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Almonds come as whole, blanched, slivered, flaked, and ground. And their culinary versatility is matched by their ample health benefits.

Why you should add almonds

Like all nuts, almonds are one of nature’s superfoods. If you eat them regularly, they can lower your risk of heart attack and type 2 diabetes, and they can even make it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight.

  • Eating 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of almonds daily can reduce bad LDL cholesterol by almost 10 percent, and that’s a 1 percent reduction for every 0.25 ounces (7 grams) you consume. More importantly, almonds prevent cholesterol from becoming oxidized, so it’s less likely to become sticky and block your arteries.
  • Adding almonds to your meals dampens the blood sugar surge after eating, and research suggests that the more you add the better. Even for people with well-controlled diabetes, the regular use of almonds can lower their blood sugar reading over three months.
  • Despite being high in fat, almonds don’t cause you to put on weight, and they help to blunt appetite. Tests show that overweight adults who included 3 ounces (85 grams) of almonds daily as part of a low calorie diet had 62 percent greater weight loss than those who didn’t!
  • How they work

    Almonds provide strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and even prebiotic benefits, meaning they can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in your intestines, especially if you keep their skin on. They’re packed with nutrients such as monounsaturated fats, vitamin E (31 ounces [879 grams] provide almost 70 percent of the daily requirement), plant sterols, plant protein including arginine (there’s a little more than 2 ounces [57 grams] per handful), calcium, and multiple phytonutrients like polyphenols that work collectively for maximum health benefits.

    Ways to use more

    Unless you have an allergy, include at least 1 ounce (28 grams, or about 20 almonds) daily. If you find them hard, simply soak them in water for 8 to 12 hours.

    Enjoy almonds as snacks, in cereals, or tossed in salads and stir-fries. Spread their butter on bread instead of margarine, and use their “flour” to create moist, flourless cakes!

    Nutritionist Sue Radd is the award-winning author of The Breakfast Book and coauthor of Eat to Live, internationally acclaimed for showing how savvy eating can combat cancer and heart disease and improve well- being. See for more nutrition information

Food Matters: Add Some Almonds

by Sue Radd
From the October 2015 Signs