Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Food Pharmacy: Almonds

Considering Foods High in Powerful Antioxidants? Grab a Handful of Almonds

New Research Shows Almonds Contain Antioxidant Levels Similar to Those of Fruits and Vegetables, and Are Important to Maintaining Good Health

MODESTO, Calif., June 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The next time you're shopping for antioxidant-rich foods, make sure to add almonds to your cart. Not only are almonds rich in vitamin E, fiber and magnesium, but according to a study to be published Wednesday in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they contain antioxidants in levels comparable to those of healthy foods such as broccoli and tea. This high antioxidant content makes eating a handful of almonds a day more important than ever for good health.

Antioxidants serve to deactivate free radicals, rogue elements in the body that can destroy cells and potentially lead to problems such as heart disease, cancer and stroke. The researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University performed a groundbreaking study on the quality and amount of antioxidant compounds in California almonds. They found that almonds contain high levels of several antioxidant compounds, similar to the levels in many fruits and vegetables.

Equal Antioxidant Levels in a Serving of Almonds, Broccoli, or Tea

This new research shows a serving of almonds, for instance, contains the same amount of antioxidants called flavonoids as a serving of broccoli. And a one ounce serving of almonds provides as much of these antioxidants as found in a cup of brewed black or green tea, in addition to being an excellent source of vitamin E. Furthermore, the researchers noted that the main antioxidant compounds found in almonds -- catechin, epicatechin and kaempferol -- are also the ones that provide the highest degree of protection against cell death from oxidants, a mechanism that appears to play an important role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

"This analysis of almond skin antioxidants sheds more light on all the nutrients in almonds that may provide a health benefit," says study author Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. "These new findings coupled with past results lay the groundwork for future clinical trials that examine a link between whole almond consumption and the reduced risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions."

The researchers are now conducting additional phases of antioxidant research to describe how efficiently the human body extracts and absorbs these compounds from almonds.

This latest news confirms the importance of consuming almonds as a regular part of one's diet. "Published studies have found that consuming almonds daily may reduce the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration approved a qualified health claim for most nuts and heart health," says Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D.

Bonci, the nutritionist for the latest Super Bowl winners, the Pittsburgh Steelers, added: "This new research demonstrates how eating almonds each day is a simple choice that makes a healthy difference. Almonds' taste, convenience and high nutritional value make them a smart, easy snack or a tasty addition to an entree."

Previous studies have shown that the vitamin E found naturally in almonds, together with its flavonoids and other antioxidants, work synergistically to prevent LDL, or "bad," cholesterol from being oxidized. In fact, this research found that together vitamin E and almond flavonoids were more than twice as effective as when they were administered separately. These findings further demonstrate how the nutrients in whole foods such as almonds can positively impact health.

In addition to its high antioxidant content, a one-ounce, 160-calorie handful of almonds is an excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium, a good source of protein and fiber, and offers heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, and iron.

For More Information

For additional information about almonds, including easy recipes and snack ideas, visit http://www.almondsarein.com

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Summary of Published Study:

Published: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, June 28, 2006

Research Organization: Antioxidants Research Laboratory, Jean Mayer U.S.

Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University

Study Title: Determination of Flavonoids and Phenolics and Their Distribution in Almonds

Authors: Paul E. Milbury, Chung-Yen Chen, Gregory G. Dolnikowski, Jeffrey B. Blumberg

Objective: To determine total phenols, flavonoids and phenolic acids in California almond (Prunus dulcis) skins and kernels among the principal almond varieties.

Subjects: The eight most common California almonds: Butte, Carmel, Fritz, Mission, Monterey, Nonpareil, Padre, and Price with HPLC/ECD and UV detection.

Study Description: Advanced chromatographic technologies (LC/MS/MS and HPLC/ECD) were utilized to verify identities of the predominant flavonoids and phenolic acids. Total phenols ranged from 127 (Fritz) to 241 (Padre) mg GAE/100 g. The analyses were compiled to produce a dataset of 19 flavonoids and 3 phenolic acids.

Results: On a weight basis, the flavonol content of almonds is similar to that of red onions, with nine times the isorhamnetin of white onions. Almonds' kaempferol and quercetin content is comparable to that of broccoli. Almonds' concentration of catechin is between that of brewed black and green tea. The principal flavonoids in almonds -- catechin, epicatechin and kaempferol -- provide the highest degree of protection against oxidant-induced cell death than any other flavonoids. Related polyphenolic antioxidants are also found in almonds and remain to be characterized.

Funding: Supported by the Almond Board of California and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service under Cooperative Agreement 58-1950-4-401.

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The Almond Board of California administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. Established in 1950, the Board's charge is to promote the best quality almonds, California's largest tree nut crop. For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit http://www.almondsarein.com


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Here are a few pages from the "Almonds Are In!" website that are particularly intersting. While I also realize that much of this information could be self-serving since it comes from the website of the Almond Board of California, I have researched the claims through other sites and books unrelated to the Almond Board and found their claims to be valid given the levels of today's nutritional and scientific research.


Composition
This page has a very informative nutrient table comparing almonds to Brazil nuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Macadamia nuts, Pecans, Pistachios, and Walnuts.

Health Benefits of A Handful
more detailed information about cholesterol-lowering properties of almonds.

Body Weight
How eating the right kinds of fats may actually help you lose weight. This is a very interesting read!

Cancer
How several components of almonds work together as better antioxidants that either of them separately (i.e Vitamin E and flavanols).

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Complete list of almond nutrients from the searchable database:

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

Nuts, almonds, dry roasted, without salt added

Refuse: 0%
Scientific Name:
NDB No: 12063 (Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion)

Nutrient

Units

1.00 X 1 oz (22 whole kernels)
-------
28.35g

Proximates



Water

g

0.74

Energy

kcal

169

Energy

kj

708

Protein

g

6.26

Total lipid (fat)

g

14.98

Ash

g

0.91

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

5.47

Fiber, total dietary

g

3.3

Sugars, total

g

1.39

Sucrose

g

1.34

Glucose (dextrose)

g

0.01

Fructose

g

0.00

Lactose

g

0.00

Maltose

g

0.04

Starch

g

0.20

Minerals



Calcium, Ca

mg

75

Iron, Fe

mg

1.28

Magnesium, Mg

mg

81

Phosphorus, P

mg

139

Potassium, K

mg

211

Sodium, Na

mg

0

Zinc, Zn

mg

1.00

Copper, Cu

mg

0.332

Manganese, Mn

mg

0.743

Selenium, Se

mcg

0.8

Vitamins



Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

0.0

Thiamin

mg

0.021

Riboflavin

mg

0.244

Niacin

mg

1.091

Pantothenic acid

mg

0.065

Vitamin B-6

mg

0.036

Folate, total

mcg

9

Folic acid

mcg

0

Folate, food

mcg

9

Folate, DFE

mcg_DFE

9

Vitamin B-12

mcg

0.00

Vitamin B-12, added

mcg

0.00

Vitamin A, IU

IU

0

Vitamin A, RAE

mcg_RAE

0

Retinol

mcg

0

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

mg

7.37

Vitamin E, added

mg

0.00

Tocopherol, beta

mg

0.12

Tocopherol, gamma

mg

0.25

Tocopherol, delta

mg

0.04

Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

mcg

0.0

Lipids



Fatty acids, total saturated

g

1.147

4:0

g

0.000

6:0

g

0.000

8:0

g

0.000

10:0

g

0.000

12:0

g

0.000

14:0

g

0.000

15:0

g

0.000

16:0

g

0.945

17:0

g

0.000

18:0

g

0.202

20:0

g

0.000

22:0

g

0.000

24:0

g

0.000

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

9.542

14:1

g

0.000

16:1 undifferentiated

g

0.071

13:0

g

0.000

18:1 undifferentiated

g

9.471

20:1

g

0.000

22:1 undifferentiated

g

0.000

24:1 c

g

0.000

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

3.586

18:2 undifferentiated

g

3.586

18:3 undifferentiated

g

0.000

18:4

g

0.000

20:2 n-6 c,c

g

0.000

20:3 undifferentiated

g

0.000

20:4 undifferentiated

g

0.000

20:5 n-3

g

0.000

22:5 n-3

g

0.000

22:6 n-3

g

0.000

Cholesterol

mg

0

Phytosterols

mg

33

Stigmasterol

mg

1

Campesterol

mg

1

Beta-sitosterol

mg

31

Amino acids



Tryptophan

g

0.056

Threonine

g

0.200

Isoleucine

g

0.204

Leucine

g

0.433

Lysine

g

0.177

Methionine

g

0.056

Cystine

g

0.083

Phenylalanine

g

0.338

Tyrosine

g

0.156

Valine

g

0.236

Arginine

g

0.726

Histidine

g

0.174

Alanine

g

0.295

Aspartic acid

g

0.805

Glutamic acid

g

1.523

Glycine

g

0.432

Proline

g

0.285

Serine

g

0.296

Other



Alcohol, ethyl

g

0.0

Caffeine

mg

0

Theobromine

mg

0

Carotene, beta

mcg

0

Carotene, alpha

mcg

0

Cryptoxanthin, beta

mcg

0

Lycopene

mcg

0

Lutein + zeaxanthin

mcg

0

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 19 (2006)

1 comment:

Veggies,Crafts & Tails said...

Once again it appears that simple and natural foods are best. I just need to stay away from the roasted, salted almonds....yummy but not good, I know. Love almonds sauteed with green beans and a spritz of lemon juice, gooooood.