Like pecan and walnuts, do almonds contain omega 3 fatty acids? While almonds are known for their health benefits, this is a very specific concern regarding their nutritional content. Let us understand the nutritional value of almonds and whether they truly contain omega-3-fatty acids and.
Do Almonds Contain Omega 3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients which are good for cellular growth, improvement of brain function, treating and preventing heart disease and increasing HDL level in the body. They are found in fatty fishes like mackerel, salmon, and sardines, many types of oils, grains, and beans. Even nuts like pecan, walnuts, and flaxseed are rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
But do almonds contain omega 3 fatty acids? Truly speaking, people who want to increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids should not depend on almonds. It contains only traces of this polyunsaturated fat that the body requires but is not able to produce. Instead, almonds are powerhouse of monounsaturated fats, which are also great for the body in many ways.
Monounsaturated Fats in Almonds
Monounsaturated fats in almonds are excellent for the heart. Like omega-3 fatty acids, they also help to reduce the total cholesterol count but it does this differently. Instead of increasing the HDL levels like omega-3s, monounsaturated fats decrease the LDL levels. So, although almonds do not contain much omega-3 fatty acids, they should be consumed for these heart healthy fats.
Studies have proven that addition of nuts to the diet decreases the risk of heart diseases. It has also been found that by consuming an equal amount of nuts rather than carbohydrates, risk of cardiac disease can be decreased by about 40%. Further, by substituting the saturated fats in meat and dairy products with monounsaturated fat as in nuts, risk of a heart disease can be decreased by 45%.
Heart Health Benefits of Almonds
In addition to the heart healthy fat contents, almonds also contain other nutrients that are essential for good health. Not only is almond a good source of monounsaturated fats, but also has vitamin E in abundance. The antioxidant properties of this nut help to improve immunity and fight against cardiac ailments and cancer. A 1/4 cup serving of almonds provides 45% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of vitamin E along with 45% of the RDI of manganese. The same serving offers 30% more protein than an egg, 20% of the body’s daily requirement of copper, riboflavin and tryptophan and only 205 calories. Almonds should be consumed without removing the skin to double their antioxidant punch. Almonds when mixed with foods high on glycemic index can help to dramatically normalize blood sugars. These benefits of almonds outweigh the fact that they do not contain much omega-3-fatty acids as they are rich in many other essential nutrients that offer heart health benefits.
Weight Loss Benefits of Almonds
A low-calorie diet to include almonds can help one lose more weight, than any other diet laden with complex carbohydrates. Studies show that the people, who eat nuts two times a week at minimum are 31% less likely to gain weight, compared to others who do not eat nuts. This is another great benefit of almonds, which helps to decrease overall health risks to a great extent. So, in order to lose weight, one can plan a diet rich in almonds and see the benefits. But as almonds do not contain enough omega-3-fatty acids, those who wish to boost these fats can have other nuts and fatty fish.
For deriving maximum health benefits from almonds, it is best to consume these nuts in their natural form, i.e. without coats of sugar, salt or chocolate. Excess of good can sometimes be counterproductive. So, one should not eat excess of almonds since 80 % of this nut is monounsaturated fat. Hence almonds should be eaten in moderation. It should however be remembered that almond is also a part of food groups that come under allergens and thus should be eaten with caution. People looking for foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, should rather try having walnuts and fatty fish.