Next time you’re in need of a nosh, reach for some almonds to give your diet a helping hand. According to findings published in Nutrition Reviews, establishing this habit may help improve your overall diet. The study included 29 parents, ages 34 to 35, who were paired up with their children, ages 3 to 4. The parent-child pairs were either assigned to a control group that didn’t eat almonds, or to an almond group that ate almonds and/or almond butter—1.5 ounces per day for parents and 0.5 ounces per day for children—for three weeks. Parents answered a weekly survey about their own diet and their child’s diet, which researchers used to calculate the pair’s score on the Healthy Eating Index-2010. Index scores reflect how a particular diet conforms to the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. After the three-week trial, both groups refrained from eating almonds for four weeks. Then the pairs swapped groups, so that those who didn’t eat almonds now ate almonds and vice versa, and the trial was repeated for another three weeks. At the end of the study, researchers found that:
When parents and their children ate almonds, their scores on the Healthy Eating Index increased by an average of 7.7 points, showing that their diets were more closely aligned with the USDA’s guidelines, compared with when they were not eating almonds.
Almonds are a good source of protein, vitamin E, mono- and polyunsaturated fats, and fiber. By adding healthy fats to the diet, contributing to protein intake, and possibly reducing the intake of refined grains and foods with empty calories, almonds improved Healthy Eating Index scores, and showed that they can be part of a healthy diet. Try replacing a salty snack of chips or pretzels, or a sweet snack of cookies or candy, with a handful of almonds to improve the quality of your family’s diet. If you’ve got a picky eater, try adding almonds to foods your kids are already nuts about, like oatmeal, smoothies, or sandwiches.
Source: Nutrition Reviews