Spotlight on: Almonds
Almonds are a convenient, tasty snack, and the base for many raw vegan desserts, drinks, and smoothies. I’m about to tell you why they’re such a good choice…
Basic Nutritional Information:
Almonds are low in cholesterol and sodium
Almonds are a good source of:
- Complex Carbohydrates (carbs that are absorbed slowly)
- Vitamin E
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
(Information from nutritiondata.com)
- Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis (the hardening of arteries). This may be due to the LDL cholesterol-lowering effects of monounsaturated fats. (LDL is the form of cholesterol that has been linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease).
Vitamin E and Antioxidant Activity:
- In a study in the Journal of Nutrition, 20 potent antioxidants were identified in almond skins. Teamed up with the Vitamin E in the almond’s “meat”, the antioxidant activity was found to be more than doubled. (So eat your almonds raw with the skins on!)
- The link between decreased risk of heart disease and almonds may be partly due to the antioxidant action of the vitamin E and the antioxidants in the skins.
- 1/4 cup of almonds contains almost 99 mg of magnesium (24.7% of the daily value for this mineral)
- Magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker. (Calcium channel blockers as medications are used to lower blood pressure). When the body has enough magnesium, veins and arteries relax. This lessens resistance and improves blood flow, making it easier to transport oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Studies show that a deficiency of magnesium is associated not only with heart attack, but it also increases the risk of injury to the heart immediately after heart attack.
- 1/4 cup of almonds contains 257 mg of potassium.
- Potassium is an important electrolyte involved in nerve transmission and muscle contraction. This includes the heart muscle. Potassium is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function.
- Almonds are a great source of protein: 1/4 cup contains 7.62 grams-giving you more protein than the typical egg, which contains 5.54 grams.
- In my humble opinion, almonds taste better than eggs and don’t make your kitchen smell funny. But…that’s just me. This isn’t really a scientific fact about almonds or anything.
Manganese and Copper:
- Manganese and Copper are trace minerals that are essential for the activity of an enzyme that works within the mitochindria (the “powerhouse” or “energy factory” of our cells- remember that from high school science class?). This enzyme, superoxide dismutase, reduces free radical activity in the mitochondria, thus improving our energy. (If you want to better understand free radicals and antioxidants, you can read my post about free radicals and antioxidants)
(Information from: WHFoods.com)
Almonds make me happy.
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