Almonds' popularity spans thousands of years. Ancient cultures considered them delicacies, and it's no wonder why. Almonds are not only flavorful and nutritious, but also versatile, making their way into cookies, salads, crackers, bread and other dishes. Just a handful of almonds a day can help keep you healthy.
Although almonds are high in fat, they're actually good for your heart because they contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are associated with reduced risk of heart disease. A 1-ounce serving, which is about 23 nuts, contains 14 grams of total fat. According to MayoClinic.com, the "good" fats in nuts like almonds are thought to lower bad cholesterol levels. Almonds also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent irregular heart beats that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
The carbohydrate content of almonds is low. A 1-ounce serving, which is about 23 nuts, contains 6.14 grams of carbohydrate. Almonds are also gluten free and full of fiber. If you're watching your carb intake or on a gluten-free diet, almond flour, which is made from ground, skinless almonds, makes an excellent baking alternative to wheat flour.
Almonds are a source of insoluble fiber. A 1-ounce serving contains 3.5 grams. Fiber, unlike protein, fat and carbohydrate, can't be digested and absorbed by your body. Instead, it travels through your digestive system aiding the movement of waste through your colon, which helps prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber also helps keep blood sugar levels stable by slowing sugar absorption in your body, which helps prevent Type 2 diabetes. According to Harvard School of Public Health, a high intake of dietary fiber has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Almonds are low in sugar and are a good source of the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, which helps protect your body's cells from damage. They contain 6.02 grams of protein per ounce. These small nuts are also cholesterol and sodium free; high in manganese, which helps form bones; rich in magnesium, which is needed for your body's chemical reactions; and a good source of calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth. An ounce, or about 1/3 cup, of almonds contains about 160 calories.
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- University of California: San Francisco: Diabetes Education Online: Food Exhange Lists
- Le Cordon Bleu: Culinary Central: Five Alternatives to Wheat Flour
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