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The Almighty Almond: Nut Nutrition and Fun Facts

Updated on February 2, 2014
Source

Almond's history of prestige

Dubbed the "Greek nut", the almond has fed pharaohs, gained biblical reference, been popularized along the 'silk road', and found it's way into the day to day lives of millions. The almond fruit, related to the cherry, plum, and peach, is a sour fruit often eaten with salt as opposed to sugar and is valued for the seed within. First available in areas of China, Middle East, and northern Africa, most of today's commercially packaged almonds come from California.

Almond Nutrition

Type: Nut-like Droop Seed

Nutrients: Vitamin E, Dietary Fiber, B Vitamins, Essential Minerals (i.e. magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium), Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats

Health Benefits: Lower LDL-Cholesterol, Heart Health, Protection against Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, Improving Blood Fats

Almond Nutrition Facts Chart

Source

Almonds in lowering LDL cholesterol

Many studies attribute Almonds with reducing LDL cholesterol and experts highly suggest nuts for a heart healthy snack. One such study was conducted by Dr. Jenkins and was featured in 'Circulation' magazine on September 10, 2002.

In this study Dr. Jenkins conducted a clinical trial in Toronto University, Canada. His results found that both men and women who introduced about an ounce (one handful) of almonds into their daily diet showed an average of 4.4% in their bad cholesterols. A second trial of double that amount (two handfuls) showed an average of 9.4%. Interesting to note is that both groups in the trials maintained their original weight, dispersing the myth of nuts causing weight gain.

Referencing the study Dr. Jenkins said "We found that almonds reduce coronary heart disease risk factors in a dose-dependent manner and may be used as healthy snacks without weight gain," also citing almonds as a good source of vegetable protein he added "and the combination of monounsaturates with some polyunsaturates in nuts is an ideal combination of fats, all of which may have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol".

Almonds in Heart Health

It follows that if Almonds lower LDL cholesterol they are a heart healthy choice of snack. High LDL is a primary cause of heart disease. Along with this proven health trend almonds, along with other nuts, are sources of antioxidants which help to improve overall health.

According to the Harvard school of Public Health: "Several of the largest cohort studies, including the Adventist Study, the Iowa Women’s Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, and the Physicians’ Health Study have shown a consistent 30 percent to 50 percent lower risk of myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death, or cardiovascular disease associated with eating nuts several times a week."

For optimum benefit replace snacks such as chips with nuts or add them into other dishes. A few almonds added to salads, yogurts, or breads will make a smart and tasty addition to any meal.

Fun Fact

The Almond tree is heavily featured in the Dolce&Gabbana spring/summer 2014 campaign!

A long-time inspiration for the arts, the beautiful blossoms of the almond tree continue to influence our culture to this day.

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