Packed into one tiny almond are a multitude of health benefits, making it a popular snack for health-conscious people. With a unique nutrient combination, almonds contain plant-based protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats along with Vitamin E and magnesium. While we might jump to call an almond a nut, it is a seed from a tree. With this breakdown, let’s explore almonds’ nutritional content, how they impact your body, and how easy it is to incorporate them into your day.
The Break Down
A little goes a long way with almonds. Just one ounce of almonds (about 24 seeds) packs six grams of protein, fourteen grams of heart-healthy fat plus vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, calcium, and potassium. This serving size provides about 164 calories in almonds. You only need a handful of almonds a day to reap the full benefits. Let’s unpack the almond’s nutrition and how it can positively impact your body.
The best-known health benefit of almonds is their positive effect on your heart. Multiple studies have found a direct link between almond consumption and a decrease in heart disease risk. Simply switching almonds for snacks with highly refined carbohydrates can support your heart health. A study published by Current Atherosclerosis Reports estimated that eating the equivalent amount of almonds instead of carbohydrates reduced heart disease by 30 percent.
Managing your Cholesterol
Looking at the nutrition label, you will see that almonds are high in fat. Don’t worry; the majority is monounsaturated fat and is suitable for you. The breakdown of an almond’s fat is 80 percent polyunsaturated and 5 percent saturated. Swapping out saturated fats (palm oil and hydrogenated oils) for almonds can help lower LDL cholesterol levels or “bad” cholesterol levels.
LDL cholesterol is considered “bad” because it collects in the walls of blood vessels and can lead to a heart attack or stroke. At the same time, it will raise your HDL cholesterol subtypes or your “good” cholesterol levels. This “good” cholesterol can remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream.
Not only do almonds lower LDL cholesterol levels, but they prevent LDL from oxidizing. This oxidation causes cholesterol to block arteries, a pivotal step in developing heart disease. The almond skin is rich in polyphenol antioxidants, preventing oxidation of LDL oxidation. With their additional source of antioxidants from Vitamin E, both can reduce the risk of heart disease over time.
Lower Blood Pressure
The high level of potassium in almonds is also beneficial for the heart. One serving of almonds provides 5 percent of the recommended daily value for potassium. According to Today’s Dietitian, potassium consumption is linked to lower blood pressure as it promotes the widening of blood vessels--also called vasodilation.
On top of this, the magnesium found in almonds can also help reduce blood pressure levels. High blood pressure is one of the leading factors of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. If your diet is deficient in magnesium, almonds can make a huge difference in reducing your blood pressure.
Improve Diabetes Health
Almonds have been found to help regulate blood sugar levels. Research done by the Journal of Nutrition showed that almonds might reduce the rise of glucose and insulin levels after meals. Additionally, the magnesium found in almonds can reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes or help people with type 2 diabetes maintain their magnesium levels.
People with type 2 diabetes have low magnesium levels, contributing to their difficulty managing blood pressure levels. Studies have found the ingestion of almonds can improve blood sugar levels and blood lipid levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Almonds can be a substitute for magnesium supplements to improve blood sugar levels.
Overall Gut Health
Almonds can promote healthy gut bacteria. The consumption of almonds has been found to act as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are non-digestible parts of foods that can fuel the growth of good bacteria. These “good” bacteria can form a defense against harmful bacteria, strengthening our immune system.
One serving size of almonds contains as much calcium as ¼ cup of milk. Bonus: almonds contain phosphorus, which keeps your bones healthy, reducing the risk of fractures and breaks.
A satisfying and substantial snack, almonds are packed with a combo of proteins and healthy fats that can please your mid-day craving and keep you feeling full for longer. Although incorporating almonds into your routine won’t make you lose weight, it’s a healthy substitute when on a diet. Although almonds are calorie-dense, there is no link between almonds and weight-gain. They are low in carbohydrates but high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber, boosting your feeling of fullness from just a handful of almonds.
The riboflavin, manganese, and copper found in almonds is an immense energy source that will give you the power you need throughout your training. Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, helps produce red blood cells and release energy from your system’s carbohydrates. At the same time, manganese and copper help your body maintain its energy flow.
Adding Almonds to Your Diet
Incorporating almonds into your daily routine can be an easy switch. With their long list of health benefits, it’s hard to turn them down. We recommend sneaking them into your daily workout routine, giving you natural boosts of energy and fuel.
Stay Healthy with ATAQ Fuel
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