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Almonds: Are They Good for You?

You’ve probably heard that almonds are "good for you," but is this true?

As with most foods, almonds are good for you or healthy, but only if you consume the right amount.  Otherwise, the nutrition value of almonds can work against you instead of for you.

almond pile

Almond Nutrition Basics

Although you will often hear me (and others) refer to almonds as being in the nuts category, they are technically seeds as opposed to nuts.  In fact, some of almonds’ closest cousins are peaches, cherries, and apricots.

Almonds  get two thumbs up in that they are very nutrient rich.  Just one ounce of almonds has over 35% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for manganese and vitamin E and over 20% of the RDA of for magnesium.  Almonds are also a good source of phosphorus, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and copper, as well as a decent source of potassium and even calcium.

New research has also shown that the skin on the almond has a unique array of 20 flavonoids that promote good health.

Raw vs. Roasted Almonds

Due to the healthy fat content of almonds, it’s important to make sure that the almonds you eat have been stored properly and have not been roasted at high temperatures, otherwise the fats can oxidize and produce free radicals.

The best way to ensure that your almonds are fresh is to buy raw, fresh almonds and store them in the refrigerator.  For long-term storage keep them in the freezer.

If you prefer the taste of roasted almonds, plan to roast them at home to ensure that the healthy fat contained in the almond is not damaged, as is often the case with commercial roasting.

Roasting at 160°F for 15 to 20 minutes should be about right.  Just make sure to avoid temperatures above 170°F as this has been shown to damage the somewhat delicate fat contained in the almond.

Health Benefits of Almonds

almonds heart healthy Numerous studies have demonstrated the heart healthy benefits of eating almonds.  Regularly consuming almonds tends to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).

Although almonds are a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, specifically oleic acid ( a.k.a. Omega 9 fatty acid), it seems that there is more to the health benefits of almonds than just this healthy fat.  Researchers believe that it’s the combination of healthy fat and antioxidants that is responsible for the numerous health benefits that almonds display.

Regardless, we know that almonds are good for you… but only if you keep your consumption in check.

As you can see below, one ounce of almonds contains 14 g of fat.  The problem is, most people do not properly worsen omens.  They simply grab a handful and begin munching.  As you can imagine, even though almonds are healthy, eating too many can quickly lead to a fat intake that is too high for one meal or snack.

For that reason it’s imperative that you take an extra 10 seconds to weigh your almonds on a good digital scale.  Otherwise, you can’t be sure that you’re not getting too much of a good thing.  However, in a pinch you can go by the rule-of-thumb that 23 whole almonds weigh one ounce or 28 grams.

Nutrition Value of Almonds

  • Serving Size: 1 oz (28g)
  • Calories: 163
  • Protein: 6g
  • Carbs: 6g
  • Fat: 14g

77% of the calories in Almonds comes from fat, therefore they should be considered a source of dietary fat in your meal plan.

The above nutrition values are from the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

So, Are Almonds Good for You or Not?two thumbs up

I never like saying whether or not something is good for you or not, because the true answer is always "It depends."

However,I think it’s safe to say that almonds are good for you… if you consume the right type (fresh, not overcooked), in the right amount (typically not more than 1 ounce), and at the right time.

All things considered, I (like Borat to the right) would give almonds two thumbs up!

I would encourage you to do like I do and make almonds one of the staple "clean foods" on your meal plan.

Yours in health,

Dr Clay