The Perfect Snack Food: Eating Almonds May Improve Your Heart And Weight

Tired of snack foods that leave you feeling either gross and guilty or still hungry? There may be a solution. Eating almonds may curb your hunger, protect your heart, fight Alzheimer's disease and UV light damage, control blood glucose levels, and slow aging, according to six studies presented at the American Society of Nutrition Scientific Sessions.

Sound too good to be true? These newer studies seem to corroborate existing evidence that almonds are indeed a solid snacking choice. Two of the individual studies conclude that even a generous 1.5-ounce serving of almonds per day has no negative effects on weight, while improving participants' nutrient intakes, blood glucose levels, and appetites in just four to six weeks. In other words, these daily almond eaters had reduced their chances of developing metabolic syndrome, including diabetes. Another study from the sessions, conducted on participants who were already almond-eaters of their own accord, found a correlation between eating almonds and better general "physiological status."

Even aside from almonds, daily nut eaters live longer than non-nut eaters, possibly due to related decreases in heart disease and cancer. Although the standard warning that "correlation doesn't mean causation" applies, this is pretty compelling evidence for nut consumption, including almonds. Even if almonds aren't necessarily better than other minimally-processed, nutrient-dense snacks, they have the additional advantage of being readily available, easy to store and carry, and not particularly expensive.

However, as always, don't get taken in by claims that any one food can work miracles. Almonds are healthy, but they won't compensate for an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle, and almond ice creams or croissants aren't going to pack nearly as much of a punch as a reasonable serving size of plain (boring) almonds. So, consider almonds' full nutritional profile and add some into your diet in a way that works for you.