Of all the things to love about almonds, this one should really get your heart pumping: almonds provide several key nutrients that can help support a healthy heart.
Almonds are good news for just about everyone, especially as cardiovascular disease holds its spot as the leading cause of death among men and women in the world...
- Almonds provide several key nutrients, including oleic acid1 (a “good” monounsaturated fat), the essential fatty acid linoleic acid2, and plant sterols/stanols3 which help maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels. Almonds are a natural source of thiamine, which contributes to the proper function of the heart4.
- Almonds are naturally sodium-free. Reducing the consumption of sodium contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure.
1) Replacing saturated fats in the diet with unsaturated fats contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. Oleic acid is an unsaturated fat. Given that almonds are high in unsaturated fat, almonds qualify for the aforementioned claim. Oleic acid claim: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:136:0001:0040:en:PD.
2) The beneficial effects of linoleic acid (LA) on blood cholesterol levels are attained with a daily intake of 10 g of LA. A handful of almonds (approximately 30 g) contains 3.6 g of LA. Almonds provide 12 g of LA per 100 g. Given that almonds provide more than 1.5 g of LA per 100 g and per 100 kcal, almonds qualify for the claim related to linoleic acid and the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. Linoleic acid claim: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:136:0001:0040:en:PD.
3) The beneficial effects of plant sterols/stanols on blood cholesterol levels are obtained with a daily intake of at least 0.8 g of plant sterols/stanols. A handful of almonds (approximately 30 g) contains 40 mg of beta-sitosterol. Almonds provide 132 mg of beta-sitosterol per 100 g. The conditions of use for the claim are not specified in the EU Register on nutrition and health claims. Almonds are assumed to qualify for the claim related to plant sterols/stanols and the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels, given that 132 mg per 100 g serving exceeds 15% of 800 mg per 100 g serving (i.e., 120 mg). Plant sterols/stanols claim: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:136:0001:0040:en:PD.
4) Commission Regulation EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health. Available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:136:0001:0040:en:PD.
The 6 grams of energising protein packed into every handful of almonds provides fuel for your body to help you tackle whatever the day throws at you.
Start Your Engines
- Protein is one of the three main macronutrients—fat and carbohydrates round out the trifecta. Protein provides energy, helping you power through that meeting marathon at work. Protein also contributes to the development and maintenance of muscle mass and assists in the maintenance of healthy bones, helping you power through that actual marathon (if that’s more your thing). Almonds are a source of lots of other nutrients that contribute to the normal energy-yielding metabolism, including calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, riboflavin, iron, niacin, phosphorus and thiamine.
- A handful of almonds provide 6 grams of protein, 3.7 grams of fibre and 9 grams of “good” monounsaturated fats to keep you feeling energised and delectably satisfied.
- If you like to mix things up, other almond forms such as almond butter and almond flour also contain protein.
- It’s pretty common knowledge that nuts can be a source of plant-based protein, but not all nuts are created equal. When compared gram for gram, almonds are the tree nut highest in protein*.
*Almonds are the tree nut highest in protein when compared with Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts.
Gram for gram, almonds are one of the most nutrient-rich tree nuts. Almonds are the tree nut highest in protein, fibre, vitamin E, calcium, riboflavin and niacin*. Plus they are loaded with antioxidant nutrients too.
- When it comes to nutrients, California Almonds offer natural goodness in every bite.
- Gram for gram, they’re the tree nut highest in protein, fibre, vitamin E, calcium, riboflavin, and niacin, making them one of the most nutrient-rich tree nuts1.
- A natural source of protein, almonds are high in monounsaturated fat-- the type of fat emphasised in the Mediterranean diet—and 9 essential nutrients*. Talk about a petite package packing a punch!
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2010. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl The red number indicates the highest value.
1Compared to Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts
*Almonds provide at least 30% of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for the following nutrients: vitamin E, riboflavin, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc
Almonds are a simple, nutritious snack to have ready to combat cravings for sugar-laden alternatives. They are a good fit for many popular diet plans. Almonds fit nicely into weight management plans because they are nutrient-rich, providing great nutrition content relative to calories.
- A handful of almonds is considered a good fit with many popular weight-loss plans. They offer key benefits to anyone trying to shed a few pounds. They contain 15 essential nutrients*, so when you reach for almonds between meals, you are getting the nutrients you need.
- In fact, almonds are high in fibre and monounsaturated fat in addition to 9 essential nutrients* including vitamin E and calcium. Almonds are also a natural source of protein, delivering 6.4g of protein per 30g serving.
- It’s easy to add almonds to your diet. Just snack on a handful in the car or add them to meals throughout the day.
*Almonds contain at least 15% of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for protein, vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and linoleic acid.
A new study2 published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed participants who consumed a 43-gram serving of dry-roasted, lightly salted almonds every day for 4 weeks, either as a snack or as part of a meal. At the end of the 4-week study, caloric intakes and body weights in participants who consumed almonds did not differ from those in participants who did not consume almonds, suggesting that subjects naturally compensated by eating less of other foods.
- The researchers also found that, during an 8-hour feeding study, there were significantly greater reductions in the daylong ratings of hunger and desire to eat in subjects who consumed almonds either as a snack or as part of a meal compared to those who did not eat almonds.
- Participants consuming almonds also experienced improvements in dietary intakes of monounsaturated (“good”) fat and vitamin E. This is a notable finding, particularly since vitamin E intakes were below the recommended level in several of the groups at the start of the study. These findings suggest that almonds make a great nutritional addition to any diet.
2 Tan, S-Y. and Mattes, RD. 2013. Appetitive, dietary and health effects of almonds consumed with meals or as snacks. Eur J Clin Nutr DOI#10:1038/ejcn.2014.184.
Immunity is definitely nothing to sneeze at and the almighty almond is up for the challenge. Almonds are high in copper and zinc and a source of folate and iron, all nutrients that support proper immune function.
All About Antioxidants
Do you know which type of vitamin E the human body uses most? It’s called alpha-tocopherol (AT) vitamin E and, lucky for you, almonds are one of the leading food sources of this important antioxidant. Alpha-tocopherol is the only form of vitamin E recognized to meet human requirements.
- Antioxidants found in almonds and other foods can help neutralise nasty free radicals, which can damage your cells, tissues and even your DNA.
A 30g handful of almonds provides 65% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E, which contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.
Cue the Calcium. Almonds’ nutrition is no one-trick pony. In fact, every crunch carries lots of important vitamins and minerals, including one that most people don’t even think of in nuts: calcium. Usually associated with dairy and dark leafy greens, calcium is necessary for the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth…
- When compared gram for gram, almonds are the nut highest in calcium*, boasting 81mg per 30g.
- Calcium is most commonly credited for its talents in bone health, but it’s also key in well-functioning muscles and nerves.
- Calcium is important at every age, so it’s a good thing there’s an almond option to suit every taste. From almond butter and flavoured almonds to almond flour for baking, almonds don’t leave anyone out of the calcium-getting game.
*Compared with Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts.
It’s the million-dollar question: “Are almonds gluten free?” And the priceless answer is: yes, almonds--like other nuts--are naturally gluten-free. Courtesy of foods like almonds, gluten-free doesn’t have to mean flavour-free or fun-free.
Getting More Out of Gluten-Free
Almonds are endlessly versatile, convenient and always enjoyable, so for those living with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, they’re pantry cupboard essential you don’t want to live without.
- Add creamy perfection to your morning cup o’ joe or your favourite gluten-free cereal with a splash of almond milk.
- Take back baked goods by using almond flour as a substitute for regular flour.
- Get the gluten-free festivities pumping by serving whole, natural nuts like almonds as a crowd-pleasing, gluten-free party snack
- Give your side dish an extra kick of crunch by sprinkling sliced or slivered almonds on top. Flavoured varieties can spice up or sweeten the deal.
- Use almond flour or crushed almonds instead of breadcrumbs as a coating on fish or poultry. Is it dinnertime yet?
- Snack on a handful of nuts like whole almonds anywhere, anytime. No gluten equals no worries.
- Give traditional crackers a run for their money and crunch into almond crackers (homemade or store-bought) as a snack. Your cheese platter won’t mind them one bit either.
- Use almond butter to thicken up smoothies or slather it on gluten-free bread at lunch. You can lick your fingers too—just make sure no one’s looking.
- Swap crispy croutons with crunchy almonds for a more satisfying (and likely, more sensational) salad.
- Give chocolate desserts an added crunch without any added gluten by making almonds part of the mix.
Gluten Freedom with Almond Flour
Start those ovens, everyone (and we do mean everyone) because almond flour has the power to meet all your gluten-free baking needs while also adding top-shelf nutrition and flavour to all your favourite recipes.
Almond Flour Fast Facts
- Unlike many GF flours that contain several different inclusions, almond flour has just one ingredient (surprise, it’s almonds) with a slightly sweet, buttery taste ideal for sweet or savoury recipes.
- Far from being gritty or dry, almond flour has a smooth texture that’s picture-perfect for baking. Almond meal, on the other hand, has a slightly coarser texture and is made from whole almonds ground with the skin on. Most baking recipes call for almond flour, so keep tabs on that if you’re substituting.
- A one-cup serving of almond flour bakes protein (23g), fibre (12g), antioxidants and calcium (235mg) into every creation.
- Almond flour should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer, where it will keep for several months. Also keep it clear of direct sunlight and moisture.
- Look to stock your stash of this pantry must-have wherever gluten-free products are sold. Note: if you can’t find it, it may be in the refrigerator or freezer section or stores, or you can even make your own by grinding whole almonds in a food processor.
*Almonds, like other nuts, are naturally gluten-free. However, there is the potential risk of cross-contamination with gluten-containing ingredients during processing. Flavored almonds may also have added gluten-containing ingredients. If you are on a gluten-free diet, please read all labels carefully to ensure that the product is free of gluten