Almonds Have Heart
Almonds heart-smart benefits are good news for just about everyone; especially since cardiovascular disease holds the spot as the leading cause of death among men and women in the U.S.
- California Almonds are cholesterol-free, have only 1 gram of saturated fat, and have 13 grams of unsaturated fat per one ounce serving.
- But there’s more, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.” U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that the majority of your fat intake be unsaturated. One serving of almonds (28 grams, or about 23 almonds) has 13 grams of unsaturated fat and only 1 gram of saturated fat.
- You can look forward to having a little help in the grocery aisles because the American Heart Association® has certified whole almonds to display the sought-after Heart-Check mark. Now it’s easy for everyone out there to identify almonds as a heart-smart option.i
What's the Plan? The PEP.
In its simplest terms, the Portfolio Eating Plan (PEP) is a dietary approach to helping your clients manage their cholesterol levels. It all started with a team of researchers at the University of Toronto that revealed groundbreaking findings that led to the development of the plan, an option you may want to consider for your clients with high cholesterol. Pretty exciting stuff, and here’s the kicker: the PEP includes—yep, you guessed it—approximately one ounce of crunchy almonds a day.
To learn more about the PEP and see what foods are included in the plan, click here.
i All certified nuts, including salted varieties, must meet the American Heart Association’s® nutritional requirements which include a limit of 140mg or less of sodium per label serving size. Please note that the Heart-Check Food Certification does not apply to hyperlinks, recipes, or research unless expressly stated. For more information, see the American Heart Association’s® nutrition guidelines at heartcheck.org. American Heart Association® and the Heart-Check Mark are registered trademarks of the American Heart Association®.
Protein has a role in essentially every part of the human body. From bones and muscles (the obvious suspects) to cartilage, blood, enzymes, hormones and even skin and nails, the importance of protein is impossible to ignore. As a natural source of protein, almonds make it easy—and crunchy and downright delicious—for your clients to get lasting energy that will power them up and not let them down.
- Every ounce of almonds delivers 6 grams of satiating protein that can help your clients power through the day and even keep them feeling fuller between meals—a great way to help watch those waistlines.
- For those who would rather not crunch into whole nuts, other almond forms, such as almond butter (6g per serving), almond flour (6g per serving) and almond milk (1g per serving), also contain protein.
- It’s pretty common knowledge that nuts are a good source protein, but not all nuts are created equal. When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in this essential nutrient.
- As a plant-based source of natural protein, almonds can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels by replacing some animal based protein products.
The Skinny on Weight Management
Just one ounce of almonds a day can offer a lot to your clients who are trying to shed a few pounds. With that light, buttery flavor and satisfying crunch, it almost feels like a bonus that almonds effectively stave off hunger and offer that “full” feeling we all want from a snack—and all for just 160 calories (maybe even less). Did we also mention they’re 100% cholesterol free?
- Almonds provide 4 grams of filling fiber, “good” monounsaturated fats and 6 grams of protein that provide both energy and lasting satisfaction.1
- Almonds are considered a good fit with many popular weight-loss plans because they provide stellar satiety and fewer calories for more nutrients.
- A 2012 study, Discrepancy between the Atwater factor predicted and empirically measured energy values of almonds in human diets, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a one-ounce serving of almonds (about 23 nuts) has just 129 calories as opposed to the 160 currently listed on Nutrition Facts panels. That’s a 20% decrease. The study takes into account the digestibility of whole almonds, and further research is needed to better understand the results of the study and how this technique for calculating calories could potentially affect the calorie count of other foods.*
Advise your clients on different ways to fit almonds into their day. Perfect for snacking, on-the-go crunching or as an ingredient in recipes, almonds may just be the key that could tip the scales in their favor.
1. Good news about good fat: U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that the majority of your fat intake be unsaturated. One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat.
*The Study: A study entitled, “Discrepancy between the Atwater factor predicted and empirically measured energy values of almonds in human diets” was conducted to determine the energy value of almonds in the human diet and to compare the measured energy value with the value calculated from Atwater factors, the primary method used to determine the energy content of foods. To calculate the measured energy value of almonds, eighteen healthy adults consumed one of three diets for 18 days each. The three treatments were administered to subjects in a crossover design where the diets contained one of three almond doses: 0, 42, or 84 grams per day. During the final nine days of each treatment, volunteers collected all urine and feces, and samples of diets, urine, and feces were analyzed for macronutrient and energy contents. From this, the “measured” (metabolizable) energy content of the almonds was determined.
Results: The energy content of almonds in the human diet was measured at 129 kilocalories per 28-gram (or one-ounce) serving (4.6 ± 0.8 kcal/g). This is significantly less than the calculated energy content of 168–170 kcal per serving (6.0–6.1 kcal/g) for the almonds used in this study as determined by the Atwater factors. When applied to almonds, the Atwater factors resulted in a calculated value that was 20% greater than the measured energy value.
Abstract: This study provides evidence that almonds provide approximately 20% fewer metabolizable calories than originally thought. The Atwater factors, when applied to certain foods, may result in overestimation of their measured metabolizable energy content. Traditional methods overstated the calories from almonds because they do not account for the fat that is not fully absorbed. This is thought to be due, in part, to the fiber content and/or the rigidity of almond cell walls.
Ounce for ounce, almonds are one of the most nutrient-dense tree nuts on earth, and that’s something your clients will definitely want to get in on. Just one crunchy ounce a day is a satisfying way to load up on important vitamins and minerals that their bodies need to dominate the day—and when they feel better, you feel better too.
- Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium and manganese, and a good source of fiber, copper, phosphorous and riboflavin.
- A one-ounce serving has 13 grams of “good” unsaturated fats, just 1 gram of saturated fat, and is always cholesterol free.1
- When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in protein (6 g), fiber (4 g), calcium (75 mg), vitamin E (7.4 mg), riboflavin (0.3 mg) and niacin (1 mg).
- Almonds are naturally salt free and low in sugars.
Good news about good fat: U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that the majority of your fat intake be unsaturated. One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat.
On Track with Digestion
The human gut or gastrointestinal tract (GI) is key to your and your clients’ health, with approximately 80% of immunity starting there.1 It’s also where prebiotics come into play. In vitro research hypothesizes, but does not prove, that almonds may have a prebiotic effect that can support the GI tract in maintaining immunity and overall well-being. And while more research and human clinical studies are needed to prove the prebiotic effect of almonds, it’s still just one more reason to introduce them to your clients. Not to mention just one ounce provides 4 grams of fiber (14% of the recommended Daily Value), which can also contribute significantly to a healthy digestive tract.
Inside the Studies
Study 1: In a study conducted at the Institute of Food Research, Norwich, UK, researchers used a model gut to digest almonds and examined the prebiotic effects of two types of almonds compared to a recognized prebiotic. Read more about the study here.3
Study 2: Another study, using the same model gut as Study 1, examined the role cell walls play in the bioaccessibility of nutrients found in almonds, specifically lipid, protein and vitamin E. Natural almonds, blanched almonds, finely ground and defatted finely ground almonds were digested. Find the full research article here.4
1. Rosenbaum, M. Digestion & Immunity. Revolution Health Access at http://www.revolutionhealth.com/conditions/digestive/digestive-health/health-basics/digestion-immunity Oct 13, 2008.
2. Roberfroid MB. “Prebiotics and Probiotics: Are they functional foods?” Am J Clin Nutr 2000 June;71 (suppl):1682S-7S.
3. Mandalari G, Nueno-Palop C, Bisignano G,Wickham M.S.J. “Potential Prebiotic Properties of Almond Seeds.” Appl Environ Microbiol 2008 July;74, 4264-4270. http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/full/74/14/4264?view=long&pmid=18502914.
4. Mandalari G, Faulk RM, Rich GT, Lo Turco V, Picout DR, Lo Curto RB, Bisignano G, Dugo P, Dugo G, Waldron KW, Ellis PR, Wickham MS. “Release of Protein, Lipid, and Vitamin E from Almond Seeds During Digestion.” J Agric Food Chem 2008 May 14;56(9):3409-16. Epub 2008 Apr 17. http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstrac.cgi/jafcau/2008/56/i09/abs/jf073393v.html.
All In with Antioxidants
Almonds’ way-above-average vitamin E content makes them an antioxidant powerhouse ready to help your clients fight the good fight against damaging free radicals. In fact, an ounce of almonds unleashes 35% of the Daily Value for vitamin E, an important nutrient in circulation, hair and skin health, cell function and much more.
- When our bodies burn oxygen, unstable molecules known as free radicals form. The alpha-tocopherol (AT) vitamin E found in almonds can help neutralize these harmful molecules, which can damage cells, tissues and even DNA.
- Researchers have linked free radicals to the development of some chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Almonds are one of the best food sources of AT vitamin E (see chart below), which the National Academy of Sciences has identified as the only type of vitamin E that makes itself available to cells in the circulatory system.
- In a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, experts found that almond skins contain flavonoids and phenolics similar to certain antioxidant-heavy fruits and vegetables. Findings revealed that a one-ounce serving of almonds contains a similar amount of total polyphenols as one cup of green tea and one cup of steamed broccoli.1
For additional resources on almonds and antioxidants, click here.
1. Milbury PE, Chen C, Dolnkowski G, Blumberg J. “Determination of Flavonoids and Phenolics and their Distribution in Almonds.” J. Agric. Food Chem. 2006, 54,5027-5023.
The Facts About Fiber
An almond nutrition discussion wouldn’t be complete without talking fiber. Most frequently praised for its ability to help maintain digestive health and promote regularity, fiber’s benefits actually extend far beyond the bowels. Studies have shown that this multitalented nutrient may be helpful in lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, among other notable qualities.
- Fiber has been shown to be helpful in weight maintenance and heart health, and it may even reduce the risk factors for diabetes.
- One ounce of almonds has 4 grams of filling fiber, which will keep your clients feeling satiated for longer after snacking.
- Almonds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Contrary to popular belief, not all the fiber in almonds is in the skin. In fact, 1 oz. of blanched almonds still contains 3grams of fiber even without the skin.
The Calcium Question
With osteoporosis and bone health holding steady as highly popular topics, especially among women, many of your clients are probably asking a lot about calcium. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and it works hand-in-hand with vitamin D to build strong bones and teeth and keep bodily systems running smoothly.
- Usually associated with dairy and dark, leafy greens, most people don’t think of almonds when they think of calcium and that’s exactly what we aim to change.
- When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in calcium, boasting 75mg per ounce.
- Calcium is most commonly credited for its talents in bone health, but it’s also key in well-functioning muscles (heart included) and nerves.
- Calcium is important at every age, so it’s a good thing there’s an almond option to suit every taste. From almond butter and flavored almonds to gluten-free almond flour for baking, almonds don’t leave anyone out of the calcium-getting game.
A Glance at Gluten Freedom
With foods like almonds packing your clients’ pantries, gluten free doesn’t have to mean flavor free. Or fun free, for that matter. Gluten free almonds are endlessly versatile and always enjoyable, so for those living with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, they’re a must-have solution for living deliciously gluten free. We even have a comprehensive collection of gluten-free almond recipes to get your clients cooking.
Out and About
Planning ahead is important for proper nutrition, especially when the case of a gluten-free lifestyle. Almonds are known for being non-greasy (aka “the neat nut”), so they are great on the go. Traveling, long days at work and unexpected schedule surprises are no match for these on-hand heroes.
A Form for Every Function
Your clients may be surprised at how many ways they can enjoy these awesomely crunchy nuts on their own or as an ingredient. From natural or flavored whole almonds (a stellar snack) and sliced, diced and slivered almonds (add crunch and substance to salads, side dishes, desserts, veggies and more) to almond crackers (a crispy, crunchy snack or a crushed coating on fish or poultry) and almond butter (spread on snacks or thicken up a smoothie), there’s no stopping these gluten-free almond wonders.
Gluten-free baking gets a whole lot better when you and your clients add almond flour into the mix. It has a smooth texture and a subtle flavor that goes with sweet or savory recipes, and it’s also one of the most nutrient-rich flours available. Click here for the full nutrition lowdown.
Diabetes and Inflammation
Breakfast and Glucose Levels
Heart Disease and Diabetes
Limitations of this study include the sample size, length of the study, lack of an oral glucose tolerance test, and lack of hemoglobin A1c readings. The sample size for this study is considered small for a feeding study, so the results may not be extrapolated to apply to a larger population. Though the study showed that almond consumption lowered fasting blood glucose and insulin levels, in order to gauge the effect on insulin actions, an oral glucose tolerance test is needed, and none was administered. Lastly, because hemoglobin A1c is a measure of blood glucose readings over a 2-3 month period, it was not assessed in this study, as the study interventions only lasted for 4 weeks at a time.3
* Almond consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in adults with prediabetes. By: Wien M, et al. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Jun;29(3):189-97.
**Acute and second-meal effects of almond form in impaired glucose tolerant adults: a randomized crossover trial, published in February 2011 in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.
*** Almond consumption improved glycemic control and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. By: Sing-Chung Li, Yen-Hua Liu, Jen-Fang Liu, Wen-Hsin Chang, Chaio-Ming Chen, C.-Y. Oliver Chen. Metabolism Clinical and Experimental. 60 (2011) 474-479
Su, M., M. Venkatachalam, T.M. Gradziel, C. Liu, Y. Zhang, K.H. Roux, S.K. Sathe. 2015. Application of mouse monoclonal antibody (mAb) 4C10-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for amandin detection in almond (Prunus dulcis L.) genotypes and hybrids. Food Sci. Tech. 60:535-543. Abstract
Dhakal, S., C. Liu, Y. Zhang, K.H. Roux, S.K. Sathe, V.M. Balasubramaniam. 2014. Effect of high pressure processing on the immunoreactivity of almond milk. Food Res. Int. 62:215 -222. Abstract
Mandalari, G., N.M. Rigby, C. Bisignano, R.B. Lo Curto, F. Mullholland, M. Su, M. Venkatachalam, J.M. Robotham, L.N. Willison, K. Lapsley, K.H. Roux, S.K. Sathe. 2014. Effect of food matrix and processing on release of almond protein during simulated digestion. Food Sci. Tech. 59:439-447. Abstract
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Wolf, W.J., S.K. Sathe. 1998. Ultracentrifugal and polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic studies of extractability and stability of almond meal proteins. J. Agric. Food Chem. 78:511-521. Abstract
Xie, L., B.W. Bolling. 2014. Characterization of stilbenes in California almonds (Prunus dulcis) by UHPLC-MS. Food Chem. 148:300-306. Abstract Available via PubMed
Xie, L., A.V. Roto, B.W. Bolling. 2013. Characterization of ellagitannins, gallotannins, and bound proanthocyanidins from California almond (Prunus dulcis) varieties. J. Agric.Food Chem. 60(49):12151-12156. Abstract Available via PubMed
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Bolling, B.W., J.B. Blumberg, C.-Y.O. Chen. 2010. The influence of roasting, pasteurisation, and storage on the polyphenol content and antioxidant capacity of California almond skins. Food Chem. 123:1040-1047. Abstract
Mandalari, G., A. Tomaino, T. Arcoraci, M. Martorana, V. Lo Turco, F. Cacciola, G.T. Rich, C. Bisignano, A. Saija, P. Dugo, K.L. Cross, M.L. Parker, K.W. Waldron, M.S.J. Wickham. 2010. Characterization of polyphenols, lipids and dietary fibre from almond skins (Amygdalus communis L.). J. Food Comp. Anal. 23:166-174.
Mandalari, G., C. Bisignano, M. D'Arrigo, G. Ginestra, A. Arena, A. Tomaino, M.S.J. Wickham. 2010. Antimicrobial potential of polyphenols extracted from almond skins. Lett. Appl. Microbiol. 51(1):1-7. Available via Open Access
Bolling, B.W, G. Dolnikowski, J.B. Blumberg, C.-Y.O. Chen. 2009. Quantification of almond skin polyphenols by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. J. Food Sci. 74(4):C326 -C332. Available via Open Access
Chen, C.-Y., J.B. Blumberg. 2008. In vitro activity of almond skin polyphenols for scavenging free radicals and inducing quinone reductase. J. Agric. Food Chem. 56(12):4427-4434. Abstract Available via PubMed
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Chen, C.-Y., P.E. Milbury, S.-K. Chung, J. Blumberg. 2007. Effect of almond skin polyphenols and quercetin on human LDL and apolipoprotein. B-100 oxidation and conformation. J. Nutr. Biochem. 18:785-794. Abstract Available via PubMed
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Jia, X., N. Li, W. Zhang, X. Zhang, K. Lapsley, G. Huang, J. Blumberg, G. Ma, J. Chen. 2006. A pilot study on the effects of almond consumption on DNA damage and oxidative stress in smokers. Nutr. Cancer 54(2):179-183. Abstract Available via PubMed
Milbury, P.E., C.-Y. Chen, G.G. Dolnikowski, J.B. Blumberg. 2006. Determination of flavonoids and phenolics and their distribution in almonds. J. Agric. Food Chem. 54:5027-5033. Abstract Available via PubMed
Wijeratne, S.S.K., M.M. Abou-Zaid, F. Shahidi. 2006. Antioxidant polyphenols in almond and its coproducts. J. Agric. Food Chem. 54:312-318. Abstract Available via PubMed
Wijeratne, S.S.K., R. Amarowicz, F. Shahidi. 2006. Antioxidant activity of almonds and their by-products in food model systems. J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 83(3):223-230. Abstract
Amarowicz, R., T. Agnieszka, A. Troszynska, F. Shahidi. 2005. Antioxidant activity of almond seed extract and its fractions. J. Food Lipids 12:344-358. Abstract
Chen, C.-Y., P.E. Milbury, K.G. Lapsley, J.B. Blumberg. 2005. Flavonoids from almond skins are bioavailable and act synergistically with Vitamins C and E to enhance hamster and human LDL resistance to oxidation. J. Nutr. 135:1366-1373. Available via Open Access
Sang, S., G. Li, S. Tian, K. Lapsley, R.E. Stark, R.K. Pandey, R.T. Rosen, C.-T. Ho. 2003. An unusual diterpene glycoside from the nuts of almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch). Tetrahedron Lett. 44:1199-1202. Abstract
Frison, S., P. Sporns. 2002. Variation in the flavonol glycoside composition of almond seedcoats as determined by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. J. Agric. Food Chem. 50 (23):6818-6822. Abstract Available via PubMed
Frison-Norrie, S., P. Sporns. 2002. Identification and quantification of flavonol glycosides in almond seedcoats using MALDI-TOF MS. J. Agric. Food Chem. 50(10):2782-2787. Abstract Available via PubMed
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Sang, S., X. Cheng, H.-Y. Fu, D.-E. Shieh, N. Bai, K.G. Lapsley, R.E. Stark, R.T. Rosen, C.-T. Ho. 2002. New type sesquiterpene lactone from almond hulls (Prunus amygdalus Batsch). Tetrahedron Lett. 43:2547-2549. Abstract Available via PubMed
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Sang, S., H. Kikuzaki, K. Lapsley, R.T. Rosen, N. Nakatani, C.-T. Ho. 2002. Sphingolipid and other constituents from almond nuts (Prunus amygdalus Batsch). J. Agric. Food Chem. 50(16):4709-4712. Abstract Available via PubMed
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Diabetes + Metabolic Syndrome
Beatrice, A., G. Shivaji. 2015. Effect of almond supplementation on the anthropometric measurements, biochemical parameters and blood pressure levels of men with Metabolic Syndrome. Indian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics 52(2):184-191.
Sweazea, K.L., C.S. Johnston, K.D. Ricklefs, K.N. Petersen. 2014. Almond supplementation in the absence of dietary advice significantly reduces C-reactive protein in subjects with type 2 diabetes J. Funct. Foods 10:252-259.
Liu, J.-F., Y.-H. Liu, C.-M. Chen, W.-H. Chang, C.-Y. O. Chen. 2013. The effect of almonds on inflammation and oxidative stress in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized crossover feeding trial. Eur. J. Nutr. 52:927-935. Abstract Available via PubMed
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Li, S.-C., Y.-H. Liu, J.-F. Liu, W.-H. Chang, C.-M. Chen, C.-Y.O. Chen. 2011. Almond consumption improved glycemic control and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Metab. Clin. Exp. 60:474-479. Abstract Available via PubMed
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Mori, A., K. Lapsley, R.D. Mattes. 2011. Chapter 19. Almonds (Prunus dulcis): Post-Ingestive Hormonal Response. Nuts & Seeds In Health And Disease Prevention In V. R.
Preedy, R. R. Watson, V. B. Patel (Editors), Nuts & Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention (1st ed.) (pp.167-173).
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Weight Management (Under Construction)
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