Almonds are a versatile nut. Available whole, blanched, slivered, flaked and ground, they’re a useful ingredient adding texture and taste to meals.
Nutritionists love almonds because they have five great health benefits:
1) Almonds are nutritious and good for you
- Almonds are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals.
- Almonds are a rich source of healthy fats – almonds contain healthy unsaturated fats, predominantly monounsaturated fat (66% of total fat), plus have a low proportion of saturated fat (7% of total fat).
- Like all other plant foods, they are also cholesterol free.
- Almonds are an excellent source of natural vitamin E. A 30g serve of almonds provides over 70% of the RDI of Vitamin E, which can help maintain a healthy heart.
2) Almonds are good for your heart
- According to a report published in the Journal Of The American College of Nutrition, eating almonds can help tackle cardiovascular disease.
- A combination of the healthy fats, antioxidants, fibre, plant sterol and arginine content of almonds and their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cholesterol reducing effects may explain why almonds promote heart health.
- Observational studies suggest that even relatively small amounts of nuts (33-35g) consumed four times a week can reduce the relative risk of coronary heart disease by 33%.
3) Almonds improve your cholesterol
- Almonds lower total and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels. One study found that a 73g serve of almonds each day reduced LDL cholesterol by almost 10% while 37g, or around a handful, reduced LDL by around 5%.
- The consumption of almonds as part of a vegetarian diet which was also low in saturated fat, and high in plant sterols, soy protein and soluble fibre, was found to reduce LDL cholesterol by a third.
4) Almonds can be helpful with managing and preventing Type 2 Diabetes
- Diabetes currently affects an estimated 1.5 million Australians with about 275 adults developing diabetes every day.
- According to a recent study, eating almonds can help prevent diabetes.
- Replacing carbohydrates with healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), both found in almonds, has been recognised as a possible strategy in the management of diabetes control. In particular, this assists with glycemic control and reducing LDL cholesterol, and is also helpful in terms of prevention of this disease.
5) Almonds can be helpful with weight management
- Almonds are both nutrient rich and energy dense. Despite this, a healthy handful of almonds eaten regularly does not lead to significant changes in body weight.
What’s in 30 grams of almonds?
- 758kj (the energy of 2 pieces of fruit)
- 6 grams of protein (the protein of one egg)
- 15 grams of healthy monounsaturated oil (like extra-virgin olive oil)
- 1 gram of saturated fat
- 2.6 grams of fibre (2 slices of mixed grain bread)
- 71 mg of calcium (60 ml of milk)