The “health nuts” amongst us seem to be going nuts about almonds. Seriously. A nut such as an almond really is a life-source. It provides nutrition for the growth of a new tree. No wonder they are gathered by squirrels and devoured by birds, as these animals instinctively recognise them as nutritious food.
Humans adore almonds too. Perhaps we are also attracted to nuts, as animals are, due to their high nutritional values. With plant-based foods trending and vegans on the rise, almonds are becoming a staple in many people’s diet, as a valuable protein source.
Count on almonds for good nutrition
Almonds are great sources of energy, protein, fibre, healthy fats and micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Even though they can be expensive, they are valuable in terms of the nutritional value they can add to your diet.
- Almonds can make a valuable contribution to your daily protein intake.
- Protein is needed to build, maintain and repair muscle mass, and supports growth in children.
- We should consume dietary fibre daily to support healthy digestive function and to help prevent constipation.
- Almonds are rich in fibre, so snacking on a few almonds every day could make a valuable contribution to your fibre intake.
- Almonds contain oils that support heart health, another reason to snack on them, especially if you want to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level.
- Almond oil is rich in the mono-unsaturated fatty acids, better known as the omega-9 fatty acids.
- In a vegan diet that excludes dairy, it is hard to get adequate amounts of calcium.
- Almonds provide a concentrated source of calcium to support healthy bones and teeth.
- Muscle growth and physical activity demands higher intakes of magnesium.
- Almonds are very rich in magnesium, making them an ideal snack for active people and growing children.
Tame your appetite with almonds
Obesity and related health problems are on the rise in South Africa. In South Africa, a shocking 7 in 10 women and 4 in 10 men are overweight or obese.
A recent international study indicated this problem was increasing in children too, with 13% of South African children being overweight or obese, towering above a global average of 5%.
A number of studies have indicated the effect of eating almonds on satiety, which can support weight control. In short, snacking on small portions of almonds in between meals may reduce the consumption of unhealthy snacks and overeating at meal times.
In the mood for a snack? Pack 12 almonds into a tiny plastic container to take to work or college; also ideal for your child’s lunchbox.
Twelve almonds add up to only 350 kilojoules, about a third of what you would find in a muesli bar.
Almond milk as a dairy-free milk option has invaded our culinary hotspots and coffee shops. Health conscious consumers are looking for dairy-free milk options for health reasons (such as lactose intolerance and veganism), as well as following the plant-based diet trend that happens to support environmental awareness.
Read your labels! Almond milks worldwide have been slammed for their misleading claims, with many almond milk products containing a mere 2% almonds! The nutritional quality of your almond milk will be determined by the amount of almonds in the formula, so when you shop around for almond milk, make sure to compare those labels.
Meet almond’s cost-effective cousin, the peanut
Adding almonds into your diet as a daily plant-based protein, you may find your food budget may not stretch until the end of the month. Other tree nuts, the brothers and sisters of almonds, don’t offer as much help as the cost-effective cousin: peanuts. There is often a massive price difference between almonds and peanuts.
At half the price, you would expect half the nutritional value? Think again! Peanuts pack the punch, providing 20% more protein than almonds. Peanuts, unlike almonds and other tree nuts, are classified as legumes and their nutritional value is often overlooked. Even though almonds come out tops in delivering valuable nutrients such as fibre, calcium and magnesium, peanuts surprise with their higher content of iron and protein – important nutrients for growing children.
Get your almond-yum on!
Snack-it: Of course you can snack on them as they are, but why miss out on the chocolate action? Look out for cocoa-dusted or chocolate-covered almonds. Delicious… and, above all, very nutritious!
Breakfast Booster: Sprinkle a few almonds into your porridge, cereal or yoghurt. They add a nice CRUNCH and add lots of nutrients.
Oh-so-smoothie: You can add whole almonds into your smoothies (about 1 tablespoon per serving), or opt for almond milk to replace milk or yoghurt.
Catch a wake-up: Dreamy-creamy… with a kick! That is the best way to describe an almond milk cappuccino or latte. Substitute milk with almond milk in your next cup of coffee and see for yourself!