Almonds have long been considered the alternative to peanuts. Not just for people allergic to peanuts but for the health conscious as well.
So What Makes the Almond So Special?
Almonds are a true nut, whereas peanuts are a legume (family to the bean, pea, and lentil). Both peanuts and almonds are good for health, though in different ways.
The Nutritional Breakdown
Nutritionally, peanuts and almonds have many similarities. The main difference between them is peanuts are high in folate (one ounce provides 10 percent of the RDA) and almonds are high in vitamin E (one ounce provides 35 percent of the RDA) and magnesium (one ounce provides 21 percent of the RDA). Studies have shown that many Americans don’t get enough magnesium, with average intake falling about 100 milligrams shy of daily recommendations (420 mg for men, 320 mg for women). Magnesium is important to maintaining the proper proportion of calcium to potassium. Also, low levels of magnesium in the diet may contribute to heart attacks and hypertension.
A study reported in the Journal of the American Association suggests a diet rich in foods containing vitamin E may help protect some people against Alzheimer's disease.
Both peanuts and almonds help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Glycemic Response to Peanuts versus Almonds
- Peanuts have a Glycemic Index of 14 which means they have a slow effect on blood sugar levels.
- Almonds have a Glycemic Index of 0, which means they have no effect on blood sugar levels.
No, though all nuts are high in calories. About 80% of the calories come from fat. Much of the fat, though, is “good” monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, not the “bad” saturated variety in meat and dairy products. In research studies, cholesterol-lowering diets that contain nuts reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol by 9%–20%, regardless of the amount of fat or nuts.
Which Nut is More Fattening?
Almonds are the clear winner here. A 2 tablespoon serving size of almond butter has 1 gram of saturated fat, whereas the same serving of peanut butter has 3 grams of saturated fat.
The Bad News About Peanuts
According to Mercola.com, peanuts are:
• Loaded with omega-6 fats that distort the omega 3:6 ratio
• Frequently contaminated with a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin
• One of the most pesticide-contaminated crops
Almonds Will Help Your Body Absorb Vitamins
Vitamins D, E, A and K are fat-soluble. To help your body absorb these vitamins, you should eat a little healthy fat at breakfast - a little bit of egg or some almond butter on whole wheat toast.
What is a Serving of Nuts?
The FDA recommends up to 1.5 ounces of nuts daily. This equals a handful and a half of nuts.
Almonds are a good alternative to peanuts if you don't like them or are allergic. However, if you are able to eat both then you should feel good about doing so. Both are loaded with vitamins and minerals.
However, in the fat category, the almond is clearly superior to the peanut - which is why my family and I eat almond butter on a daily basis.
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