The Super Power of Almonds
Have you ever looked at an almond and wondered how nature packed so much potential into such a tiny food? Almonds are powerful seeds that contain vitamins, minerals, healthy fatty acids and antioxidants. They’re a great source of polyphenols, magnesium, potassium, zinc and vitamin E just to name a few.
Almonds are allies in a variety of areas, including cardiovascular health, maintaining healthy gut flora, and blood sugar regulation. Caroline Gilmore RD, LDN, says, "Research shows that, those who regularly include nuts in their diet have a lower risk of heart disease. Because almonds have a good balance of healthy fats, carbs, protein and fiber, they can be a great way to balance blood sugar and ward off hunger between meals. For those who are following a plant-based diet, almonds can provide a good source of protein."
According to a 2018 study published in the journal Nutrients, almonds reduce levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and help maintain healthy levels of good HDL cholesterol. The fiber in almonds not only helps suppress appetite and regulate blood sugar levels, it also feeds your healthy gut flora.
This super food also helps manage type 2 diabetes. A randomized controlled study published in the journal Metabolism had patients with type 2 diabetes replace 20 percent of their daily caloric intake with almonds. The results show that participants saw benefits to glycemic control and lipid profiles after the 12-week trial. This is only the tip of the iceberg of health benefits associated with eating almonds.
Now that we know adding almonds to our diet is advantageous to our health, how can we incorporate this super food into our diets? "A registered dietitian can tailor a diet, including almonds, to your individual needs based on your health goals," says Gilmore. However, almonds make a great snack, and you can add them in your salads or homemade pizza for extra crunch. Try using almond flour and milk in your baking recipes, too! Enjoy them roasted, raw, soaked, lightly salted or even sweetened.
Almond milk is a creamy and delicious treat for vegans and dairy consumers alike. Store-bought almond milk contains ingredients your body doesn’t need. Luckily, plant-based milks are easy to make at home. You’ll need a blender, water, a nut milk bag, almonds and a jar. No nut milk bag? Use a sieve, a cheesecloth or an old T-shirt. Soak your almonds overnight before blending them in four to five cups of water, and filter the pulp from the milk. The milk will stay fresh for three to four days in the fridge. Don’t fret if you’ve made extra, it will stay fresh in the freezer for up to one month. Drooling yet? Grab a handful of almonds and know you’re doing something good for your body.