Guest post by Charna Sheinfeld, Nutrition Intern
They are one of the seemingly contradictory foods because they high in fat but extremely good for our health. What am I referring to? Almonds of course! Now that I am a nursing mother, I not only think about my own health, but I also need to take my little baby’s nutrition into consideration. One of the foods that I find really helps with the quantity and quality of my milk and contributes to my own health, are almonds. So naturally, I am busy coming up with various ways I can incorporate them into my diet besides just enjoying them as a delicious snack.
Almonds are unique because of their combination of high levels of protein, healthy fats, fiber and important nutrients such as vitamin E, copper, and magnesium. Although they are known to be very high in fat, the fat that they contain is called monounsaturated fat, which is associated with reducing levels of LDL cholesterol and therefore reduce risk of heart disease. In addition, heart health is improved through almonds’ high levels of Vitamin E, an antioxidant, as well as large amounts of magnesium and potassium. Magnesium allows arteries to relax and allows for the smooth flow of oxygen and nutrients through the blood. Potassium is an electrolyte involved in nerve transmission and contraction of all muscles and therefore is vital for maintaining good blood pressure and heart function.
Almonds have also been found to reduce diabetes risk by decreasing post meal rises in blood sugar levels. There are also over twenty types of antioxidants found in almonds, specifically in the skins, that have been found to improve heart health as well as contribute to healthy skin and hair.
Do not fear almonds because of their high fat levels, because studies show that eating a serving of nuts twice a week is associated with weight loss. Almonds can be consumed in a myriad of ways. They can be eaten plain as a snack, made into butter to spread on healthy crackers, made into flour for a gluten-free option, and used slivered over a salad for a satisfying crunch.
Check out my two new recipes below where I used them ground over salmon and slivered over baked pears!