The Importance Of Almonds When Following A Plant Based Diet
Whether for health reasons, animal rights or climate change, the number of people choosing to follow a plant-based diet is continuing to rise, and it is now estimated that the number of people in the US that identify as a vegan has risen by 600% in the last three years. Although a plant-based diet is now widely regarded as one of the healthiest ways to eat and has been linked to the prevention of serious diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, it is still important for those following the diet to be mindful of the nutrient composition of the foods that they consume, in order to ensure that they are receiving the right balance of essential macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
What foods should a person on a plant-based diet be eating?
It’s a common misconception that a plant-based diet is composed primarily of fruits and vegetables but for a plant-based diet to be healthy, this shouldn’t be the case. Fruits and vegetables are an important component of a healthy plant-based diet but they should be accompanied by a wide variety of nuts, seeds, and legumes that provide essential mono and polyunsaturated plant oils, and are also a key source of protein. Without nuts, seeds, and legumes it would be very difficult for someone on a plant-based diet to eat the recommended quantity of calories and protein, and they may struggle to meet their recommended daily targets for certain vitamins and minerals.
Why are almonds such an important food source for those on a plant-based diet?
The nutritional composition of almonds
Almonds are an extremely nutrient-dense protein source and can provide someone on a plant-based diet with a range of micronutrients in a small, manageable serving. A single serving of almonds, (approximately 28g), contains;
Fat: 14g (9g of which is monounsaturated)
Vitamin E: 37% of the RDA
Manganese: 32% of the RDA
Magnesium: 20% of the RDA
This means that a single serving of almonds can provide someone on a plant-based diet with the same amount of protein as a large boiled egg, the same amount of fiber as a cup of brown rice and the same amount of Vitamin E as a fillet of salmon.
Other health benefits of almonds
Aside from being a great nutrient-packed protein source, eating a daily serving of almonds can provide a range of other valuable health benefits including:
Improving brain health and memory,
Encouraging hair and nail growth,
Lowering cholesterol levels,
Preventing heart disease,
Reducing blood pressure,
Aiding with weight loss and weight management,
Reducing the risk of cancer,
And improving digestion.
It’s clear that with so much goodness packed into one 28g serving, that it’s not just those on a plant-based or vegan diet that could benefit from eating more almonds. So whether you choose to nibble on them raw, dip them in chocolate, press them into plant-based cheese or blend them into nut butter, just be sure to eat your recommended serving of almonds a day.