This week’s food of choice is one that nearly everyone is familiar with and “knows” is good for them, but do they really know why? Lets find out.
Today we talk about Almonds. Almonds are fantastic little nuts that provide us with tons of nutrients that you can see just from reading the nutrition label. They are high in the heart healthy monounsaturated fat that has made the Mediterranean diet famous. They are also low in carbohydrates and sugar, high in fiber and a decent source of protein. These things are evident, but what else makes this little food so great?
Almonds are also known to be a great souce of vitamin E. Vitamin comes in a few forms, called tocopherols, the most commonly known being alpha tocopherol. Unfortunately most common does not mean most beneficial (though alpha is not bad, its has tons of benefits, it is just over prescribed). This is where almonds come in. The vitamin E contained in almonds is not just from alpha tocopherol, but from the little known gamma tocopherol. Gamma tocopherol has been shown to neutralize many dangerous free radicals that alpha tochopherol simply has no effect on. These specific free radicals are known to damage cellular membranes and oxidize LDL. It is also a COX inhibitor, which is what NSAIDS do, making it an even more powerful anti-inflammatory. There is also evidence showing an inverse relationship with blood levels of gamma tocopherol and cardiovascular disease and cancer risk, the more gamma you have the lower your risk. Too much alpha tocopherol will actually decrease the amount of gamma tocopherol in the blood and tissues, so maintaining a balance is incredibly important. This is some pretty powerful and interesting stuff.
Moving into a totally different direction, there is evidence to show that almonds can aid in weight loss. Replacing calories in the diet with an equal number of calories from almonds has been shown to help people lose weight. It is thought to be, and this is pretty solid, that it is because we do not actually absorb all of the calories from tree nuts like almonds, and even to a degree, though less, their butters. It is estimated that we only absorb about 80% of the calories listed for almonds and the like.Though this doesn’t mean you should eat extra!
To top it all off almonds are a decent source of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. They are also wonderful at controlling blood sugar. In the end, this is a great snack food that can easily be incorporated into everyone’s diet (unless you have a tree nut allergy, which sucks, sorry). Enjoy.
Check out the BSP Training & Nutrition Newsletter!
You will get immediate access to:
- Weekly updates and exclusive content.
- The 20-page report "The Truth About Saturated Fat & Cholesterol."
- Become more awesome!