Whole almond consumption is associated with improved dietary quality

Adapted from Dikariyanto V et al. Whole almond consumption is associated with better dietary quality and cardiovascular disease risk factors in the UK adult population. National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2008-2017. Eur J Nutr. 2020 May 16.

Almonds are known to be a highly nutritious food, but they must be imported and they are expensive. They require sunshine, water and pollination by bees. The UK imports them from California and Spain. Almond consumption is low in the UK.

As in all observational studies, association does not mean causation. People who eat a lot of almonds, like me, are probably more health conscious, may be avoiding wheat and other grains, may be on a low carb diet, and may be more affluent and may also be doing more exercise.

The researchers looked at 6802 people who completed at least three days of a four day food diary between 2008 and 2017.

7.1 % of the population reported eating almonds with an average consumption of five grams a day (a very small amount). This group reported eating higher intakes of protein, total and unsaturated fats, fibre and micronutrients including vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper and zinc, manganese and selenium. They also had lower intakes of trans fats, total carbohydrate, sugar and sodium than non consumers.

Almond consumers had a slightly lower body mass index and waist circumference compared to non consumers. There was no blood pressure differences.

The actual differences were BMIs of 25.5 versus 26.3 and waist sizes of 88.0 cm versus 90.1.

The authors concluded that, “Encouraging snacking on nuts, including almonds, to replace snack foods high in saturated fatty acids, refined sugars and free sugars may contribute to the sum effect of a healthy dietary pattern on reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases”.

I eat a lot more than 5mg of almonds a day, usually in the form of low carb baking. We have lots of almond based recipes on this site. If you like eating the nuts, go ahead. They are often conveniently packed in small bags and are very handy if you are travelling. Bear in mind that they do tend to get stuck between your teeth so bring some dental tape with you too.

Meals on a Low-Carb Week

I thought I’d record some of my meals this week, and allow you all to marvel at my food photography skills. Not.

Anyway, on Monday I ate half and avocado, a packet of flaked salmon and some salad, followed by dry-roasted peanuts. Of all the things I ate this week, this was the most aesthetically pleasing. I’m no food stylist as my photos on this blog testify, but it’s hard to make chopped avocado, salad and flaked salmon look rubbish.

On Tuesday, I ate a Caesar salad—partly to use up chicken we had in the freezer and partly to get rid of some of the jar of anchovy paste I bought the other week, which is destined to turn mouldy before I get round to using it all up*. My version of the dressing is this: whole egg, 100ml rapeseed oil, one clove of garlic, crushed, one rounded teaspoon anchovy paste, juice of half a lemon and 25g grated parmesan. Whisk together and use up within a few days.

Wednesday, I went for weirdness—two boiled eggs, cauliflower with a tin of anchovies chopped and mixed through, and the oil in the tin used to dress a salad. I’m eating tonnes of anchovies at the moment. They feel as if they are eco-friendly, super-healthy and those tins are dirt cheap.

On Thursday, I attempted a cauliflower risotto a la the Diet Doctor, as I wanted to try a new recipe. Cream, cheese, cauliflower and mushrooms… what’s not to love?! I’ve added the link to the recipe and you can see what it looks like when people who know how to make food look enticing get their hands on it.

Saturday, I decided, needed to be treat-worthy. ‘Treat-worthy’ is a subjective term. For my husband, it’s sirloin steak and chips whereas I can take or leave steaks. I’d rather eat a cheese omelette, so that’s what I did, doing my best to recreate a fluffy omelette I had in a cafe in Knaresborough last summer.

Throughout the week, I snacked on nuts. This week’s headlines about diabetes included a piece about nuts and how they might reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems for those with type 2 diabetes. That’s good enough for me. I love nuts—salted, smoked almonds in particular. But I’m happy to eat handfuls of the natural, unsalted varieties too.

What did that poor packet ever do to you?

And finally, we’ve been trying to persuade the cat his new best-loved food is Carne cat food. It’s a German make and it contains a lot more meat than most brands. Freddie, on the other hand, loves Whiskas – so much so he has worked out how to remove a packet from a tin and rip it apart with his claws…

Did you have a favourite meal this week and what was it? Let us know in the comments below.

*Does anyone know any other uses for the stuff? The jar suggests pasta and pizza, both out for obvious reasons.