In a clinical trial, researchers conducted a randomized crossover trial that examined the impact of one serving of almonds at mealtime on postprandial (i.e. after a meal) glycemia. Both healthy individuals and individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus were recruited for the trial. On two occasions separated by at least one week, 19 adults (including seven adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus) ate a standardized evening meal and fasted overnight before ingesting the test meal (juice, bagel, and butter) with or without almonds.
The research team found that a standard serving of almonds reduced postprandial glycemia significantly in participants with diabetes, but did not influence glycemia in participants without diabetes. They concluded that modest almond consumption improves both short-term and long-term markers of glucose control in individuals with uncomplicated type 2 diabetes mellitus.
What makes nuts like almonds so special? The nutritional content in almonds alone is impressive. They are the best source of vitamin E. They are also higher in protein than most other vegetable sources. A 1/4 cup of almonds will net you 7.6 g of protein — more than you get when you eat a large egg! Almonds are also a good source of riboflavin, iron, potassium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Worried about your cholesterol levels when it comes to eating almonds? Consider this: in a clinical trial completed at the Division of Human Nutrition, Adelaide, Australia, 16 male volunteers were recruited to study the effects of walnut and almonds on cholesterol levels. The participants consumed a diet providing 36% of energy as fat for nine weeks. A daily supplement of nuts (providing half of the total fat intake) was provided against a common background diet.
The researchers discovered a surprising conclusion: compared with the reference diet, there were significant reductions in total and LDL cholesterol after nut supplementation. Specifically, there was a 10% reduction after supplementation with almonds, and a nine-percent reduction after supplementation with walnuts.