Almonds are a satisfying and nutritious snack. Twenty almonds weigh about 1 ounce and have 138 calories; 5 grams of protein; 12 grams of fat, mostly unsaturated; 3 grams of fiber; and less than a gram of sugar. A serving provides quick energy and a full feeling that helps you resist the urge to snack on unhealthy foods between meals.
Riboflavin and Vitamin E
Eating 20 almonds gives you one-fifth of the riboflavin you need daily. Riboflavin is a B vitamin that may help prevent cervical cancer, migraine headaches, acne, muscle cramps, carpal tunnel syndrome and some blood disorders, according to Medline Plus. Almonds also provide almost half your daily requirement for vitamin E, an antioxidant that supports your immune system and heart health. Twenty almonds also contain small amounts of the metabolism-boosting B-complex vitamins thiamine, niacin, vitamin B-6 and folate.
Snacking on 20 almonds can benefit your nervous system and help keep your bones strong. Almonds give you about 20 percent of the magnesium and phosphorus you need daily. Magnesium helps your body produce energy, and both magnesium and phosphorus work with other minerals to help increase bone density. A serving of 20 almonds also provides small amounts of calcium, iron, potassium and zinc, supplementing your diet with essential minerals that promote healthy blood, cells and muscles.
Eating 20 almonds a day may help keep your heart healthy and your cholesterol low. Of the 12 grams of fat in a serving, less than 1 gram is saturated fat. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women avoid saturated fat and get at least 12 grams of unsaturated fat per day to lower triglycerides and reduce the risk of developing high LDL cholesterol. The healthy fat content in almonds helps your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E and K. Pair almonds with foods such as sweet potatoes, spinach or fish, which are rich in fat-soluble nutrients, to get optimal nutritional benefits.
Antioxidant Benefits of Flavonoids
Leave the skin on your almonds to get the maximum benefit from them. Almond skins contain flavonoids, plant-based pigments with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, according to researchers who published a study in "Journal of Nutrition" in 2005. The flavonoids in almond skins worked with the almonds' vitamin E and C contents to increase antioxidant activity and lower the LDL cholesterol levels in hamsters, prompting the researchers to conclude that almonds may provide similar health benefits in humans.
Maia Appleby is a NASM-certified personal trainer with more than 15 years of experience in the fitness industry. Her articles have been published in a wide variety of print magazines and online publications, including the Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health, New Moon Network and Bodybuilding.com.