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The nutritional and health benefits of almonds: a healthy food choice



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Reprinted with permission from Food Science and Technology Bulletin: Functional Foods
(2009) 6 (4): 41–50; published by IFIS Publishing
The nutritional and health benefits of
almonds: a healthy food choice
David P. Richardson
DPR Nutrition Ltd, 34 Grimwade Avenue, Croydon, Surrey CR0 5DG, UK
Arne Astrup
Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen,
Roligshedsvej 30, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen, Denmark
Arnaud Cocaul
L’hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, 103 boulevard Saint Michel, 75005 Paris, France
Peter Ellis
Biopolymers Group, Department of Biochemistry, Franklin-Wilkins Building, Kings
College London, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NN, UK
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The nutritional and health benefits of almonds: a healthy
food choice
David P. Richardson
, Arne Astrup
, Arnaud Cocaul
and Peter Ellis
DPR Nutrition Limited, 34 Grimwade Avenue, Croydon, Surrey CR0 5DG, UK
Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Roligshedsvej 30, DK-1958
Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen, Denmark
ˆpital Pitie
`re, 103 boulevard Saint Michel, 75005 Paris, France
Biopolymers Group, Department of Biochemistry, Franklin-Wilkins Building, Kings College London, 150 Stamford
Street, London SE1 9NN, UK
Over the last decade, the research on the effects of almonds on reducing blood cholesterol levels and reduc-
tion of risk of heart disease has grown significantly. Emerging research on almonds also shows promising
health benefits linked to body weight control and diabetes. Almonds naturally contain high levels of monoun-
saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein and dietary fibre, as well as a variety of essential nutrients
including vitamin E and several trace elements. Almonds are very low in sodium and high in potassium, and
they contain a range of phytoprotective constituents. The available evidence also indicates that weight gain
may not be a concern when nuts are consumed in moderation, and that regular consumption of nuts can be
recommended in the context of a healthy balanced diet.
Keywords: almonds, nutrient density, heart health, weight control
1. Introduction
Almonds (Prunus dulcis; Gradziel 2009) are a nutrient-
dense food, and extensive research during the last decade
on the potential health benefits of almonds has linked con-
sumption patterns to reduced risk of chronic diseases such
as coronary heart disease (CHD) and type 2 diabetes, as
well as to weight maintenance and weight control. Tree
nuts such as almonds have been part of mankind’s diet
since pre-agricultural times and their popularity has con-
tinued to grow in modern times, either as snacks or as part
of a meal. Almonds can be eaten whole (fresh or roasted)
and in spreads like almond butter or they can be used in a
wide range of food products and recipes.
Almonds have complex food matrices containing
diverse nutrients and other phytoprotective substances that
favourably influence human physiology. All nuts are
energy dense and contain high levels of fat, but much of
this is unsaturated. However, there is still caution about
overt recommendations for nut consumption and a lack of
understanding and awareness of how nuts can fit into a
balanced diet.
The present article highlights that almonds are a rich
source of many essential nutrients including vitamin E and
several trace elements, that there is compelling evidence
that almonds have beneficial effects on the reduction of
plasma cholesterol levels and other heart disease risk fac-
tors, and that evidence is emerging which suggests that
almonds may have a positive role in healthy weight main-
tenance and weight loss.
2. The nutritional attributes of almonds
2.1 Almonds as a source of energy and
Almonds typically contain around 575 kcal per 100 g and
about 50% fat. However, the fatty acid composition of
almonds is beneficial because monounsaturated fatty acids
(MUFA) predominate and the saturated fat content (3.7 g
per 100 g almonds) is the lowest of all nuts. Table 1 shows
the nutrient composition of almonds. The total fat content
is made up of 62% MUFA and 24% of polyunsaturated
fatty acids (PUFA; Ros and Mataix 2006; Chen et al. 2006;
Food Science and Technology Bulletin: Functional Foods 6(4) 41–50
DOI: 10.1616/1476-2137.15765. Accepted 23 July 2009
ISSN 1476-2137 #IFIS Publishing 2009. All Rights Reserved
Table 1. Nutrient composition of almonds
Nutrient Unit Per 100 g
Per 30 g
RDA for
Amounts to meet criteria for
nutrient content claims in EU
in EU
(15% RDA
per 100 g)
(30% RDA
per 100 g)
Water g 4.70 1.41
Energy kcal 575 172
Protein g 21.22 6.37 See footnote d
Total fat g 49.42 14.83
Total sugars g 3.89 1.17 See footnote e
Dietary fibre g 12.20 3.66 See footnote f
Calcium mg 264 79 800 120.00 240.00 HIGH
Iron mg 3.72 1.12 14 2.10 4.20 SOURCE
Magnesium mg 268 80 375 56.25 112.50 HIGH
Phosphorus mg 484 145 700 105.00 210.00 HIGH
Potassium mg 705 211 2000 300.00 600.00 HIGH
Sodium mg 1 0 See footnote g
Zinc mg 3.08 0.92 10 1.50 3.00 HIGH
Copper mg 1.00 0.30 1 0.15 0.30 HIGH
Manganese mg 2.28 0.68 2 0.30 0.60 HIGH
Selenium mg 2.50 0.75 55 8.25 16.5
Thiamin mg 0.21 0.06 1.1 0.17 0.33 SOURCE
Riboflavin mg 1.01 0.30 1.4 0.21 0.42 HIGH
Niacin mg 3.38 1.01 16 2.40 4.80 SOURCE
Pantothenic acid mg 0.47 0.14 6 0.90 1.80
Vitamin B
mg 0.14 0.04 1.4 0.21 0.42
Folate mg 50 15 200 30.00 60.00 SOURCE
Vitamin A (retinol equivalent) mg 0 0 800 120 240
Vitamin E
a-Tocopherol mg 26.22 7.87 12.00 1.80 3.60 HIGH
b-Tocopherol mg 0.29 0.09
g-Tocopherol mg 0.65 0.19
d-Tocopherol mg 0.05 0.01
Saturated fats g 3.73 1.12
Monounsaturated fats g 30.89 9.27
18: 1 g 30.61 9.18
Polyunsaturated fats g 12.07 3.62
18: 2 g 12.06 3.62
Phytosterols mg 172 52
Stigmasterol mg 4 1
Campesterol mg 5 1
b-Sitosterol mg 132 40
Other phytosterols
mg 31 10
Amino acids
Lysine g 0.58 0.17
Arginine g 2.47 0.70
b-Carotene mg1 0
Total phenolics mg
418 125
Total flavonoids
23.89 7.17
Nutrient data obtained from the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21 (2008)
Regulation (EC) No. 2006 of the European Parliament/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20th December 2006 on nutrition and health
claims made on foods. Official Journal of the European Union 18.1.2007, L 12/3
Commission of the European Communities. 2008/100/EC. Commission Directive amending Council Directive 90/496/EC on nutrition labelling for foodstuffs as
regards recommended daily allowances, energy conversion factors and definitions. Official Journal of the European Union L285/9. 29.10.2008
Whole natural almonds contain 21.22 g protein per 100 g. On an energy basis, 21.22 4 kcal = 84.88 kcal protein calories are provided by 100 g almonds contain-
ing 575 kcal. Hence, 14.7% of the energy is derived from protein. Almonds can claim ‘natural source of protein’ under the new European legislation, which requires
at least 12% of the energy value of a food to be provided by protein
Whole natural almonds contain 3.89 g total sugars per 100 g. Almonds can claim ‘naturally low in sugars’ because they contain no more than 5 g sugars per 100 g
Whole natural almonds contain 12.20 g dietary fibre per 100 g, sufficient to claim ‘naturally high in fibre’ under the new European regulation, which requires at
least 6 g fibre per 100 g
Whole natural, unsalted almonds contain 1 mg sodium per 100 g, which is within the claim criteria for sodium free or salt free, namely that the food should contain
no more than 0.005 g sodium, or the equivalent value for salt, per 100 g
Other phytosterols include d5-avenasterol, sitostanol, campestanol, and other minor phytosterols
Expressed as gallic acid equivalents (Wu et al. 2004)
Determined from Butte, Carmel, Fritz, Nonpareil, Mission, Monterey, Padre and Price varieties and adjusted for their market contribution.
Ternus et al. 2009). The fatty acids from almonds are impor-
tant contributors to the beneficial health effects of frequent
nut consumption, namely reduced risk of cardiovascular dis-
ease and sudden cardiac death, lowering of blood choles-
terol, preservation or enhancement of low density lipopro-
tein (LDL) resistance to oxidation and improvement of
endothelial function (Ros and Mataix 2006; Griel and Kris-
Etherton 2006). The total protein content of almonds is
21.2%, making them a good source of plant protein, and the
proteins in almonds are high in arginine (Ahrens et al. 2005).
Almonds also contain around 3.9 g total sugars per 100 g,
and because they contain less than 5 g sugars per 100 g they
can be described as ‘naturally low in sugars’ under the new
European regulation on nutrition 1924/2006 on nutrition and
health claims (European Parliament and Council 2007).
2.2 Almonds are naturally high in fibre
Whole natural almonds contain around 12 g dietary fibre
per 100 g (Table 1), which is sufficient to claim ‘naturally
high in fibre’ under the new European regulation. There is
a general consensus based on epidemiological and human
intervention studies that dietary fibre from the plant cell
walls of foods such as whole grain cereals, vegetables,
legumes, fruits and nuts is associated with a range of
health benefits. These benefits include reduction in the risk
of developing CHD and diabetes and positive effects on
the digestive system, e.g. prebiotic effects. Plant cell walls
are supramolecular networks of cellulose, hemicelluloses,
pectic substances and non-carbohydrate components (e.g.
phenolic compounds), and they are the major source of
dietary fibre (Ellis et al. 2004). Different types of dietary
fibre can attenuate the rise in postprandial glycaemia and
lower plasma concentrations of cholesterol. Increasing the
intake of dietary fibre can also increase satiety and reduce
body weight gain over time. The addition of nuts such as
almonds to low calorie diets for weight loss may increase
satiation and result in incomplete intestinal absorption of
fat. These latter two effects may be due largely to the high
fibre and protein contents of nuts. Plant cell walls are known
to influence the rate and extent of lipid release from plant
food tissues during digestion, and the structural characteris-
tics of almond cell walls (dietary fibre) play an important
role (Ellis et al. 2004).
A typical serving of almonds (28–30 g) provides about
14% of the daily fibre requirement.
2.3 Micronutrients
Almonds are one of the most nutrient-rich forms of food
available (Blomhoff et al. 2006). Table 1 shows the vitamin
and mineral contents naturally present in whole almonds,
along with the nutrition claims that meet the conditions laid
down in the EU Regulation 1924/2006. Almonds are natu-
rally high in vitamin E, riboflavin (vitamin B
) and the
minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc,
copper and manganese.
2.4 Sodium and potassium content
From Table 1, it can be seen that almonds are essentially
sodium free and high in potassium. On the basis of the EU
nutrition claim criteria, almonds are naturally high in potas-
sium, naturally sodium free and fit well into low sodium/
high potassium diets.
2.5 Phytosterols and antioxidants
Tree nuts, including almonds, contain no dietary choles-
terol but are rich in the chemically related phytosterols, a
class of compounds that interfere with cholesterol absorp-
tion and thus help maintain healthy blood cholesterol
levels. The most abundant phytosterols in plants are cam-
Table 2. Phytosterol content of nuts in mg/100 g edible portion*
b-Sitosterol Campesterol Stigmasterol 5-Avenasterol
Almonds 132
120 199
Brazil nuts nd 66 nd 2 nd 6 14 nd 95
Cashews nd 113 nd 9 nd 1 14 158 150
Hazelnuts 89 102 6 7 1 2 3 96 121
Macadamia nuts 108 144 8 10 0 nd 13 116 187
Peanuts, dry roasted nd 77 nd 13 nd 12 18 nd 137
Pecans 89 117 5 6 3 3 15 102 157
Pine nuts nd 132 nd 20 nd 1 40 141 236
Pistachios 198 210 10 10 5 2 26 214 279
Walnuts 64 89 7 5 1 nd 7 72 113
*Sources: adapted from Segura et al. (2006)
nd, not determined
US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21
Phillips et al. (2005).
43The nutritional and health benefits of almonds: a healthy food choice D.P. Richardson et al.
pesterol, b-sitosterol, 5-avenasterol and stigmasterol. The
phytosterol content of nuts is shown in Table 2. The cho-
lesterol-lowering efficacy of nuts in human studies has
often been higher than predicted on the basis of fatty acid
exchange and the high content of MUFAs (Griel and Kris-
Etherton 2006). Phytosterols in nuts may be responsible in
part for this effect.
As well as the antioxidant vitamin E, several nuts are
among those dietary plants with the highest contents of
total antioxidants (Blomhoff et al. 2006). Dietary flavo-
noids are hypothesised to play a significant role as antioxi-
dants in vivo, thereby reducing risk of chronic disease.
However, their role has been challenged because of the
observations that only very low amounts of flavonoids are
achieved in plasma after consumption of flavonoid-rich
foods. In this area of emerging science, in vitro and ani-
mal studies have indicated that flavonoids from almond
skins are bioavailable and act synergistically with vitamins
C and E to enhance LDL cholesterol resistance to oxida-
tion (Chen et al. 2005). The potential effects of almond
consumption on DNA damage and oxidative stress among
cigarette smokers has also been studied (Jia et al. 2005).
Research is now focusing on the complete characterisation
and quantification of almond polyphenolics and antioxi-
dants, on the antioxidant activity of almond seed extracts,
on flavonoids from almond skins, and on the effects of
almond skin polyphenols and quercetin on human LDLs
and biomarkers of lipid peroxidation.
The unique combination of MUFAs, phytosterols and
antioxidants, together with the high nutrient density of
almonds with respect to vitamin E, folate, calcium, mag-
nesium and potassium combined with low sodium, may all
contribute to the health benefits observed in epidemiologi-
cal studies and human trials.
3. Bioaccessibility of protein, lipid and vitamin E
from almonds
Compared with other tree nuts, almonds are unusual for
the large amounts of protein and vitamin E (a-tocopherol)
they contain. The main component of almonds is fat, and
it has been observed in human volunteers that a significant
proportion of lipid seems to be slowly digested and
absorbed or remains completely undigested. The term
‘bioaccessibility’ is defined as the proportion of a nutrient
that can be released from a complex food matrix and
therefore becomes potentially available for absorption in
the gastrointestinal tract (Ellis et al. 2004). The evaluation
of the bioaccessibility of almond nutrients is an active
area of research (Berry et al. 2008; Frecka et al. 2008;
Mandalari et al. 2008a, 2008b; Cassady et al. 2009)
because it may have implications for the management of
overweight and obesity, as well as for reduced risk of car-
diovascular disease. The effects of mastication on particle
size directly affects the bioaccessibility of lipid, protein
and vitamin E (Mandalari et al. 2008a), and early studies
indicate that prolonged chewing increases the number of
fractured plant cells, thereby increasing the bioavailability
of vitamin E and lipid. This decrease in the absorption of
the fat energy from almonds could reduce their theoretical
contribution to energy intake by around 7% (Mattes
2008). Moreover, the rate and extent of lipid bioaccessibil-
ity of almonds, which is primarily regulated by the integ-
rity of the plant cell walls (dietary fibre) that encapsulate
the lipids, play an important role in determining postpran-
dial lipaemia (Berry et al. 2008). Results of in vitro stu-
dies and ileostomy digestibility studies have also demon-
strated that the dietary fibre, lipid and protein present in
almond tissue after duodenal digestion are available for
fermentation in the colon by the gut microbiota (Manda-
lari et al. 2008b). Further studies have investigated the
potential prebiotic effect of almond seeds by using a full
model of the gastrointestinal tract, which simulates in vitro
gastric and duodenal digestion. The resultant residues are
used as substrates for the colonic model to assess their
influence on the composition and metabolic activity of gut
bacteria populations. Finely ground almonds significantly
increased the populations of Bifidobacteria and Enterobac-
terium rectale, resulting in a higher prebiotic index (4.43)
than was found for the commercial prebiotic fructooligo-
saccharide (4.08) after a 24 h incubation. The increase in
numbers of E. rectale during this in vitro fermentation
correlated with increased butyrate production. These initial
results indicate that almond seeds exhibit the potential to
be used as a source of prebiotics, and that more detailed
studies should be performed on human volunteers.
Data from epidemiological studies and human trials
indicate that incorporating nuts such as almonds into the
diet does not compromise body weight owing not only to
strong satiety properties and effects on resting energy
expenditure, but also because of limited lipid bioaccessi-
bility. In human studies, a significant increase in faecal
energy loss has been demonstrated that accounts for about
5–15% of the energy content of almonds (Cassady et al.
2009). It is hypothesised that by three routes, namely sati-
ety, promotion of energy expenditure and inefficient
energy utilisation, moderate nut consumption does not
pose a threat for weight gain (Mattes 2008; see Section 5).
4. Almond consumption and reduced risk of
cardiovascular disease
4.1 Observational studies
Epidemiological studies have been remarkably consistent
in showing an association between nut consumption and a
reduced risk of CHD (Sabate
´and Ang 2009). The four
major cohort studies (Fraser et al. 1992; Kushi et al.
44 The nutritional and health benefits of almonds: a healthy food choice D.P. Richardson et al.
1996; Hu et al. 1998; Albert et al. 2002) all show a clear
dose-response gradient between nut consumption and
reduced CHD risk. Taken together, these observational
studies exhibited an average risk reduction of CHD mor-
tality of 37% (relative risk (RR) ¼0.63; 95% confidence
interval (CI): 0.51, 0.83) or an average of 8.3% reduction
in risk of CHD death for each weekly serving of nuts
(Kelly and Sabate
´2006). The beneficial effects of nut con-
sumption are similar for different clinical outcomes: non-
fatal myocardial infarction, fatal CHD, and sudden cardiac
death. Collectively, these epidemiological findings provide
strong evidence of the cardioprotective benefits of nut
consumption (Sabate
´and Ang 2009).
The low incidence of CHD in Mediterranean countries
has been partly ascribed to dietary habits, and recent find-
ings from large European cohort studies (Trichopolou
et al. 2003; Knoops et al. 2004, 2006) suggest that a high
degree of adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet
is associated with a reduction in mortality (Trichopolou
and Lagiou 1997). Tree nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts
and walnuts, which are common in the Mediterranean diet,
have favourable fatty acid profiles and are a rich source of
nutrients and other bioactive compounds, which may
account in part for the observed beneficial effects on
reduced risk of CHD. Estruch et al. (2006) reported the
results of a randomised trial in Spain. Participants were
assigned to a low fat diet (n ¼257) or to one of two
Mediterranean diets. Those allocated to Mediterranean
diets received nutrition education and either free virgin
olive oil (1 L/week (n ¼257)), or free nuts (15 g/day wal-
nuts, 7.5 g/day hazelnuts and 7.5 g/day almonds, for
3 months (n ¼258)). The completion rate was 99.6%.
Compared with the low fat diet, the two Mediterranean
diets supplemented with olive oil or nuts produced benefi-
cial effects on cardiovascular risk factors, including blood
glucose, systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol to
high density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio (Estruch et al. 2006;
Salas-Salvado et al. 2008a, 2008b). These authors con-
cluded that a Mediterranean diet including nuts such as
almonds could be a useful tool in managing individuals
who are at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Similarly, a
Mediterranean-style diet with a relatively higher intake of
nuts and legumes and high in MUFA was found to
improve glucose metabolism more than a typical Western
diet (Due et al. 2008).
In conclusion, regular nut consumption reduces the risk
of cardiovascular disease, an effect that has been observed
in several populations and is independent of other lifestyle
factors (Kris-Etherton 2001; Kelly and Sabate
´2006). Nut
eaters typically eat less meat, have lower intakes of trans
fatty acids and higher intakes of unsaturated fatty acids
and fibre (Hu and Stampfer 1999; Ternus et al. 2009).
These authors estimated that substituting 28 g of nuts for
the equivalent energy from carbohydrate in an average diet
was associated with a 30% reduction in CHD risk. They
concluded that regular nut consumption can be recom-
mended in the context of a healthy and balanced diet.
4.2 Human intervention studies
Human studies involving mixed nuts have been conducted
in six countries: Australia, Canada, Israel, India, New
Zealand and the United States. The results showed signifi-
cant reductions in plasma total cholesterol (7–25%) and
plasma LDL cholesterol (10–33%). These studies have
been reviewed by Ternus et al. (2009). Further evidence
for the cardioprotective effects of nuts is provided by
single-nut trials, including several studies using almonds.
Spiller et al. (1992) first reported that consumption of
100 g/day of almonds decreased plasma total cholesterol
by 9% and plasma LDL cholesterol by 12% in 26 hyperch-
olesterolaemic patients. Hyson et al. (2002) extended this
observation in a trial of 22 healthy subjects by achieving
reductions in plasma total cholesterol of 4% and plasma
LDL cholesterol of 6% by replacing half their fat intake
with 35 g of almond oil and 66 g of whole almonds (con-
taining 35 g of fat). Jenkins et al. (2002) demonstrated a
dose-response relationship with the addition of 28 g and 56
g of almonds daily to an isoenergetic diet, lowering plasma
total cholesterol and plasma LDL cholesterol by 4.7 and
9.9%, respectively. These authors calculated that for each
7 g/day of almond intake, plasma LDL cholesterol is
reduced by 1%. These results on almonds are consistent
with those from mixed nut studies (Ternus et al. 2009).
Recently, Phung et al. (2009) evaluated the influence of
almonds on serum lipid profiles. On the basis of a meta-
analysis, almond consumption ranging from 25 to 168 g/
day significantly lowered plasma total cholesterol and
showed a strong trend toward reducing plasma LDL cho-
lesterol. No significant effects on plasma HDL cholesterol,
triglycerides or LDL: HDL ratios were found.
In conclusion, the consumption of around 28–30 g of
natural (or roasted) almonds a day, roughly a handful, as
part of a healthy diet low in saturated fat lowers plasma
total cholesterol, thereby promoting heart health. This
cholesterol-lowering effect is similar to that of other heart-
healthy foods such as oats and soya. Furthermore, the
combination of almonds with other cholesterol-lowering
foods has been incorporated into the ‘Portfolio Eating
Plan’ (Jenkins et al. 2003, 2005, 2006), with plasma LDL
cholesterol reduction of 25–30%. In more recent research,
a study was designed to answer the question of what hap-
pens when people follow the Portfolio Eating Plan in a
real-world setting for 1 year (Jenkins et al. 2006). The diet
included almonds, plant sterols, soy protein and viscous
fibre along with lean meats and fish. After 1 year, male
and female participants with elevated cholesterol levels
experienced a statin-like effect, lowering their cholesterol
45The nutritional and health benefits of almonds: a healthy food choice D.P. Richardson et al.
by 20% or more. For those participants who followed the
plan less strictly, their plasma LDL cholesterol level
decreased by 15%. Berry et al. (2008) investigated the
effects of lipid bioaccessibility on postprandial lipaemia.
An elevated and prolonged postprandial lipaemic response
is associated with an increased risk of CHD. In a rando-
mised, crossover trial (n ¼20 men), the researchers
manipulated lipid bioaccessibility using test meals contain-
ing structurally intact almond seed or extracted almond oil
plus defatted almond seed flour, thus producing meals
with a predicted low- and high-lipid bioaccessibility,
respectively. As predicted, the low-lipid bioaccessibility
meal resulted in a significantly attenuated lipaemic
response compared with the high-lipid bioaccessibility
meals. The author concluded that manipulation of lipid
bioaccessibility of almond seeds significantly reduced the
postprandial increase in plasma triacylglycerol.
5. Almonds, satiety, weight maintenance and
type 2 diabetes
Epidemiological studies suggest that those who eat nuts
frequently (five times a week) tend to have lower body
mass indices (Garcia-Lorda et al. 2003; Bes-Rastrollo
et al. 2007; Ternus et al. 2009). These observations led to
research on almonds to understand potential mechanisms
of weight loss and weight maintenance. Almonds are high
in fibre and protein and have a low glycaemic index, all
of which are dietary factors shown to increase satiety and
suppress appetite (Holt et al. 1995).
In 2008, the energetics of nut consumption was
reviewed by Mattes, and three potential mechanisms were
proposed. The first focuses on the satiety value of nuts,
and it is hypothesised that inclusion of nuts in the diet
results in a spontaneous reduction of energy intake at
other times of the day to offset a high proportion of the
energy provided by the nuts. Second, it is postulated that
nut consumption may increase energy expenditure and
thereby dissipate a portion of the energy they provide.
Third, it is suggested that the absorption of the energy
from nuts is attenuated, thereby reducing their theoretical
contribution to energy intake (as described in Section 3).
Using almonds as a model, Hollis and Mattes (2007)
attempted to quantify the energetics of nut consumption in
a randomised crossover trial that included 20 healthy adult
female subjects with a mean body mass index (BMI) of
25.9 3.1 kg/m
. Two 10 week test periods were sepa-
rated by a three week washout period. During one arm of
the study, 1440 kJ/day of almonds were provided with no
dietary advice except that the day’s allotment of almonds
had to be consumed. A second arm differed only in that
nuts were disallowed.
The results revealed the strong satiating effects of
almonds, with 74% of the energy from almonds offset by
reduced energy intake from other sources. There was a
significant increase in faecal energy loss, accounting for
about 7% of the energy of almonds and a non-significant
increase in daily energy expenditure that would account
from about 14% of the energy of almonds. Accordingly,
the findings showed minimal impact of almond consump-
tion on body weight. These mechanisms help explain the
results of epidemiological and clinical studies which sug-
gest that moderate nut consumption does not pose a threat
for weight gain. For example, a southern Californian study
showed that adding a modest quantity of almonds (65 g)
to the diet for six months resulted in no significant
changes in body weight and an increase in the proportion
of unsaturated fat in the diet for 81 subjects (Fraser et al.
2002). The authors reported that food displacement
occurred after almond supplementation, and over 54–78%
of extra calories from almonds were displaced by a
decrease in intake of other less healthy foods in the habi-
tual diet (Jaceldo-Siegl et al. 2004). In another almond
study, which followed 65 overweight and obese indivi-
duals, Wien et al. (2003) showed that a moderate fat diet
with almonds resulted in more weight loss than a low fat
diet, even though the total number of calories in the six-
month study period was the same for both groups. In addi-
tion, the almond group had a 50% greater reduction in
waist circumference and a 62% greater reduction in fat
mass than the low fat diet group.
Substituting almonds for other foods in the diet that are
not as satiating is a potential strategy for weight loss
and for weight maintenance. Almonds can replace less
nutrient-dense foods in the diet, and eating more nutrient-
dense foods involves fewer calories to achieve nutrient
requirements. Data concerning the long-term association
between nut consumption and weight changes in a free-
living population are sparse. Bes-Rastrollo et al. (2009)
carried out a prospective study of nut consumption, long-
term weight change and obesity risk in women. Higher
nut consumption was not associated with greater body
weight gain during 8 years of follow-up in healthy middle
aged women. Instead, it was associated with a slightly
lower risk of weight gain and obesity. The authors con-
cluded that the incorporation of nuts into habitual diets
does not lead to greater weight gain and may contribute to
weight control. With the steady increase in the incidence
of obesity, it is becoming more important for scientists
and health professionals to understand the role of nuts in
body weight regulation and the related chronic diseases.
Review of the available data suggests that adding nuts to
habitual diets of free-living individuals does not cause
weight gain. In fact, the evidence so far indicates that nuts
have a tendency to lower body weight and fat mass
(Rajaram and Sabate
Evidence from epidemiological and human intervention
studies is pointing towards a protective role for nuts, and
46 The nutritional and health benefits of almonds: a healthy food choice D.P. Richardson et al.
almonds in particular, in improvements in glycaemic con-
trol, insulin sensitivity and reducing risk factors for dia-
betes (Rajaram and Sabate
´2006; Ternus et al. 2009).
Although there is some evidence to suggest that almonds,
and perhaps other nuts, may have a favourable effect on
insulin sensitivity, more studies are needed to understand
the possible mechanisms. Several studies have shown that
risk of type 2 diabetes is lowered with higher intakes of
dietary fibre and lower glycaemic loads. Jenkins and col-
leagues recently evaluated the ability of either mixed nuts
or almonds to modulate glucose spikes that occur after
consuming carbohydrate-rich foods that commonly raise
blood sugar levels (Jenkins et al. 2006). The results
showed that in healthy men and women, eating nuts with
a carbohydrate-rich meal blunted the glycaemic and insu-
lin response of the body to a significant degree (Jenkins
et al. 2006, 2007; Ternus et al. 2009). In conclusion, the
research findings look sufficiently promising to be able to
continue to promote the inclusion of nuts and almonds as
part of a healthy diet.
6. Food allergy: potential risks of nuts and
tree nuts
Consumption of nuts and tree nuts including almonds has
been proven to be a healthy dietary habit. However, they
can also induce IgE-mediated adverse allergic reactions in
susceptible individuals (Chen et al. 2006). Food allergy is
estimated to affect around 1–2% of individuals over the
first decade of life, and nuts can cause anaphylactic reac-
tions and fatalities. Allergy to almonds resembles that for
other tree nuts. Methods have been developed for the
identification and detection of amandin, the major almond
storage protein (Sathe et al. 2002). The IgE-binding activ-
ity of almond proteins is reduced with typical heat proces-
sing treatments applied to almonds, such as blanching and
roasting (Venkatachalam et al. 2002).
Clear allergen labelling of food products containing nuts
and other potentially allergenic foods is required under
European food labelling legislation, and increasing efforts
are being made to help educate people living with these
allergies and their families on how to recognise early
symptoms of an allergic reaction and how to treat anaphy-
laxis promptly.
7. Almonds in the diet
Owing to the increasing evidence of beneficial health
effects, nuts such as almonds are now intrinsic to dietary
guidelines in several countries. However, there are very
few data on their intake profiles and the qualitative and
quantitative differences in their consumption patterns
within and between populations and geographic regions.
The data from European Prospective Investigation into
Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a cohort study of 520 000
subjects from 23 centres in ten countries of western
Europe, provides information on consumption patterns and
typical portion sizes (Jenab et al. 2006; Frecka et al.
2008). The most commonly consumed nuts were walnuts,
almonds and hazelnuts and there was a clear northern to
southern gradient of intake. In Sweden, mean intake was
0.15 g/day, with an average portion size of 15.1 g/day,
whereas in Spain mean intake was 2.99 g/day, with an
average portion size of 34.7 g/day. Average daily portion
size for almonds was typically around 20 g. Clearly, cul-
tural trends in southern Europe resemble the Mediterra-
nean-style diet, and the intake patterns are only a 24 h
snapshot of nut intake. Interestingly, in the United King-
dom there was a health-conscious sub-section of the popula-
tion that had higher intakes of nuts. The average portion size
of almonds in this health-conscious cohort was 26.1 g/day
compared with 10.2 g/day in the general population.
There are many social, demographic, economic and
lifestyle changes that determine our nutritional status, and
for a variety of reasons many people are not achieving
the recommended daily amount (RDA) or even the lower
reference nutrient intake (LNRI) for specific, essential
micronutrients (SACN 2008). As such, there is a gap
between the ideal balanced diet and the reality of what
people actually eat on a daily basis. For individuals at all
stages of life where food selections may compromise
optimal nutrition, encouragement to eat a healthier diet
could easily incorporate the greater use of nuts like
almonds. For example, in the United Kingdom, popula-
tions at risk include women of childbearing age, children
aged 18 and under, the elderly, people trying to lose
weight, those on restricted diets, socio-economically
underprivileged groups, alcoholics and smokers (SACN
2008). Health professionals and policy makers currently
focus on the fat, sugar and sodium contents of the diet.
Much more attention needs to be paid to the nutrient den-
sity of the whole diet and to the special needs of vulnerable
groups in society.
8. Conclusions and recommendations
Almonds provide a nutrient-dense source of vitamin E,
riboflavin, manganese, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus,
potassium, copper, iron and zinc as well as protein, dietary
fibre and MUFA. Almonds also provide an excellent
source of bioavailable a-tocopherol (vitamin E), and increas-
ing their intake enhances the resistance of LDL cholesterol
to oxidation (Chen et al. 2006). In addition, the polypheno-
lic constituents of whole almonds have been characterised
and found to possess antioxidant action (Amarowicz et al.
2005; Chen et al. 2005, 2007; Chen and Blumberg 2008).
Nuts such as almonds are considered to be an important
component of a healthy diet, and increased consumption
47The nutritional and health benefits of almonds: a healthy food choice D.P. Richardson et al.
has the potential to improve public health, especially if
they replace foods that are high in saturated fatty acids,
sugars and salt, or those lacking in vitamins, minerals and
phytoprotective constituents.
It is clear from this review that almonds bring signifi-
cant benefits regarding the lowering of blood cholesterol
and the health of the cardiovascular system, particularly
when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat.
Researchers have found an increasing effect on cholesterol
levels as almond consumption increases (Sabate
´et al.
2003), and it has been shown that almonds can be part of
an effective cholesterol-lowering diet (Jenkins et al.
2006). The strong body of evidence on the benefits of con-
suming almonds was a factor in the approval of the nut
qualified health claim by the US Food and Drug Adminis-
tration (2003), which states, ‘Scientific evidence suggests
but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most
nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated
fat may reduce the risk of heart disease’’.
As interest in incorporating almonds into the habitual
diet grows, it is important that consumers understand how
to include them in a healthy diet without promoting
weight gain. Nuts, as a food category, are high-fat,
energy-dense foods and can therefore contribute to posi-
tive energy balance. However, evidence is accumulating
from epidemiological studies, which indicates that nut
consumption is not associated with higher body weight
and that habitual nut consumers have a lower body mass
index than non-consumers. Similarly, human intervention
trials indicate that the inclusion of nuts in the diet leads to
little or no weight gain (Mattes et al. 2007).
A key area of research is the identification of foods
and food constituents that can help contribute to healthy
weight maintenance or weight loss using foods such as
almonds that have a low glycaemic index, high-protein and
high-fibre contents and that require mastication. Almonds
appear to possess three properties that could be exploited
to facilitate weight control and weight loss, namely
enhancement of satiety, decreased efficiency of energy
absorption and augmentation of energy expenditure (Mattes
2009). Chewing of almonds may also play a more complex
role in the digestion process, impacting on nutrient absorp-
tion and endocrine responses influencing satiety. Further
research is also required to gain better understanding of the
role that bioavailability and bioaccessibility of almond con-
stituents, and the synergy between them, play in their asso-
ciated health outcomes. The importance of mastication in
the context of weight management and suppression of hun-
ger also needs further investigation.
Very few data exist on profiles of nut intake and the
qualitative and quantitative differences in their consump-
tion patterns within and between populations and geo-
graphic regions. More research is needed into the intake
of nuts and disease risk to underpin development of food
policies and intake recommendations for this important
food group.
From a public health point of view, this review has
shown that nuts such as almonds, in the context of a
healthy, balanced diet can help reduce the risk of CHD,
help to mitigate weight gain and help avoid the risk of
overweight and development of obesity. It is important to
stress that nutrition messages aimed at the general popula-
tion should clearly indicate that nuts should replace the
consumption of other foods and snacks that are energy-
dense, high in saturated fats, sugars and salt, and low in
essential nutrients. Consumers should also be made aware
of the need to maintain overall energy balance.
In a nutshell, almonds offer a nutritious contribution to
the habitual diet, with potentially beneficial effects on car-
diovascular health without weight gain, making them a
natural healthy food choice.
9. Acknowledgements
This article was supported by the Almond Board of Cali-
fornia. The authors would like to express their thanks to
Gary Foster (Professor of Medicine and Public Health,
Director of the Centre for Obesity Research and Educa-
tion, Temple University, 3223 N. Broad Street, Suite 175,
Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA), Susan Jebb (Medical
Research Council Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Wid-
dowson Laboratory, 120 Fulbourn Road, Cambridge CB1
9NL, UK) and Richard D. Mattes (Purdue University,
Department of Foods and Nutrition, 700 W. State Street,
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2059, USA) for their helpful
comments and suggestions.
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... A significant portion of the oil in almonds consists of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids (90%), among which the oleic acid content (70%) stands out (Karatay et al., 2014;Kırbaşlar et al., 2012;Matthäus et al., 2018). It has been reported that the consumption of almonds reduces the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), thus providing various health benefits such as reduction in coronary heart disease, cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and oxidative stress (Ahrens et al., 2005;Chen et al., 2017;Hou et al., 2018;Kamil & Chen, 2012;Richardson et al., 2009;Zacheo et al., 2000). In addition to consumption as a snack, almonds can also be ground into flour and used as an additive in the production of foods. ...
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Almond is rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber and contains high fat and protein. For this reason, almond flour can be used as an additive in the production of various foods to increase nutritional value, improve texture and flavor, and produce healthier products. The purpose of this study is to determine the availability of almond flour as an animal fat replacer in the production of beef patties. For this purpose, beef patties were produced in five different formulations containing animal fat and/or almond flour, and pH, moisture content, color, and TBARS values were detected in both raw and cooked samples. In addition, cooking yield and shrinkage were calculated and fatty acid composition, texture profile, and sensory analyses were performed on cooked samples. Replacing animal fat with almond flour increased pH in raw and cooked beef patties but decreased moisture content, b * value, and TBARS in cooked samples compared to the control. While cooking yield increased in beef patties containing almond flour, shrinkage decreased. In addition, the cooking process caused decreases in L *, a *, and b * values. Using almond flour in beef patties decreased the SFAs and increased the amounts of oleic and linoleic acids. Hardness, cohesiveness, resilience, and chewiness were significantly affected by the use of almond flour ( p < .01), and higher hardness and chewiness, and lower cohesiveness and resilience were determined in the samples containing almond flour compared to the control. On the other hand, the use of almond flour instead of animal fat in beef patties did not have a significant effect on the determined sensory properties ( p > .05).
... It is used as snacks for garnishing food and in making sweet dishes. Various study revealed, that it reduces low density lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol, reduces risk of colon cancer, 12,13,14,15 diabetes and heart diseases. ...
... They are also a good source of magnesium, copper, phosphorus, fiber, riboflavin, and protein. In addition, they have a high arginine content (Chen et al. 2006;Richardson et al. 2009; Barreca et al. 2020). Almonds can be used raw or roasted, whole or ground; they can be used in pastry and confectionery products and as flavoring agents in beverages and ice cream (Chen et al. 2006;Wijeratne et al. 2006). ...
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This study aimed to identify the energy input–output ratios for the ‘Ferragnes,’ ‘Ferraduel,’ and ‘Lauranne’ almond varieties and to perform an economic analysis. The study used data from an almond orchard established on 17.2 ha in Adıyaman province of Turkey from 2014 to 2021. The results revealed that 35,706.0 MJ ha⁻¹ were used during the establishment period, and 57,663.4 MJ ha⁻¹ were used during the mature planting period. The energy outputs of ‘Ferragnes,’ ‘Ferraduel,’ and ‘Lauranne’ varieties were 13,651.9, 12,641.1, and 14,801.6 MJ ha⁻¹ in the establishment period and 45,073.8, 40,566.7, and 70,559.1 MJ ha⁻¹ in the mature planting period, respectively. Although the energy efficiency varied according to the period and varieties, it was calculated to be between 0.38 and 1.22. The rate of renewable energy for the total consumed energy was 4.62% in the establishment period and 6.52% in the mature planting period. The results of the economic analysis showed that almond cultivation was profitable in all three varieties. Net profit was the highest in the ‘Lauranne’ variety, at $4785.55 ha⁻¹, followed by ‘Ferragnes’ at $2337.73 ha⁻¹ and ‘Ferraduel’ at $1870.75 ha⁻¹. The benefit–cost ratios were 3.05, 2.00, and 1.80, respectively. In this study of a situation in which energy efficiency is low and profitability is high, it is concluded that policies that will maintain current profitability but increase energy efficiency should be put into practice.
... As a food crop with a high nutritional and medicinal value, almonds have been a significant part of the human diet from the pre agricultural era to the present day. Due to their good flavor and taste, they may be consumed either as snacks or as a part of a meal, providing macronutrients, micronutrients, and various bioactive components [1,2]. Almonds naturally contain high levels of oil, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein and dietary fiber, as well as a variety of essential nutrients, including vitamin E and several trace elements. ...
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This study evaluates the effect of two contrasting years, in terms of climatic parameters, on kernel morphology and content and on the composition of oil, tocopherols and the 11 macro- and micro-elements in almonds. Low precipitation and high temperatures increased the content of tocopherols, Cu and Zn but decreased the kernel ratio, the oil content, and the levels of macro-elements and of Cr, Fe, Mn and Mo. The obtained data indicate some statistically significant correlations among the kernel quality parameters and climate. A small variation in oil concentration with the highest value in ‘Texas’ (60.07%) was observed. The main tocopherol homologue was α-tocopherol (39.4 to 404.4 mg/100 g DW), representing more than 90% of the total tocopherols. Potassium was predominant (882.0 to 1104.5 mg/100 g), followed by phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and sodium. The most abundant micro-elements were iron (3.095 to 3.708 mg/100 g) and zinc (2.641 to 4.765 mg/100 g), followed by manganese, copper, molybdenum and chromium. The genotype 15/03 has the highest level of health-promoting compounds (α-tocopherol, potassium and zinc), so that, together with genotype 25/03 which showed the best response to changing climatic conditions, this genotype could be of interest for breeding programs.
... Almonds have complex food forms consist of diverse nutrients and other phytoprotective materials that have act on the physiology of the human body. Almonds are energy-dense, fats have in almond in high levels, but much of fats are unsaturated (Richardson et al., 2009). ...
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A healthy diet can provide all the essential nutrients for the well-being of an individual. Functional foods can be defined as any modified food or food ingredient that may provide a health benefit beyond the traditional nutrients it contains. Consumer interest in functional foods has been increasing due to their potential to improve health or reduce the risk of diseases. This chapter discusses the bioactive components and the functional health benefits of plant-based foods. It focuses on some of the significant plant resources and their functional properties, which help reduce or minimize the risk of certain diseases.
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Prunus amygdalus Batsch (family-Rosaceae), popularly known as Badam, Almond, is the most important familiar nuttree for global nut production that includes apples pears, prunes and raspberries. Almond seed skin is a prominent source of polyphenolic compounds, mainly phenolic acids, bioflavonoids, flavanones, isoflavones, flavonol glycosides and lignansthat are reported in a ripened nut. Bioflavonoids such as flavanolglycosides, chieflycatechins, epicatechin, procyanidins and flavonol include 3-hydroxyflavone backbone glycosides, particularly isorhamnetin, isorhamnetin, naringenin and kaempferol are novel agents isolated from ripened seeds. The review aims to renew the interest in this promising plant, thus stimulating researchers to go further with the study for discovering novel medicinal agents for the treatment and management of several kinds of ailments. The present study compiled a detailed and unique summary of traditional folk medicine Prunus amygdalus based on screening the various databases from traditional textbooks, Science Direct, Google Scholar, PubMed, Elsevier, Springer Nature, and Research Gate, etc. The kernels of the seeds are a major source of vitamin E and B, dietary fiber, essential elements calcium and magnesium, monounsaturated fatty acids, and phytosterols with significant cholesterol-lowering effects. It is the most popular folk remedy and nutritive food that can relieve different kinds of ailments. This review summarizes recent advances in the studies regarding Prunus amygdalus's nutritional and therapeutic significance. Further, there is a need to isolate and evaluate the active chemical constituents of Prunus amygdalus having significant pharmacological values.
Unlabelled: This review was focused on the proximate compounds, nutritional values, total phenolic, flavonoid, antioxidant activity, fatty acid profile, polyphenols, health aspects and uses of almond kernel and oils. Almond contained about 24-73% crude oil, 50-84% oleic and 6-37% linoleic acids, 77-3908 mg/kg β-stosterol and 5-8 mg/100 g β-tocopherol. Almonds are a good source of mono- and unsaturated fatty acids, phytochemicals, bioactive components, minerals, vitamin E, polyphenols and phytosterols and at the same time almonds have healing effects. Since almond seeds or seed oils have versatile uses, they are consumed on their own or as part of a range of food products. Almonds are considered a healthy snack when consumed due to their potential cardioprotective effects. Since the composition of almonds and its effects on health will be effective both during cultivation and processing, studies should be carried out in a way that preserves the product quality. Graphical abstract: In this study, the proximate compounds, harvest and irrigation effect, nutritional values (protein, amino acids, vitamins minerals), total phenol, flavonoid, antioxidant activity, fatty acid profile, polyphenols, and uses of almond kernel and oils were summarized.
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Objective: To assess the association, in a Mediterranean population, between nut consumption and risk of weight gain (at least 5 kg) or the risk of becoming overweight/obese. Research Methods and Procedures: The Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra project is a prospective cohort of 8865 adult men and women who completed a follow-up questionnaire after a median of 28 months. Dietary habits were assessed with a previously validated semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Results: Nine hundred thirty-seven participants reported a weight gain of ≥5 kg at follow-up. After adjusting for age, sex, smoking, leisure time physical activity, and other known risk factors for obesity, participants who ate nuts two or more times per week had a significantly lower risk of weight gain (odds ratio: 0.69; 95% confidence interval: 0.53 to 0.90, p for trend = 0.006) than those who never or almost never ate nuts. Participants with little nut consumption (never/almost never) gained an average of 424 grams (95% confidence interval: 102 to 746) more than frequent nut eaters. Nut consumption was not significantly associated with incident overweight/obesity in the cohort. Discussion: Frequent nut consumption was associated with a reduced risk of weight gain (5 kg or more). These results support the recommendation of nut consumption as an important component of a cardioprotective diet and also allay fears of possible weight gain.
bkground.— Although dietary factors are suspected to be important determinants of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, the direct evidence is relative-lse.Methods.— The Adventist Health Study is a prospective cohort investigation of 31 208 non-Hispanic white California Seventh-Day Adventists. Extensive dietary information was obtained at baseline, along with the values of traditional coronary risk factors. These were related to risk of definite fatal CHD or definite nonfatal- dial infarction.Results.— Subjects who consumed nuts frequently (more than four times per week) experienced substantially fewer definite fatal CHD events (relative risk, 0.52; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.36 to 0.76) and definite nonfatal myocardial infarctions (relative risk, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.85), when compared with those who consumed nuts less than once per week. These findings persisted on covariate adjustment and were seen in almost all of 16 different subgroups of the population. Subjects who usually consumed whole wheat bread also experienced lower rates of definite nonfatal myocardial infarction (relative risk, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.35 to 0.89) and definite fatal CHD (relative risk, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.60 to 1.33) when compared with those who usually ate white bread. Men who ate beef at least three times each week had a higher risk of definite fatal CHD (relative risk, 2.31; 95% CI, 1.11 to 4.78), but this effect was not seen in women or for the nonfatal myocardial infarction end point.Conclusion.— Our data strongly suggest that the frequent consumption of nuts may protect against risk of CHD events. The favorable fatty acid profile of many nuts is one possible explanation for such an effect.(Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:1416-1424)
Background—Although recent studies have indicated that nut consumption may improve levels of blood lipids, nuts arenot generally recommended as snacks for hyperlipidemic subjects because of their high fat content. Furthermore, theeffective dose is still unknown.Methods and Results—The dose-response effects of whole almonds, taken as snacks, were compared with low-saturatedfat ( 5% energy) whole-wheat muffins (control) in the therapeutic diets of hyperlipidemic subjects. In a randomizedcrossover study, 27 hyperlipidemic men and women consumed 3 isoenergetic (mean 423 kcal/d) supplements each for1 month. Supplements provided 22.2% of energy and consisted of full-dose almonds (73 3 g/d), half-dose almonds plushalf-dose muffins, and full-dose muffins. Fasting blood, expired air, blood pressure, and body weight measurementswere obtained at weeks 0, 2, and 4. Mean body weights differed 300 g between treatments. The full-dose almondsproduced the greatest reduction in levels of blood lipids. Significant reductions from baseline were seen on both half-and full-dose almonds for LDL cholesterol (4.4 1.7%, P 0.018, and 9.4 1.9%, P 0.001, respectively) andLDL:HDL cholesterol (7.8 2.2%, P 0.001, and 12.0 2.1%, P 0.001, respectively) and on full-dose almonds alonefor lipoprotein(a) (7.8 3.5%, P 0.034) and oxidized LDL concentrations (14.0 3.8%, P 0.001), with no significantreductions on the control diet. No difference was seen in pulmonary nitric oxide between treatments.Conclusions—Almonds used as snacks in the diets of hyperlipidemic subjects significantly reduce coronary heart diseaserisk factors, probably in part because of the nonfat (protein and fiber) and monounsaturated fatty acid components ofthe nut. (Circulation. 2002;106:1327-1332.)Key Words: hypercholesterolemia lipids lipoproteins diet antioxidants
Almonds provide a nutrient-dense source of vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, fibre, riboflavin, monounsaturated fatty acids and protein. Although almost 50% of almond weight is fat, incremental intakes of 7 g day−1 of this tree nut reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration by 1%, especially within the context of diets recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program. Habitual almond consumption does not lead to weight gain, and their inclusion in low-calorie diets appears to promote more weight loss than a comparable carbohydrate-based low-calorie diet. Also, almonds have a low glycemic index and do not adversely impact insulin sensitivity. Almonds are an excellent source of bioavailable -tocopherol, and increasing their intake enhances the resistance of LDL against oxidation. In addition, the polyphenolic constituents of almonds have been characterised recently and found to possess antioxidant actions. While benefits of almonds for cardiovascular health and obesity-related diseases appear promising, the potential allergenic reaction among susceptible individuals can present a risk. Further research is required to achieve a better understanding of the role that the bioavailability and bioaccessibility of almond constituents and the synergy between them play in their associated health outcomes. Copyright © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry
Phenolic compounds were extracted from defatted almond seeds using 80% aqueous acetone. Crude extract was applied onto a Sephadex LH-20 column. Fraction I consisting of low-molecular-weight phenolics was eluted from the column by ethanol. Fraction II consisting of tannins was obtained using water-acetone (1:1, v/v) as the mobile phases. Phenolic compounds present in the crude extract and its fractions showed antioxidant and antiradical properties as revealed following studies using a β-carotene-linoleate model system, total antioxidant activity (TAA) method, 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity and reducing power evaluation. Results of these assays showed highest values when tannins (fraction II) were tested. For example, TAA of tannin fraction was 3.93 mmol Trolox/g, whereas the crude extract and fraction I showed values of only 0.24 and 0.09 μmol Trolox/mg, respectively. The content of total phenolics in fraction II was the highest (80.4 mg/g). The content of tannins in this fraction determined using the vanillin method and expressed as absorbance units at 500 nm per 1 g was 2436. The high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis of almond seed crude extract showed the presence of phenolic compounds, namely vanillic, caffeic, p-coumaric, ferulic acids (after basic hydrolysis), quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin (after acidic hydrolysis), delphinidin and cyanidin (after n-butanol-HCl hydrolysis) and procyanidin B2 and B3.
An adaptation to harsh climates combined with an ability to develop a deep and extensive root system has allowed cultivated and wild almond to exploit a wide variety of ecological niches in its ancestral range in central Asia extending from the Takla Makan desert in western China to the Mediterranean (Kester et al. 1991; Ladizinsky 1999). Almond is also well adapted to mild winter and dry, hot summer conditions due to its low chilling requirement for early bloom, rapid early shoot growth, and high tolerance to summer heat and drought. It is the earliest temperate tree crop to bloom, which limits production to areas relatively free from spring frosts. Because almond is self-sterile, it requires cross-pollination that further acts to promote genetic variability and, therefore, adaptability to new environments. © Springer Science Business Media, LLC 2009. All rights reserved.