If you are looking for a healthy snack whether it be an addition to a healthy diet or introducing a nutritious snack to your dieting menu, Almonds are an ideal choice.  They are loaded with some amazing health benefits in a tiny package. 

According to a clinical study, almonds added to the diet have a favorable effect on blood cholesterol levels.  A diet containing almonds and other nuts, plant sterols (also found in nuts), soy protein, and soluble fiber (in high amounts in beans, oats, pears) reduced blood levels of all LDL fractions including small dense LDL (the type that most increases risk for cardiovascular disease) with near maximal reductions seen after only 2 weeks!

Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats that are associated with reduced risk of heart disease.  They are considered a very “heart healthy” snack since the flavonoids in almond skins work in synergy with the vitamin E, thus also reducing the risk of heart disease.  Those who consume nuts five times a week have about a 50 percent reduction in risk of heart attack according to the Loma Linda School of Public Health.

In addition to healthy fats and vitamin E, a quarter-cup of almonds contains almost 99 mg of magnesium (that’s 24.7% of the daily value for this important mineral).

Magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker. When there is enough magnesium in the body, veins and arteries are less resistant which improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Studies show that a deficiency of magnesium is not only associated with heart attack but that immediately following a heart attack, lack of sufficient magnesium promotes free radical injury to the heart.

Potassium, an important electrolyte involved in nerve transmission and the contraction of all muscles including the heart, is another mineral that is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Almonds promote your cardiovascular health by providing 257 mg of potassium and only 0.3 mg of sodium per quarter-cup, making almonds an especially good choice to in protecting against high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

Studies have shown that those eating almonds experienced a 62% greater reduction in their weight/BMI (body mass index), 50% greater reduction in waist circumference, and 56% greater reduction in body fat compared to those on the low calorie high carbohydrate diet.  This further supports the fact that people who ate nuts at least twice a week were much less likely to gain weight than those who almost never ate nuts.

So if you are looking for a healthy snack, you can literally go nuts!