In a recent analysis, scientist set out to define the world’s most nutritious foods based on a novel ranking system. They grouped foods together in various combinations that meet our daily nutrient requirements using the smallest number of foods possible. The foods that were included in the most combinations were ranked as having the most "nutritional fitness."
What food came out on top?
And here's why...
1. Concentrated nutrition. One ounce of almonds contains 163 calories, 8.8 grams of MUFA (healthy monounsaturated fats like those found in olive oil), 3.4 grams of PUFA (polyunsaturated fats, like those heart-healthy omega 3s), 6 grams of protein, 39 mg of plant sterols and 3.5 grams of fiber. That's a lot of heart-healthy, cholesterol-fighting nutrients from just a small handful of nuts.
2. A top food source of vitamin E. Per ounce, almonds deliver 37% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin E, making almonds one of the most abundant sources of this nutrient. The high vitamin E content is actually a big deal as studies have linked higher intakes of vitamin E intake FROM FOOD with lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and dementia. This is in contrast to getting your vitamin E from supplements, which has never been shown to improve outcomes.
3. Full of antioxidants. A raw almond’s brown skin is especially high in antioxidants and studies have shown reductions in biomarkers of oxidative stress with regular raw almond consumption. This means that almonds have a role to play in fighting inflammation and oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol. For LDL to deposit in our arteries, it has to be oxidized. Reducing LDL oxidation reduces the chance that any of it actually causes us harm.
4. High magnesium content. One ounce of almonds also gets you 20% of the RDA for magnesium, which can be important for blood sugar and pressure control. Magnesium deficiency is common and increasing magnesium intake has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels. This has significant implications for people with metabolic syndrome, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Getting enough magnesium can also help with blood pressure control. Following a low sodium DASH diet, which is naturally high in magnesium, has been shown to be as effective as using a medication to lower blood pressure readings.
5. Good for weight loss. Finally, nuts in general have been shown to help with weight loss. Although that seems counterintuitive (given that they’re a higher calorie, high fat food), nuts are very satiating, leading to overall lower calorie consumption, especially when they’re the switch out for processed carbs.
All in all, almonds truly are a superfood. Which is why you’ll find raw, skin on almonds in all Step One Foods products.
But we didn’t just stop at almonds. EVERY ingredient in every product was chosen specifically for its documented health promoting properties. There are no fillers, no preservatives, no wasted calories. This is why our foods are so different - and so good for you.