Nuts are excellent sources of protein, heart-healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. They are basically tiny powerhouses chock-full of nutrients for your body to fuel up on. Great, right? But just how are nuts a beneficial food for your health? And what about specific types of nuts? We’re going to unpack the nutrient value in almonds, letting you know how it stands out from the pack and why you might want to make sure to include them in your diet.
Packed with Protein
A serving of almonds is one ounce, or about 24 almonds. Per serving, almonds pack one of the highest protein contents (6 grams), in comparison to other nuts. Protein is an important nutrient to include at meals and snacks throughout the day, as it helps to keep you full and maintain muscle mass. Because almonds are packed with satisfying protein along with stomach-filling fiber, they could aid in both weight loss, keeping a healthy weight, and healthy blood sugar levels.
An easy way to add almonds to your diet is swapping in almond milk, but be sure to check the label first. Several common brands of almond milk list only 1 gram of protein per serving. Elmhurst™ uses a unique process referred to as HydroRelease™ to generate its almond milk, resulting in a product that contains more of the original nutrient content. It maintains 5 grams of protein and 18 almonds per 8-ounce serving. This means you’ll still end up consuming a good source of protein in a glass of Elmhurst Milked Almonds™ or Unsweetened Milked Almonds™ and can count on it to fill you up and help your muscle-building goals.
What Else is in an Almond?
Almonds take the lead when it comes to their content of vitamin E. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant, meaning that it protects our bodies from damage caused by exposure to pollution, ultraviolet light, cigarette smoke, and normal body processes. Including a variety of antioxidant-rich foods– such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans- is the best way to utilize their protective benefits.
For those who don’t consume dairy foods, a common source of calcium, a serving of almonds includes 76mg of calcium and can help to contribute to your overall daily needs (1,000 mg/day for most adults). Almonds are also a rich source of potassium, a mineral needed by your body to properly function and helps to moderate the harmful effects of sodium. Milked Almonds maintains much of the benefits of almonds here with 160 mg of potassium per serving. Almonds also contain magnesium, riboflavin, and niacin – vitamins and minerals which are essential for the body to perform functions like turning food into fuel and regulating blood sugar levels.
And as if they weren’t good enough already, almonds are a rich source of mono and polyunsaturated fats. Often called the “heart-healthy fats”, mono and polyunsaturated fats work to improve cholesterol levels and ultimately, can help provide protection against heart disease. Elmhurst Milked Almonds provides 10 grams of heart-healthy fat per serving, in comparison to 2 grams often listed.
Get ‘em In!
So how can we make sure we’re reaping the benefits of these nutty powerhouses?
A great way to start is by making little swaps or additions to your daily routine. Exchange your typical mid-morning snack for a handful of almonds. Chop or crush them up and top your oatmeal or yogurt for added protein and flavor. Exchange your croutons for slivered or chopped almonds on salads or top your roasted veggies for the added crunch. Have a glass of Milked Almonds or use it to make your oatmeal or a smoothie in the morning. You can even make your own almond flour or almond butter by blending them in a food processor.
But don’t get carried away! While packed with great nutrition, almonds are high in calories, meaning it’s important to watch your portion size when including them in your diet. If you’re able to count out a serving size in advance, try portioning them out in snack-sized baggies or if you’re on the go, a small to medium-sized handful will probably keep you pretty close to a healthy portion. If you’re drinking Elmhurst Milked Almonds, 8 ounces (or one cup) is a healthy serving size to stick with.
Take it Away!
So what’s the main takeaway on all of this? Including portioned amounts of almonds, or Milked Almonds, in your diet can help you get many needed nutrients like protein, heart-healthy fats, and potassium, while protecting your body from potential disease.
And bonus – 80% of the world’s almonds, including all almonds used by Elmhurst, are produced in California where the California Almond Board is constantly working towards implementing more sustainable farming methods, meaning almonds are good for both our bodies and our planet! You can learn more about it on their website – www.almonds.com
Looking to try Milked Almonds or Unsweetened Milked Almonds for yourself? You can find both at a wide range of stores or order either variety through Elmhurst’s online shop and have it delivered to your home.
Dana Ingebretson, MS, RD, CDN, is director of nutrition services for G-Health Enterprises, a healthcare system in Buffalo, NY, where she provides multiple services ranging from cooking classes to individual consults. Outside of work, Dana enjoys volunteering in the community and trying out new restaurants.
*The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author