Health Benefits of Almonds

Packed with vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy fat, almonds can help lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar.

| April 2016

The Almond Milk Cookbook: Over 100 Delicious Recipes (Book Publishing Company, 2015) by Alan Roettinger embraces the growing trend of almond milk by providing easy recipes that incorporate this flavorful milk alternative. Breakfast ideas, main dishes, and desserts are all covered in this cookbook, including nutritional information. The following excerpt discusses the many health advantages associated with eating almonds.

Almonds are among the most health-promoting foods known, providing biotin, calcium, copper, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, omega-6 fatty acids, phosphorus, potassium, protein, selenium, vitamin E, and zinc. Although almonds are rich in fat, nearly all of it is heart-healthy monounsaturated oleic acid, the same type of fat found in extra-virgin olive oil that is credited with lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and helping to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Almonds also help to balance blood sugar. When consumed as part of a regular meal, almonds help lower the glycemic index of the entire meal and reduce the overall after-meal rise in blood sugar. This decreased blood sugar spike in turn helps protect against diabetes and cardiovascular damage. The skins of almonds are rich in potent flavonoid antioxidants, and when eaten in combination with the rich vitamin E present in the almond’s flesh, the beneficial effects are multiplied.

The almond we know as a nut is actually a drupe, or stone fruit. It’s binomial name is Prunis dulcis. Technically, almonds are the seed of a fruit, belonging to the same category of stone fruit that includes apricots, cherries, nectarines, olives, peaches, and plums. Be aware that people who are allergic to these fruits might have a similar sensitivity to almonds and vice versa.

The average serving of almonds according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (USDA) is 23 kernels. This is the equivalent of 1 ounce, 1/4 cup, or about one handful (depending on the size of your hands) of almonds. The USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory states that 1 ounce of whole, shelled almond kernels contains 163 calories, about 14 g of fat, 6 g of protein, 6 g carbohydrates, and 3.5 g of fiber.

Check out these recipes from The Almond Milk Cookbook:

Hot Buckwheat Porridge with Apple and Dried Cranberries Recipe
Triple-Chocolate Muffins Recipe

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