Did you know today, February 16th, is National Almond Day? Roasted, raw, spiced, salted, covered in chocolate; you probably don’t need any additional encouragement to snack on these delicious little nuggets from nature. But, just to bring more cred to the crunch, here are my top five reasons that eating almonds is good for you. Plus, I’ve also included my Almond Lover Cookie Recipe below.
- Almonds are a super source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that many runners and other athletes lack, primarily because there are so few good food sources of it. Plus, research has suggested the type of vitamin E, called gamma-tocopherol, found in nuts helps to fight cancer. And, apparently gamma-tocopherol isn’t found in supplements, you have to get it straight from the food source.
- Almonds are chock full of other nutrients (besides vitamin E) beneficial to runners and athletes including magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. One handful of almonds can help reduce muscle damage, strengthen your bones, and boost energy to power through a workout.
- Other research has shown that munching on nuts several times per week reduces circulating cholesterol levels, particularly the artery-clogging LDL type, decreasing your risk for heart disease.
- Almonds are packed with both protein and fiber, meaning a snack incorporating almonds will keep you feeling fuller longer. A serving of almonds is one ounce (about 24 almonds) and has 170 calories, 3 grams of dietary fiber and 6 grams of protein.
- There are so many delicious things you can do with almonds. Gobble them straight from the bag, sprinkle in salads, mix with dried fruit or grind up and use as a coating of fish or chicken. Almond meal (a fancy way to say “ground almonds”) also makes a great substitute for flour in baking, especially if you are following a gluten-free, low-carb or Paleo diet. Check out this yummy Almond Lover Cookies Recipe I came up with that takes advantage of almonds in every way!
Almond Lover’s Cookie Recipe
- 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
- ½ cup almond butter
- ½ cup Splenda (or preferred sugar alternative)
- ¼ cup egg white
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cup almond flour
- 24 chocolate covered almonds
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
In medium mixing bowl, add butter, almond butter, Splenda and mix together until well-combined. Beat in egg white until mixture is fluffy. Next, mix in baking soda, salt and almond flour, stirring until incorporated.
Let mixture sit in refrigerator for a couple hours (or freezer for 30 minutes). With hands, shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on 2-inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a chocolate-covered almond into the top of each. Let cool on sheet for 1 minute and then spatula off to wire rack.
Makes 2 dozen.
Nutrition per cookie: Calories 103, fat 9g, sodium 24mg, potassium 96mg, total carbohydrate 2.8g, dietary fiber 1.5g, sugars 1.0g, protein 2.5g