For too long we’ve thought that nuts were bad for us, due to their high fat content. No longer! Now that we’ve finally determined that some fats are very good for us, nuts should definitely be put back on the table, especially almonds, which offer a variety of excellent health benefits. Whether in salad or entrée, almonds are a perfect complement to almost any meal. Almonds contain a plethora of vitamins, fatty acids, and minerals, including manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, tryptophan, copper, vitamin B2, potassium, and phosphorus. High in monounsaturated fat (much like olive oil), almonds are a great food for people who are looking to lower their LDL cholesterol levels as well as reduce their risk of heart disease. But don’t take our word for it; a Nurses Health Study has determined that replacing carbohydrates with the same amount of nuts can cut heart disease risk by up to 30% - no small feat! For those looking for an even healthier lifestyle can consider replacing foods containing saturated fat with nuts to garner an up to 45% reduction in risk. Along with all the other health benefits offered, this can provide a serious improvement to one’s health. Additionally, the concentrations of minerals found in almonds can help to improve blood circulation and heart function. The level of potassium contained in almonds can also help protect against conditions such as high blood pressure (or reduce high blood pressure) and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Finally, adding almonds to a meal can help level blood sugar levels by lowering the glycemic index of a meal, good for diabetics.
The Many Ways to Enjoy Almonds
Almonds can be consumed in a variety of ways. Raw almonds are excellent in a meal or on their own as a healthy snack. Roasted almonds add a kick of flavour to salads and on top of casseroles – simply roast in the oven at 325°F for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Those avoiding soy and dairy can try almond milk as a healthy alternative, while almond butter can replace peanut butter. Almond flour is also available at many health food stores as a healthy, gluten free alternative to wheat flour.