Almonds: Just A Handful A Day

May 22, 2010 in General Nutrition by Webmaster

Adding almonds to Doctor Grandma’s Muffins is an excellent way to add to the nutritional quality of your diet.

A one-ounce handful of almonds offer heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, antioxidants, vitamin E, protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and iron, all in 160 calories. In addition to their nutritional benefits, almonds can play a role in maintaining a healthy heart.

Eating almonds not only lowers cholesterol levels, but also the level of C-reactive protein, which is a good indicator of cardiovascular disease risk. Almonds also significantly increase vitamin E levels in the plasma and red blood cells. Vitamin E is one of the powerful antioxidants that defends your cells against the on-going damage to cells and, therefore, helps to prevent the artery-clogging oxidation of cholesterol.

A study, conducted at Loma Linda University, was the first to demonstrate that eating almonds raises vitamin E levels in the bloodstream -- up to 19 percent after four weeks, among those who ate 20 percent of their calories as almonds. Participants in the study also reduced their total cholesterol by 5 percent and lowered their LDL or "bad" cholesterol by nearly 7 percent.

Almonds Also Help In the Battle of the Bulge

The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends people eat up to 20 percent of calories from monounsaturated fat such as almonds and olive oil. This is one of the reasons that Doctor Grandma’s uses her special extra virgin olive oil for baking and encourages the addition of almonds to the Dr. Grandma’s Muffins Your Way mix.

One reason for almonds healthful qualities may be the way their nutrients are absorbed in the body. Researchers at Kings College in London found almonds appear to help block absorption of carbohydrates, block their own fat from being absorbed, and improve satiety (feeling full), which may be key mechanisms behind their heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering and weight-maintenance capabilities.

Another study presented at Experimental Biology last April showed adding nearly two servings of almonds to one’s existing diet had no effect on body weight or percentage of body fat.

"We found it to be remarkable that participants naturally compensated for the added calories from almonds in their diet," said study author James Hollis, PhD, from Purdue University in a press conference. "Our early hypothesis is that the fiber and protein found in almonds may contribute to greater satiety, which in turn helps people maintain their body weight."

Dr. Grandma encourages the addition of almonds and other tree nuts to the healthy diet and that spells YUMMY