Could eating almonds save your life? Studies show eating one ounce of nuts (23 almonds) daily can reduce your risk of heart disease. In fact several of the largest cohort studies show a consistent 30-50% lower risk of heart attack, sudden cardiac death, and cardiovascular disease from eating nuts several times each week.
Different nuts offer many different health benefits. Almonds are a great source of protein, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, calcium, fiber, and healthy unsaturated fat. At 160 calories per ounce, almonds make a satisfying snack, reduce food cravings, and can help prevent overeating later on.
Studies show people who ate 1 to 1.5 ounces of almonds daily were more successful at losing weight and decreasing abdominal fat mass. Other studies indicated improvements in LDL “bad” cholesterol. Almonds have also been shown to decrease blood sugar levels after a meal and promote a healthy GI tract with their prebiotic properties.
Raw, unsalted almonds are the healthiest. Steer clear of almonds roasted in oil or with lots of added sugar or salt. Chocolate covered almonds may sound tasty but they are not the best for you.
Grabbing several handfuls of nuts daily is not recommended either. Just one small handful of nuts can have 160-180 calories, which can add up to 18 pounds of weight gain or more in a year if you don’t cut back on something else. Weight gain increases heart disease risk and may outweigh the health benefits nuts provide.
If portion control is a problem look for individually portioned 100 calorie packs of nuts at your grocery store, or make your own by counting out 14 almonds and placing them into zip lock bags.