Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Separating Fiction from Fact When It Comes to Almonds; They Have a Reputation of Helping Everything from Your Teeth to Gut

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Separating Fiction from Fact When It Comes to Almonds; They Have a Reputation of Helping Everything from Your Teeth to Gut

Article excerpt

Byline: Alireza Jahan-mihan

Almond or Prunus dulcis is the seed of the almond tree, which originated in the Middle East and northern Africa. The almond is a nutritionally dense food and is a rich source of B vitamins, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin E, mineral, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc. Similar to other nuts, the almond is high in fat, mainly unsaturated, and fiber and also has an abundant amount of protein. Alireza Jahan-mihan, an assistant professor and registered dietitian in the Nutrition and Dietetics Flagship Program at the University of North Florida, discusses myths and facts about the almond. To help you use it in your diet, a recipe is provided.

Myth: Almonds can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Fact: Almonds have a lowering effect on cholesterol and are rich in dietary fiber, mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids and also contain phytosterols. These compounds may potentially lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Moreover, some studies have shown that almonds may also increase HDL (good cholesterol). Flavonoids in almonds along with the vitamin E, reduces the risk of heart disease.

Myth: Almonds have a beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal tract.

Fact: During the digestion process in the gastrointestinal tract, almond flour is fermented and produces short chains of fatty acids, most notably, butyrate, which is a material for cells lining the large intestine. For individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, almonds are the pantry essential you don't want to live without. They provide a great amount of required nutrients and calories.

Myth: Almonds have a beneficial effect on bones and teeth.

Fact: The phosphorus and calcium in almonds help make this possible. In comparison with other nuts, almonds have the highest amount of calcium, boasting 75 milligrams per ounce.

Myth: Almonds are useful for weight loss.

Fact: Frequent nut eaters are generally thinner compared with those who almost never consume nuts. Almonds are one of the ingredients in many weight-reducing diets because they suppress appetite and also they are highly nutrient-dense. …

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