There is an extensive list of nutrition benefits that almonds provide which is why almonds have always been a healthy on-the-go snack choice. You probably even have some sitting in your cupboard at home right now!
Almonds are an ancient food that comes from the Mediterranean regions. Almonds grow on trees and are found inside a fruit casing. The fruit exterior grows and eventually dispenses the almond.
This means that almonds are a seed and not a nut! California produces nearly 80% of the almonds we find on shelves today.
Almonds often show up in baked goods, trail mixes, and add crunch as a salad topping.
In addition to this, almonds are a healthy food all by themselves. Almond consumption is associated with everything from decreased risk of heart problems to the prevention of obesity and control of high blood pressure.
Let’s break down the top three nutrition benefits of almonds in a little more detail!
1. High Levels of Vitamin E
Almonds are full of healthy vitamins and minerals. They are especially rich in vitamin E which is a fat-soluble vitamin.
Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins that are chemically similar to other fats in the diet. They are essential for many hormone-based reactions in the body as well as for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Vitamin E can act as an antioxidant in the body. This means that it helps prevent damage to cells.
Vitamin E also has shown the ability to help prevent clots from forming in the arteries.
Despite the importance of adequate vitamin E intake, studies show that nearly 90% of U.S. adults do not consume the recommended daily amounts!
Luckily, eating a handful of almonds puts you well on your way to meeting your daily vitamin E needs. One serving of almonds contains 50% of the Recommended Daily Intake of vitamin E!
2. Good Source of Calcium
While there are many dairy-free sources of calcium, almonds rank as a great plant-based source of calcium.
Calcium is a critical nutrient for bone health, but it also plays a vital role in cellular reactions in the body. We get calcium from both the food we eat and from stores in our bodies.
Calcium’s role in the body is important enough that there is a specific system in place to maintain ceratin calcium levels at all times. When calcium levels get too low, the body draws on stored calcium, typically from the bones, to raise the level to what is needed.
Almonds have about 75 milligrams of calcium which is around 6% of your daily calcium needs.
3. Almonds Contain Healthy Fats
We hear about consuming healthy fats for a variety of reasons. There are several different types of fats found in foods which include saturated and unsaturated fats.
These fats differ by the type of bonds that hold the fat together. Saturated fats contribute to elevated blood lipid levels. So, saturated fats are generally considered to be less healthy than unsaturated fats.
In the unsaturated fats category, there are mono and polyunsaturated fats. These two types of fats differ in how many chemically unsaturated bonds are found in each one. Monounsaturated means there is one unsaturated bond while polyunsaturated means there is more than one bond.
Almonds are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats which are a part of the unsaturated fats category. Monounsaturated fats are beneficial to cardiac health by helping to lower blood lipid levels. They also show promise in helping to reduce inflammation and improve blood pressure.
One serving of almonds contains 9 grams of monounsaturated fats.
How Much is Enough
It is important to realize that the serving size for almonds might be smaller than you think. Almonds are nutrient-dense which means that they pack a high level of nutrition in a small volume.
As such, a serving size of almonds is one ounce or about one handful.
While this seems like a small amount, remember you get half your daily vitamin E along with excellent amounts of calcium and healthy fats!
There are many more health benefits of almonds than the three listed above! Almonds are an outstanding source of some of the most vital nutrients in our diet. In addition to their versatility and convenience, almonds are a super nutrient-dense food.
While the list of the nutrition benefits of almonds is extensive, they are an especially valuable source of vitamin E, calcium, and healthy fats.
Just a handful of almonds is all you need to help meet your daily nutrition requirements.
Almonds are much more than a crunchy add-on. They are nutrition powerhouses!