5 reasons almonds are the world’s most nutritious (and helpful) food

Think about the last diet you tried. How long did you last on it?

How successful were you at keeping the weight off after you stopped?

Why would the Keto — or Paleo, or Atkins, or Cookie, or Grapefruit, or Cabbage Soup — diet be any different this time?

The key to losing weight and keeping it off — for good — is to make small sustainable changes in your usual eating pattern.  And finding realistic ways to incrementally incorporate more and more foods that promote health (and fewer foods that promote disease) into your nutrition plan.

One food that can promote both health and weight loss, happens to have recently earned the distinction of being named the world’s most nutritious food.

What could happen if you simply swapped out some junk food snacks or even cut down one meal portion a day, and substituted this healthy food? The sky’s the limit — and here’s why…

The power of nutritional fitness

Diet is a four-letter word. But nutritional fitness… that’s about eating — the right foods.

In a recent analysis, scientists set out to define the world’s most nutritious foods based on a novel ranking system. They grouped foods together in various combinations that meet our daily nutrient requirements using the smallest number of foods possible. The foods that were included in the most combinations were ranked as having the most “nutritional fitness.”

What food came out on top?

Almonds. 

And here’s why…

1. Concentrated nutrition. One ounce of almonds contains 163 calories, 8.8 grams of MUFA (healthy monounsaturated fats like those found in olive oil), 3.4 grams of PUFA (polyunsaturated fats, like those heart-healthy omega 3s), 6 grams of protein, 39 mg of plant sterols and 3.5 grams of fiber. That’s a satisfying serving of heart-healthy, cholesterol-fighting nutrients from just a small handful of nuts.

2. A top food source of vitamin E.Per ounce, almonds deliver 37 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin E, making almonds one of the most abundant sources of this nutrient. The high vitamin E content is actually a big deal as studies have linked higher intakes of vitamin E intake FROM FOOD with lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and dementia. This is in contrast to getting your vitamin E from supplements, which has never been shown to improve outcomes.

3. Full of antioxidants. A raw almond’s brown skin is especially high in antioxidants and studies have shown reductions in biomarkers of oxidative stress with regular raw almond consumption. This means that almonds have a role to play in fighting inflammation and oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol. For LDL to deposit in our arteries, it has to be oxidized. Reducing LDL oxidation reduces the chance that any of it actually causes us harm.

4. High magnesium content. One ounce of almonds also gets you 20% of the RDA for magnesium, which can be important for blood sugar and pressure control.  Magnesium deficiency is common and increasing magnesium intake has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels. This has significant implications for people with metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes.

Related: Magnesium deficiency can be deadly; know the signs

Getting enough magnesium can also help with blood pressure control. Following a low sodium DASH diet, which is naturally high in magnesium, has been shown to be as effective as using medication to lower blood pressure readings.

5. Good for weight loss. Finally, nuts, in general, have been shown to help with weight loss. Although that seems counterintuitive (given that they’re a higher calorie, high-fat food), nuts are very satiating, leading to overall lower calorie consumption, especially when they’re the switch out for processed carbs.

All in all, almonds truly are a superfood.  Which is why you’ll find raw almonds in all Step One Foods products.

When you focus on health and not weight the pounds take care of themselves. Without you having to waste time counting calories, or points, or grams of carbs. Or even knowing your blood type.

Sources:

  1. The 10 most nutritious foods in the world, and how to incorporate them into your diet — Business Insider
  2. Nuts — Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University
  3. 9 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Almonds — Healthline
Dr. Elizabeth Klodas MD, FACC

By Dr. Elizabeth Klodas MD, FACC

"Diet is a major driver of high cholesterol, but instead of changing the food, we prescribe medications. This never seemed logical to me.” Dr. Klodas has dedicated her career to preventive cardiology. Trained at Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, she is the founder and Chief Medical Officer for Step One Foods. Dr. Klodas is a nationally sought out speaker and has an active role at the American College of Cardiology. Her clinical interests include prevention of heart disease and non-invasive cardiac imaging and she has published dozens of scientific articles throughout her career. Dr. Klodas has been featured on CNN Health for her mission to change how heart disease is treated. An independent study performed at leading medical institutions affirmed the ability of Step One Foods to deliver measurable and meaningful cholesterol-reduction benefits in the real world. The results of the trial were presented at the 2018 American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions. Dr. Klodas has also authored a book for patients, "Slay the Giant: The Power of Prevention in Defeating Heart Disease," and served as founding Editor-in-Chief of the patient education effort of the American College of Cardiology. In addition to her practice and her duties at Step One Foods, she also serves as medical editor for webMD.