With the increasing popularity of nuts and non-dairy milks, I thought I'd explore them in more detail and give you the heads-up on the various types of nuts and given A is for almonds, why not start with these little gems?
Almonds are absolutely amazeballs when it comes to nutrients. They are rich in:
riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
“good” unsaturated fats
They also contain calcium, iron and niacin (vitamin B3) and are salt-free, cholesterol free and low in sugar. The vitamin E levels in one ounce (28g) of almonds is impressive; around 50% of the RDI (recommended daily intake). Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps our cells fight damage from free radicals; caused by pollution, the UV rays of the sun and environmental pollutants. In a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, findings revealed that a one-ounce serving of almonds contains a comparable amount of total polyphenols (micronutrients found in plant foods packed with antioxidants and many other health benefits such as assisting in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases) as one cup of green tea and one cup of steamed broccoli.(1)
Riboflavin is abundant in almonds, at 23% of our RDI necessary for energy production, function, growth, and development of our cells and metabolism of fats, drugs, and steroids.
Almonds contain both types of fibre, soluble and insoluble, with 4g in a 1 ounce serve. Soluble fibre can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and control blood sugar levels whilst the insoluble variety can bulk up stools, helping the motility of our digestive tract.
A recent review has shown almonds to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is a known risk factor for coronary heart disease( CHD) and maintain high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.For optimal results the authors concluded that 45g daily delivers the most desirable results to help reduce dyslipidemia and thus the risk of CHD.(2)
The magnesium content in a 1 ounce serve of almonds is around 20% of our RDI. Where to start with the health benefits of magnesium??!! In a nutshell (pun intended!) we require this magnificent mineral for over 300 enzymatic reactions in our body, from protein synthesis, optimal muscle and nerve function and control of blood glucose and blood pressure, just to name a few (a whoooole other blog post on Mag coming soon).
Almond milk is a popular alternative to dairy and increasing in popularity. Essentially it is ground almonds and water (and super easy to make), however many commercial varieties have thickeners, flavourings, preservatives and other chemicals to enhance shelf life so be mindful of this and choose unsweetened and unflavoured options when possible.
As with all foods and in particular, nuts, which can create food intolerances if you ingest too many and can also be inflammatory for some people, please don't overdo it. One ounce (28g) is approximately 1/4 cup (not a huge handful!), so have a mixture of nuts and nut milks and create diversity in your diet and your microbiome.
So...get nutty...but not too much. #lifemantra
References available on request