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Almonds – Crazy Little Nut

I’m a nut for almonds! They satisfy my salty and crunchy cravings. Sly little devils –  including almonds in your diet often promotes the exclusion of less nutritious snacks, thereby improving your overall diet. The mighty almond promotes weight loss, lower cholesterol, cancer prevention, and possible Alzheimer’s prevention as well. There are numerous health benefitting nutrients in almonds, but three of the biggest are:

vitamin E

essential fatty acids

dietary fiber

What makes vitamin E so health beneficial is that it is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E blocks the formation of carcinogenic compounds. Additionally, researchers at Tufts University found that there are more than 20 antioxidant flavonoids located in the skins of almonds work in tandem with vitamin E to reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, a one-ounce service of almonds contains virtually the same amount of antioxidants as a serving of broccoli.

Not all fat is bad fat, which is certinaly what we were taught growing up. Let that sink in. Not all fat is bad fat. Essential fatty acids, according the research from Medline Plus, work in preventing inflammation, blood clotting, and proper brain development, just to name a few things. One reason essential fatty acids are, well, essential, is that the body does not produce them and they must be obtained solely from your diet. One-quarter cup of almonds has 18 grams of fat, 11 of which are monosaturated fats that contribute to heart-health.

 Dietary fiber is beneficial to your health exactly why you think it is. According to The Mayo Clinic, dietary fiber promotes normal bowel movements and decreases constipation. While making you more comfortable, this also benefits your health across the board: from lower cholesterol to promoting a healthy appetite, dietary fiber helps make almonds a superfood.

Just a few more fun facts about almonds. They consist of a whopping 13% protein. Another health benefitting nutrient in almonds is calcium. In fact, 20-25 almonds contain as much calcium as 1/4 cup of milk. For those trying to cut out gluten, almond flour is perfect for cooking and baking.

I love to eat a handful of almonds as a snack, or throw a few in the blender when making a smoothie. Or blend up some almonds as a coating for fish. Almonds can be the star of a recipe or a wonderful addition to any recipe. Just make sure to add a few almonds to not miss out on the wonderful benefits!

Lauri Fleming