your bread and crackers with Almond butter
- They add a magic taste to oat crunchies (see recipe on Instagram)
- Replace regular flour with almond flour in your baking
For more information on nutrition, a healthy lifestyle and personal meal plans and guidelines, contact Rhodene Oberholzer.
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Ruisinger, J.F., Gibson, C.A., Backes, J.M., Smith, B.K., Sullivan, D.K., Moriarty, P.M., Kris-Etherton, P. Statins and Almonds to Lower Lipoproteins (the STALL Study). J. Clin. Lipidol. 2015, 9, 58–64.
Hollis, J.; Mattes, R. Effect of Chronic Consumption of Almonds on Body Weight in Healthy Humans. Br. J. Nutr. 2007, 98, 651–656.
O’Neil, C., Nicklas, T. and Fulgoni III, V. (2016) Almond Consumption Is Associated with Better Nutrient Intake, Nutrient Adequacy, and Diet Quality in Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2010. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 7, 504-515. doi: 10.4236/fns.2016.77052
UDSA Food data base http://www.fdc.nal.udsa.gov