Everything About Almonds: Nutrition, Benefits, Allergy, Diet
Looking for an Ultimate Guide to Almonds for your Kids? You have come to the right place. Almonds, often referred to as the ‘king of nuts,’ are one of the healthiest snack options for kids. They are rich in minerals, vitamins, fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Almonds offer natural goodness in every bite and help create various delectable.
In the quest for healthy snacks, a survey led by a global market research company named “Ipsos” found that nearly 83 percent of parents feel that consuming almonds will make their children remain more energetic throughout the day.
Almonds are ranked the best among dry fruits conferring health benefits in young children such as brain development, enhanced energy, accurate blood pressure, stronger bones, and more. Almonds are a must for children as they are loaded with essential nutrients that a child needs in his growing years. Here is your ultimate guide to all things Almonds.
Ultimate Guide: What are Almonds?
Almonds are commonly mistaken for nuts, but they are actually seeds. They are technically drupe fruit with a fleshy fruit exterior and a pit on the inside. Almonds come from the almond tree (Prunus dulcis; Prunus amygdalus).
Almond trees do not grow much taller than 30 feet (9 meters). They bloom in early spring. The fruits look like peaches, but they are smaller and flatter. Inside each fruit is a pit or nut. The nut has a hard shell surrounding a seed. The seed is the part that people eat.
Almond trees are native to North Africa, West Asia, and the Mediterranean. However, countries like the United States, Spain, Greece, Iran, Turkey, and Italy are major almond producers worldwide.
Almonds come in two varieties, sweet and bitter. Sweet almonds are used in many dishes, including desserts and garnishes. They can also be processed into essential oils or extracts. Bitter almonds are also used in cooking and must be blanched before eating to reduce their bitter taste and remove their toxins (prussic acid).
Ultimate Guide: Nutritional Profile of Almonds
Almonds are very popular nutrient-dense tree nuts. Almonds are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, protein, and essential nutrients.
One ounce of almonds (approximately 28g or 24 almonds) provides the following nutrients:
Protein: 6g (10% of the RDA)
Fat: 14g (80% monounsaturated, 15% polyunsaturated, and 5% saturated)
Vitamin E: 7.7mg (37% of the RDA)
Manganese: 0.6mg (32% of the RDA)
Magnesium: 57mg (19% of the RDA)
Calcium: 73.9mg (7% of the RDA)
Iron: 1.1mg (6% of the RDA)
Copper: 0.3mg (14% of the RDA)
Zinc: 0.9 mg (6% of the RDA)
Niacin: 0.9 mg (5% of the RDA)
Potassium: 197mg (6% of the RDA)
Phosphorus: 136mg (14% of the RDA)
Riboflavin: 0.3mg (17% of the RDA)
Almonds are a calorie-rich food, providing 164 calories per ounce. Most calories come from healthy fats, with smaller amounts from carbohydrates and protein. If you are wondering how many almonds you can eat in day, here is the answer.
Almonds are a good source of fiber and have a lower glycemic index than many other nuts, making them a good choice for people on low-carb diets.
Almonds are high-fat foods, providing about 22% of the recommended daily amount of fat in a single ounce. However, most of the fat found in almonds is monounsaturated fat, which has cardio-protective properties.
Almonds are a good source of plant-based protein, containing small amounts of essential and non-essential amino acids. There are 6 grams of protein in an ounce of almonds.
Vitamins and Minerals:
One ounce of almonds contains 37% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin E, 8% of the daily recommended amount of calcium, and 6% of the daily recommended amount of iron.
Vitamin E confers antioxidant properties and supports immune function. Calcium is important for maintaining the structure of teeth and bones. Iron helps in the production of certain hormones and getting oxygen to muscles.
Almonds are a rich source of manganese and magnesium. Manganese plays an important role in carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol metabolism. Magnesium is involved in over 300 metabolic pathways, including energy production, protein synthesis, cell signaling, and structural functions like bone formation.
Ultimate Guide: Health Benefits of Almonds for Kids
Almonds are widely promoted as a “superfood” for the nutritional and health benefits they provide. Recent studies have provided insights into how consuming almonds may affect your kid’s health.
1. Almonds Support Healthy Brain Function
Almonds are often considered one of the best brain foods. It contains riboflavin and L-carnitine, two key nutrients capable of positively affecting neurological activity and preventing cognitive decline.
Recent studies show that almonds can help improve memory, fight neurological diseases and protect against age-associated cognitive dysfunction. Eating a handful of almonds can reduce the risk of developing brain disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Almonds Help Control Blood Sugar Levels and Prevent Diabetes
Almonds contain a high amount of magnesium, a mineral involved in more than 300 bodily processes, including blood sugar control and improved insulin function. Recent studies show that eating an ounce of almonds on a daily basis increases insulin sensitivity in the body. Also, the intake of high-magnesium foods such as almonds may offer significant improvements for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, both of which are major health problems.
3. Almonds Can Lower Cholesterol Levels
High levels of LDL lipoproteins in your blood — also known as “bad” cholesterol — are a well-known risk factor for heart disease. Your diet can have major effects on LDL levels. Recent studies have shown that almonds can help lower total cholesterol levels by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and raising HDL (good cholesterol). Eating one or two handfuls of almonds per day can lead to mild reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol, potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
4. Almonds Help Prevent Heart Diseases and Stroke
Almonds are rich in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and antioxidants that support heart health and prevent factors of cardiovascular disease. It specifically supplies antioxidant flavonoids, plant-based compounds in the skin of almonds that work with vitamin E to improve artery health and reduce inflammation.
Almonds also contain vital nutrients for heart health, including magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium, and potassium. It helps prevent damage from forming within artery walls and protect against dangerous plaque buildup. Almonds are also known to support healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, in addition to fighting weight gain and obesity — three of the most significant risk factors associated with heart attacks and stroke.
5. Almonds Are Loaded With Antioxidants
Almonds are a fantastic source of vitamin E and other antioxidants. Vitamin E is a family of fat-soluble antioxidants. These antioxidants build up in cell membranes in your body and help protect against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in your cells and contribute to inflammation, aging, and diseases like cancer. Several studies have linked higher vitamin E intake with lower heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease rates.
The powerful antioxidants in almonds are primarily concentrated in the brown layer of the skin. For this reason, blanched almonds (those with skin removed) are not the best choice from a health perspective.
6. Almonds Help Maintains Skin Health
Almonds are a great source of vitamin E and other antioxidants that nourish the skin and reduce signs of aging. Recent studies show that almonds contain high concentrations of catechin, epicatechin, and flavonol antioxidants, including quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin. These compounds fight skin cancer and damage by reversing oxidative stress from a poor diet, pollution, and UV light exposure. Almonds’ healthy fats, plus their ability to improve circulation, also help keep skin hydrated and better able to heal wounds.
7. Almonds Improve Digestive or Gut Health
Almonds (especially the skin of almonds) contain probiotic components that help with digestion, detoxification, and healthy bacterial growth within the microbiota/gut flora.
They can positively affect the gastrointestinal tract, reduce acid buildup, and balance the body’s pH. A healthy pH level is crucial for proper digestion, immunity, and disease prevention.
8. Almonds Help Maintain Dental and Bone Health
Almonds are a good source of trace minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which play a role in building and maintaining strong teeth and bones. Due to their high mineral content, almonds help prevent tooth decay, fight cavities, lower the risk for bone fractures and fight osteoporosis.
9. Almonds Can Help Fight Cancer and Inflammation
Almonds contain gamma-tocopherol, a type of vitamin E that acts as a powerful antioxidant. Thus, almonds fight free radical damage and oxidative stress linked to cancer. Many studies find a link between nut consumption and cancer prevention, including a reduced risk for colon, prostate, and breast cancers.
10. Almonds Aid in Weight Loss
Almonds contain healthy fats and dietary fiber, which can make you feel full after eating and keep your blood sugar more stable than low-fat meals: this curbs overeating and unhealthy snacking. Recent studies show that almonds support a healthy metabolism. Due to their satiating properties, almonds are a great addition to an effective weight-loss diet.
Ultimate Guide: Allergy Disclaimer for Almonds
If one fact is to be included in this ultimate guide for sure, it is that Almonds are tree nuts. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, tree nut allergies are one of the eight most common food allergies that affect around 3% of people worldwide. Consuming tree nuts such as almonds can cause allergic reactions ranging from mild to severe. One reason for an allergic reaction is that the body may identify almond proteins as foreign. It can happen when tiny particles leak into the bloodstream during digestion, triggering an immune response that can cause inflammation. People with a tree nut allergy will also be allergic to food products made with these nuts, such as nut butter and oils. Most people experience allergy symptoms just after a few hours of eating them. Below are the most common symptoms of almond allergy:
1. Skin and Mouth
Symptoms involving the skin are usually the most typical food allergy reactions. If you have an almond allergy, you may develop red spots on the skin (hives) or an itchy skin rash (eczema or atopic dermatitis)after eating almonds. Most of the time, these symptoms appear within an hour of exposure.
Oral allergy syndrome is another common allergic reaction involving the mouth. An itchy mouth or throat is one of the most common allergy symptoms. Sometimes, the tongue may also swell up.
2. Respiratory Tract and Gastrointestinal Systems
Almond allergy symptoms involving the respiratory tract usually include getting a stuffy or runny nose. Many also report an itchy or tingly sensation in the nose. In children, allergy symptoms can also be linked to asthma.
Gastrointestinal symptoms include stomach cramps or stomach pain, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms typically occur pretty quickly after eating almonds.
Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical intervention. It can impair breathing and cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. If not treated right away, it can result in unconsciousness or death.
Anaphylaxis can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to an almond. The symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Pale or blue-colored skin
- Swollen neck and itchiness and tightness of the throat
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
- Dizziness with low blood pressure
- Partial or complete loss of consciousness
The best way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid eating almonds altogether. While being allergic to almonds may not mean you are allergic to other types of tree nuts, consult your doctor to see if it would be best if you just avoided them altogether.
How to Include Almonds in Your Child’s Diet
Almonds are loaded with many nutrients, and they are very versatile. Here are some great ways to include them in your child’s diet:
- You can give your kids 2-3 almonds daily or add them to different food preparations such as salads, cookies, cakes, etc.
- If your child is too young and cannot eat almonds as a whole, you can soak them in water for a while or even powder them. Then mix the almond powder with the milk, as it will give a nice flavor to the milk, and your child will love it.
- Almonds are a great dairy alternative. You can buy almond milk and yogurt from most stores and supermarkets. You can pour the almond milk into your cereals or add it to smoothies and milkshakes.
- Almond butter is one of those brilliant inventions that was once confined to health food stores, but now we find it everywhere we turn. Use it as you would peanut butter: on a sandwich, with celery sticks and apple slices and stirred into your oatmeal.
Almonds have been considered a ‘super-food‘ for ages, and kids and people of all ages love them. They provide a range of essential nutrients and can be a good source of protein for people who follow a plant-based diet. One ounce of almonds contains one-eighth of a human’s daily protein requirement. Almonds are a calorie-rich food, providing 164 calories per single ounce. You only need to eat a small amount of them to see their benefits. They are both filling and versatile, and people can incorporate them into their diet in many ways. The top nine health benefits of eating almonds regularly are preventing heart disease, supporting brain function, maintaining skin health, preventing diabetes, assisting weight loss, supporting digestive health, fighting inflammation and cancer, and maintaining bone health.
An almond allergy is a set of symptoms experienced after coming in contact with almonds. Consuming almonds can cause allergic reactions in some people ranging from mild to severe. Most people experience allergy symptoms just after a few hours of eating them. People with a nut allergy should avoid eating almonds or any almond-based products. If you regularly experience any allergy symptoms, you may want to consult your doctor!