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How many carbs in almonds?

Me and nut butter…it’s like the yin to my yang.  It’s incredibly addicting. So much that I make homemade cashew pecan butter every single week in my house because my family devours it. And almond butter…holy moly, we love that too.  Quite honestly, my pantry is stocked with a wide selection of nut butter.

Almond butter though takes the cake when it comes to media hype. They have plenty of properties that make them a worthy recipient. Almonds are packed with antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. A ½ cup of almonds provides ¼ the amount of recommended daily fiber intake for an adult female. So how many carbs are in almonds? Well, almonds are low in carbohydrates and boast an impressive amount of monounsaturated fat (the good kind of fat!) which can lower cholesterol, aid in the protection of our organs, and promote overall heart health.

How Many Carbs Are In Almonds? An Origin   

The almighty almond originates from the Mediterranean and southwest Asia, but since the 20th century, almond trees have largely been cultivated in Sacramento California. The almond is the seed of the hard-shelled fruit of the almond tree. Almonds are closely related to apricots and peaches.

Yes, that’s right, almonds are actually considered to be a fruit according to the United States Forest Service. They come from the prunus family and fall into the stone fruit category. Stone fruit trees and shrubs produce fruits such as cherries, plums, peaches, and nectarines.

Your friends will be impressed when you tell them almonds and cherries are cousins and happen to make a delicious trail mix (just don’t forget to add the dark chocolate nibs!).

How many carbs are in almonds? And what about fat and protein? One serving of almonds, or 1 oz, provides 14 grams of fat (9 grams of monounsaturated fat, 3.4 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 1.1 grams of saturated fat), 6 grams of protein, and 6 grams of carbs. And as far as vitamins and minerals, almonds are rich in vitamin E, Magnesium, manganese, copper, and calcium.                   

But why do almonds have carbohydrates?

When we think nuts, we think FAT.  But most nuts contain more macronutrients within them including carbohydrate.  According to MyFitnessPal, one serving of almonds has 6 grams of carbohydrates. 2.9 grams of net carbs, and 3.1 grams of fiber. Remember, Net Carbs equal the total grams of carbs – grams of fiber. Fiber is most present in the skin of the almonds.  To make sure you are getting in all the fiber buy almonds with the skin on them in order to reap the benefits.

Almonds contain insoluble fiber which is indigestible, and is considered “nature’s broom”. Insoluble fiber aids in the motility of the digestive tract by moving materials through and adds to the bulk of stool.

This type of fiber is helpful in the diets of people who struggle with constipation or irregular bowel movements. The net carbs come from complex carbohydrates which are slow digesting and have a time releasing effect for energy usage. Complex carbohydrates don’t have the crash and burn effect like simple carbohydrates (candy, white bread, chips, etc.) do on people.

Fats

One ounce of almonds contains 9 grams of monounsaturated fat, the good type of fat, that is greatly associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fat also improves insulin sensitivity and helps the body to properly utilize fat. Increasing the amount of monounsaturated fat in one’s diet will help aid in weight loss, and maintain a healthy metabolism (i.e maintain healthy body weight).

Polyunsaturated fats often referred to as omega-3 fatty acids, are also present in almonds. Polyunsaturated fats have been linked to raising HDL levels (good cholesterol) and Lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in persons at risk for heart disease. Lowering high blood pressure, and reducing the risk of type II diabetes is another added benefit from consuming foods containing polyunsaturated fat.

Protein

The media often touts almonds as a high protein source. Although this is true, the amount of protein (6 grams) in one serving of almonds is usually not sufficient enough to fulfill protein requirements for that one meal unless paired with another protein source.

Nuts are great, but can be easy to overeat, and can easily consume one’s allotted macronutrient values for the day in a hot second. Adding almonds to a grilled chicken salad, or making “chicken nuggets” with almond meal is a good way to “have your cake and eat it too”.

Magnesium

Magnesium is crucial in the functioning of over 300 chemical reactions required for proper body functioning. It is commonly used to alleviate constipation. The health benefits of Magnesium include calcium absorption, the formation of connective tissue (bye-bye wrinkles), proper metabolism of fats and carbohydrates as well as regulating blood sugar levels, and aiding in the proper functioning of thyroid levels.

Magnesium is also used by many health professionals to maintain healthy blood pressure in patients since it is a calcium- channel blocker. Brazil nuts and flaxseeds are also a good source of magnesium.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is antioxidant-rich which helps to stave off free radicals such as environmental pollutants, poor air quality, and sun damage. Many studies state that including Vitamin E also helps to suppress the oxidation or hardening of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) in the arteries. Other evidence suggests vitamin E helps to fight against the signs of Alzheimer’s disease. One 1oz. serving of dry roasted almonds provides 6.8 mg of Vitamin E.

Manganese, Calcium, and Copper

Nuts also contain minerals that play a key role in many of the body’s processes. Manganese is an important trace mineral that is found in small amounts in the body particularly in the kidneys, pancreas, liver, and bones. Manganese aids in the formation of bone, connective tissue, blood clotting factors, and plays a major role in the metabolization of fats and carbohydrates.

Calcium is a common mineral found in the body that is necessary for life. Calcium helps to form and maintain bone and bone density. Calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction, releasing hormones, transmitting messages through the nerves, blood clotting factors, and your heartbeat. A consistent level of calcium intake can be a preventative measure for people at risk for osteoporosis. Women need to be especially concerned about their calcium intake since they are more at risk for osteoporosis than men.

Copper is an essential trace mineral in the body that helps aid in the absorption of iron, the formation of collagen, and brain functioning. Iron and copper together form red blood cells. Copper can be found in the brain, liver heart, kidneys, and skeletal muscle.

Too little or too much copper in the body can lead to brain dysfunction. Copper plays a major role in the maintenance of collagen and elastin in our skin. Maintaining collagen and elastin will help in slowing down the effects of the aging process.

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Pecans

Pecans are the only nut native to North America and Mexico. Pecans are another superfood that helps to reduce inflammation, prevent oxidative stress, improve brain functioning, maintain bone health, and reduce symptoms of PMS. Yet even more reason to make your own cashew pecan butter too. They have a higher fat content than any other nut.

Pecans are high in omega- 9 or oleic acid which helps to protect the nervous system and helps to control inflammation levels within the body. Pecans contain nineteen vitamins and minerals. The most important being copper, zinc, and manganese. One 1 oz serving of pecans according to a MyFitnessPal query, contains roughly 20 grams of fat (11.6 grams monounsaturated fat, 6.1 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 1.8 grams of saturated fat), 4 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are native to Australia, but Hawaii is the largest exporter of this super delicious nut. Dip them in some dark chocolate and it is life changing. Macadamia nuts are high in flavonoids, which convert into antioxidants in the body. Macadamia nuts have a perfect one to one ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats which the standard American diet provides way too much omega- 6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3s.

Too much intake of omega-6 can lead to heart disease, atherosclerosis, and inflammation of the body. They are also high in Omega -7 in the form of palmitoleic acid which helps your body use omega- 3s properly. Without omega-7s, omega- 3s do not do their job as well. One ounce of macadamia nuts contains 204 calories, 21 grams of fat (17 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0.4 grams polyunsaturated fat, and 3.4 grams of saturated fat.)

Not all almonds are created equally

It can be hard to know if the products you are purchasing are going to be the best bang for your buck nutrition wise, especially when almonds are talked about as a superfood. According to the USDA, as of 2007, all almonds must go through a pasteurization process before being sold in stores. This is to prevent salmonella. They fumigate the almonds with propylene oxide gas that is carcinogenic and potentially gene-mutating.

Stores such as Costco have admitted to selling this type of almond in their stores. As long as the almonds are not roasted, stores are allowed to label their almonds “raw” even if they have been through this type of pasteurization process. This makes the shopping selection even more confusing to the average consumer trying to make health-conscious choices. So before you ask how many carbs are in almonds, ask if your almonds have been through this process.

Almonds have a bad side

Almonds may be a nutritional powerhouse, but they have a dark side. Many nuts contain phytic acid which inhibits the vitamins and minerals contained in the nut. This means that your body will pull out the nutrients rather than use them. It’s best to soak your almonds overnight for a minimum of 8 hours completely submerged in water.

By soaking the nuts, this will neutralize the phytic acid and enhance the enzymatic activity. Enzymatic activity helps in the digestion process and the utilization of vitamins and minerals.  The reality is though even with the presence of phytic acid, snacking on almonds provides a much greater nutrient value than a junk food counterpart.

Almond butter for weight loss

The reality is that almonds contain roughly the same macronutrient profile as other nut butter.  Eating almond butter over peanut butter because it contains more micronutrient benefits may have validity.  However, eating it for weight loss will not bring you any other benefits compared to another nut butter counterpart in the same quantities.

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A tablespoon of almond butter contains 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrates and almost 4 protein.  This compared to a tablespoon of peanut butter also at 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbohydrate and 3 protein.

Almonds in recipes

Almonds are such a versatile nut and can be added to almost any meal or side dish. Eaten in moderation, almonds can provide long-lasting health benefits when paired with a healthy balanced diet.

Try throwing some almonds, bananas, and cinnamon into morning oats before a long day of work. The complex carbs from the oats and the fat from the nuts help maintain satiation well into the afternoon when you can finally sneak in your overdue lunch break.

Using sliced almonds or pecan bits atop a salad adds an awesome crunchy texture and sneaks in all the benefits of nuts as mentioned above.

When I make many spaghetti squash bakes, I sprinkle almond meal on top and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes until it gets nice and crispy.

One of my favorite treat recipes of all time is an almond flour-based chocolate chip cookie. You can find it here.  Although these cookies are macronutrient dense, they have whole, real food ingredients and are so dang good.  You can bake them and even freeze to help portion out and get a nice treat.

 

What are your favorite almond based recipes? Feel free to share below.

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