This nut is a protein-rich snack that promotes heart, gut and skin health

Almonds are a crunchy and delicious snack that comes in many forms. Whether whole, sliced, baked, blanched, or ground into butter or flour, almonds are a versatile ingredient that lends itself to everything from salads to snacks to desserts.

Not to mention there are tons of studies showing the benefits of this nut for your heart, blood sugar, muscles, gut, and more. If you’ve been avoiding nuts because of concerns about fat or calories, these facts about almonds will make you reconsider incorporating them into your diet.

Nutritional Facts of Almonds

One ounce of unsalted almonds has:

  • 160 calories
  • 6 grams protein
  • 14 grams fat
  • 6 grams of carbohydrates
  • 4 grams fiber (14% Daily Value (DV))
  • 7 mg Vitamin E (50% DV)
  • 77 mg magnesium (20% DV)

How many almonds should you eat every day?

One serving of almonds contains approximately 23 nuts.

Benefits of Almonds

Almonds have been widely studied for their role in a variety of conditions including heart disease, prediabetes and gut health. While saturated fat has been shown to increase cholesterol, unsaturated fat has a positive effect on cholesterol and other cardiovascular markers. A recent review of research suggests that eating almonds can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol, two factors that may reduce the risk of heart disease.

As a protein-rich snack, almonds have also been studied for their role in diabetes and insulin resistance. A 2023 randomized controlled trial found that eating just 20 grams (just less than an ounce) of almonds before each meal per day may help improve blood sugar control in adults with prediabetes and obesity. In this study, about half of the participants reversed prediabetes and restored normal blood sugar regulation.

Other studies show almonds are good for your gut. A 2022 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that gut microbes break down almonds to produce butyrate, a microbial product that has multiple health benefits, including relieving gastrointestinal disorders and helping to balance immunity system. Additionally, research shows that eating almonds increases stool output, suggesting they may aid digestive regularity.

Almond Side Effects and Risks

The amount of water required for almond growth has come under scrutiny. In the past, farmers used sprinklers or flood systems to irrigate crops. However, more recent practices include watering directly to the roots of the trees rather than across the field.

Between the 1990s and 2010s, almond growers reduced water use per pound of almonds by 33%. The California almond community, where 80% of the world’s almonds are grown, has committed to reducing the amount of water needed to grow almonds by an additional 20% by 2025. It’s also worth noting that almonds don’t require any more water than walnuts or pistachios.

Another concern with eating almonds is the fat and calorie content. In fact, the unsaturated fats in almonds are responsible for most of their health benefits. One ounce of almonds has the same calories as an ounce of pistachios and cashews, but fewer calories than equivalent amounts of Brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts and pine nuts.

Interesting facts about almonds

Almonds (and pistachios) have the highest protein content of all nuts

Although nuts are prized for their high-quality fats, some nuts also contain high amounts of protein. Almonds and pistachios contain 6 grams of protein per ounce, more than any other nut. Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pine nuts and walnuts contain 4 grams of protein per ounce, while other nuts contain less. This small increase in protein can help athletes and plant-based eaters meet their daily protein needs.

Eating almonds is good for your skin

Almonds have the highest vitamin E content of all nuts. This essential nutrient contributes to healthy skin. 2021 Randomized Controlled Trials in Nutrients The effects of eating 2 ounces of almonds per day versus nut-free snacks were observed. Researchers found that eating almonds every day for six months reduced wrinkles by 16% and skin pigmentation by 20%. Instead of buying expensive creams, try adding a handful of almonds to your daily routine to keep your skin healthy.

Almonds are a low-waste crop

Almonds grow on trees with a shell inside that is protected by a hull. The almonds inside are the only part of the nuts you buy from the store that you can snack on throughout the day. So what happens to the rest of the plant? Ship hulls can become livestock feed, eliminating the need to use resources to grow other crops for the animals. The shells became bedding for livestock. No part of the almond plant is wasted. In fact, the California Almond Community has committed to achieving zero waste in its orchards by 2025.

Healthy Almond Recipes

Almonds are included in the ingredients list of this featured recipe, adding a dose of nutrition to a satisfying, simple meal.

Valery Lomas/Courtesy of Valery Lomas

Gluten Free Chicken Piccata

Kevin Curry/Courtesy of Fit Men Cook

Quinoa salad with zucchini, scallions and almonds

Lauren Salcade/Lauren Salcade

Lemon Pasta with Brown Cream, Almonds and Arugula

David Malosh writes for The New York Times


Salted Almond Butter Cups

Samadada

Creamy Broccoli Salad

Ari Rosen

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