Almonds and Gamma Rays?

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

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.

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Posted on February 10th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

16 Comments

  1. Weight Loss » Blog Archive » Almonds and Gamma Rays? Says:

    [...] Original post by The Home of Brian St. Pierre Training [...]

  2. Kevin Says:

    Brian-

    This is really interesting stuff. Thanks. I was wondering, does roasting almonds have any effect on their nutritional value?

  3. Danny Says:

    As far as roasted almonds vs. raw — if roasted properly at a lower temperature (170 degrees) no damage is done. Higher temps can affect the nuts’ delicate fats.

    Also, another product that is related — but not a replacement for almonds by any means…. try Unsweetened Almond Milk — only 40 calories in a cup, 1 protein, 3 fat, 2 carbs, 1 fiber.
    http://www.bluediamond.com/shop/natural/almondBreeze32.cfm

  4. Matt Ellsworth Says:

    Brian,
    You keep telling me that foods I really like are awesome for me. Do I thank you or nature?

    I modified your cottage cheese recipe slightly from a couple posts back, it was still amazing as you said. I have also been having good luck with the Wholly Guacamole that you included in a Warp Speed post. I made an Om-wich out of it, and it can be seen at my blog http://mcmlxxxiv.wordpress.com/2009/02/11/da-clean-bulk/ .

    Oh, and thanks for the resource page, that is more than enough direction!

  5. Mike T Nelson Says:

    Good stuff Brian!
    I switched to a supplemental form that has Gamma E (and some tocotrienols too) in it awhile back and I like it. Anecdotal feedback from clients has been really good.

    Plus I just ate some almonds now—love them!

    Rock on
    Mike N

  6. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Kevin,

    Have to agree with Danny there.

  7. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Matt,

    Glad you are enjoying it. Good work on the recipe and keep reading!

  8. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Mike,

    Thanks for the feedback, keep up updated.

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