Posted on Sun, 4 Apr 10
A small handful of almonds each day is a great way to enrich your diet with several important nutrients and may reduce your risk of heart disease risk by a remarkable 30%.
Nature’s nutritional supplement
Simply eating almonds daily has been found to improve nutrient intakes and diet quality. Over a six month period advice to include almonds each day resulted in greater intakes of healthy fats, fibre, vegetable protein, vitamin e, copper and magnesium while intakes of unhealthy trans fatty acids, animal protein, sodium, cholesterol and sugars significantly decreased (1). Almond skins are also rich in antioxidants, which may in part explain their association with a low risk of heart disease (2).
Almonds for the heart
Almonds have been found to lower cholesterol, however this may only be part of the explanation for their health benefit. One of the mechanisms for the development of heart disease is oxidative stress, which damages your arteries and over time causes plaque to develop which eventually narrows your arteries restricting blood flow and ultimately causing a heart attack or stroke. Within as little as a month, daily consumption of almonds has been found to have a significant antioxidant effect (3).
Eating almonds mindfully
Despite their high energy content almonds can be enjoyed regularly without risk of weight gain and, if eaten as part of a healthy eating plan for weight loss, may even improve weight reduction (4,5). Interestingly it has been found that people who chew almonds 25-40 times are more likely to feel satisfied and have reduced appetite (6). A small handful of almonds each day - eaten slowly and mindfully - is a great way to enrich your diet and reduce your disease risk.
1. Jaceldo-Siegl K, Sabaté J, Rajaram S, Fraser GE. Long-term almond supplementation without advice on food replacement induces favourable nutrient modifications to the habitual diets of free-living individuals. Br J Nutr. 2004 Sep;92(3):533-40.
2. Milbury PE, Chen CY, Dolnikowski GG, Blumberg JB. Determination of flavonoids and phenolics and their distribution in almonds. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Jul 12;54(14):5027-33.
3. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, Josse AR, Nguyen TH, Faulkner DA, Lapsley KG, Blumberg J. Almonds reduce biomarkers of lipid peroxidation in older hyperlipidemic subjects. J Nutr. 2008 May;138(5):908-13.
4. Hollis J, Mattes R. Effect of chronic consumption of almonds on body weight in healthy humans. Br J Nutr. 2007 Sep;98(3):651-6. Epub 2007 Apr 20.
5. Wien MA, Sabaté JM, Iklé DN, et al. Almonds vs complex carbohydrates in a weight reduction program. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Nov;27(11):1365-72.