Almonds are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, biotin, magnesium and calcium. They also contain vitamins B1, B2, and B6, folate, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese.
Like olives and olive oil, almonds are rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), a type of fat regularly consumed in the Mediterranean diet. Eaten in moderation, MUFAs are well-known for their beneficial effects on heart health.
Two prominent studies that analysed the inclusion of nuts as a component of a healthy diet pointed out a 30% reduction in risk of heart disease and a 52% reduction in risk of diabetes on participants that consumed their daily serving of almonds or mixed nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds)1 ; and a reduction of 20% or more in LDL cholesterol in 6 months, a reduction in blood pressure and in C-reactive protein2. Participants on both studies consumed about 30 grams of almonds or mixed nuts per day.
It is important to remember that nuts are packed with good nutrients but also calories, thus they need to be eaten instead of another snack, not in addition to it. As an added bonus, almonds do not seem to contribute to increased weight gain as they promote satiety. To stick to the recommended serving size, portion out your almonds in small containers or plastic bags, or place them on a small dish prior eating.
Other associated health benefits of consuming almonds include:
– Unbleached raw almonds contain phytochemicals that are associated with cardiovascular protection and protection against some types of cancer.
– Almonds can be helpful for persons who do not consume dairy products to support bone health as they are a good source of calcium.
– Almonds contain vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, that can help to protect the skin from damage from free radicals. Fatty acids in almonds can also maintain/improve skin elasticity.
In addition to be eaten raw as one of your snacks, almonds are a tasty addition to a variety of recipes. How to incorporate almonds into your diet:
- sprinkle chopped almonds on your yogurt, oatmeal, cereal
- toss almond into salads, stir-fry or rice dish for added crunch
- spread almond butter to your toast
- use almond meal or almond flour in place of flour when baking
- incorporate almond butter to a smoothie
- add almonds to trail mix
- coat fish, meats or vegetarian patties with crushed almonds or other nuts
- eat it in combination with a fruit
- savor a glass of almond milk or use it as a dairy substitute
Some believe that nutrients in almonds are best absorbed after soaked overnight for 8 to 10 hours before being consumed ‒ a process is known as sprouting. After soaking, drain and rinse them well. Keep sprouted almonds in an airtight in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. This process can be used prior preparing your own almond milk too.
How to make nuts flour, butter and milk
You will need a power blender to transform nuts into a variety of products that can be used for breakfast, baking and beyond.
Almond flour is popular in gluten-free baking and many pastries. Run raw whole almonds on high-speed for about 10 seconds. Use the tamper to move any stubborn nuts if needed.
Hazelnuts and cashews also make delicious flours.
Turn peanuts and nuts into smooth butter in minutes. First you need to roast them for maximum flavour. Then, place the nuts into the blender bowl and gradually increase the speed until you reach high. Use the tamper to push them down if necessary. Once the machine goes from a high to a low-pitch sound, it is ready. Store in an airtight jar.
You do not need to be vegan or lactose intolerant to enjoy nut milk. They are delicious. Beyond almonds, experiments with cashews, pistachios and hemp seeds.
Soak whole raw nuts (no need to soak hemp seeds) in cold water overnight or for 8 hours. Drain. For every 1 cup (250 mL) of nuts, blend with 4 cups (1 L) of hot water until smooth. Strain through cheesecloth or through nut milk bags (found in healthy food stores). Add a pinch of salt and sweeten to taste.
Do not discard the pulp as it still have nutrients and fiber after the milk has been extracted. add it to breads, cakes, pie crust, and burgers.
You can also dehydrate the pulp by lightly baking pulp until dry. It can be used in any recipe that calls for almond flour. Once dry reprocess the flour to eliminate any lumps. Store in an airtight jar. You may find it has a less intense almond flavor .
- Nuts, almonds, dried, blanched, unroasted – Canadian Nutrient File
- Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvado J, et al. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet. New Engl J Med. 2013;368(14):1279–1290.
- Jenkins DJA, Jones PJH, Lamarche B, Kendall CWC, et al. Effect of a Dietary Portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods given at 2 levels of intensity of dietary advice on serum lipids in hyperlipidemia – a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2011;306(8):831-839. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1202
Almond Cake (Tarta de Santiago)
Rosemary Roasted Almonds
If you have other suggestions of how to incorporate almonds into a healthy diet or recipes you would like to share, please leave your comment 😉