Study Reveals Almonds Can Help Improve the Quality of the Diet

Dec 23, 2015 09:50 AM EST | By Denise Valerie Uychiat

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We might think that nuts don't really have anything good to give our bodies. For some of us, we see it as just something to munch on when your mouth isn't doing anything, or if you're bored. But according to a recent study, eating almonds every day can improve the diets of both young children and adults.

Alyssa Burns, a doctoral student at University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in US said that almonds are good sources of plant protein which have essential fatty acids, vitamin E and magnesium our body needs.

For the study, researchers handed out almonds every day to 29 pairs of parents and children. Most of the adults were mothers aging 35 years old, while children were aged between 3 and 6 years old. The children were told to have at least 0.5 ounces of almond butter daily; parents on the other hand were given 1.5 ounces of almonds each day.

Those who participated in the study consumed almonds for a number of weeks, and then continued eating their normal intake which included foods like snacks.

The researchers then based their findings about improved dietary intake on the participants' scores on the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), which is a tool used to calculate an individual's diet quality and consistency to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They also used an online dietary recall to find out what adults had eaten and how much they ate. That is one way to measure the quality of the adults' diet, Burns said.

The study revealed that when parents and children included almonds in their diet, their HEI rose for total protein foods, seafood and plant proteins and fatty acids, while they ate fewer empty calories. Parents also decreased their sodium intake. Both, parents and children also consumed more vitamin E and magnesium when almonds were included in their diet, Burns said.

HEI is on 12 different dietary components which should ideally be consumed in small amounts or I moderate amounts. All components are scored between 0 and 10 with a maximum score of 100. For all components, getting a higher score means higher diet quality.

When parents and children ate almonds, their HEI score increased from 53.7 to 61.4, Burns said.

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