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Health Benefits and Nutrition of Almonds
-By Ryan Conforti
Regardless if you’re a full-time athlete or just looking for info on how to provide your body with essential functional health, there’s a thing or two you should know about almonds.
Let’s start with the basics. Almonds are full of Fat, Fiber and loaded with Protein. They’re rich in Calcium, and Iron. So we’re going to focus on those 5 elements.
FAT: A serving of Almonds (1/4 cup, 1 ounce) is full of Fat. Good Fat. Only 5% of that Fat is Saturated (above 10% is too much) so you’ve got a good source of long lasting energy that is high in Cholesterol-lowering, healthy Fat. Athlete or not, this is where you want your energy to come from, not sugar.
FIBER: The recommended intake of Fiber is 20-35g, a handful of Almonds will net you about 3g. Keep that in mind when evaluating an entire days meals.
PROTEIN: A serving of Almonds gives you about 6g of Protein. A small protein bar usually provides about 10g with the ‘big guys’ providing 20-30g. Proteins are vital for energy and recovery. They build and repair muscle. And not just the ones in your chest and arms that you get from weight-lifting but also your organs and most importantly, your heart. Proteins can actually be used to sustain life and provide energy in times of need. The body pulls this from muscle when there’s no other source. In the short term (in the middle of a fight) this can provide a second boost of energy just when you’ve think you’ve given your all. Long term, this happens when the body is starved, say when an athlete is cutting weight poorly and begins to lose muscle mass.
CALCIUM: Almonds get you 70mg of your recommended 1000mg of Calcium per serving. This may seem low, but consider most Calcium rich foods are heavy in Dairy and high in Saturated Fats. Calcium is great for keeping your bones strong. Whether your recovering from conditioning your knuckles and shins or realize the importance of maintaining a strong skeletal system, this is a healthy source of Calcium.
IRON: Like Calcium, Almonds provide a good source of Iron, about 6%. While other foods can provide greater amounts, they’re sometimes accompanied by high fats or other factors such as time and preparation.
Almonds also provide high quantities of other Vitamins and Nutrients; Copper, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Manganese and Vitamin E.
Personal opinion – I love Almonds. I recommend about a 1/2Cup a day. They go great mixed into cereal or salad. Or just grab an handful in between your major meals to keep metabolism up throughout the day. It’s quick, cheap, requires no preparation and will a 32oz can can last you weeks. Keep them raw! No salt, sugar or any of that stuff.
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