Are Almonds Keto?

Introduction

In recent years the popularity of the Keto diet has soared thanks to raving reviews from celebrities, athletes and chefs alike.  If you’ve been considering beginning your own Keto journey you probably have questions as to which of your favorite foods are allowed on this low-carb high-fat diet.  If you’ve always been fond of snacking on almonds than you’re in luck because almonds are Keto friendly!

The following article will explain why almonds work well as part of a Keto diet, the health benefits that adding almonds to your Keto might have as well as how to best incorporate this tasty nut into your meals. 

What are almonds?

Almonds are the seed of the almond tree, also known as Prunus Dulcis.  Although they’re called a “nut” they are actually a seed that’s encased in a hard shell.  This makes them drupes, like the coconut and stone fruit such as the peach and plum.  However, at first glance, the almond has a lot more in common with a nut than it does a peach!

The United States is currently the world’s largest producer of almonds although they originated in the Middle East around the Mediterranean.  Almonds were one of the first nuts to be cultivated and farmed by humans which has allowed their popularity to spread around the world.   +Almonds are easy to find in your local stores and they’re one of the less expensive nuts available.  You can buy them roasted or raw, shelled or in the shell, salted or unsalted.  

What are the health benefits of almonds?

Almonds offer a variety of health benefits that make them a great addition to any diet.  They’re rich in nutrients and minerals which can otherwise be difficult to find on the Keto diet.

A single one-ounce serving of almonds (roughly ¼ cup) contains 165 calories.  This makes almonds a high-calorie dense food since they pack quite a few calories in a handful of nuts.  Of those 165 calories you get a generous serving of protein, healthy fats and fibre.  There are 6g of protein and a whopping 14g of fat in almonds (80% of which is monounsaturated).  There are also 6g of carbs and 3g of fibre.

When it comes to individual nutrients and vitamins, almonds are no slouch.  They contain half of your daily vitamin E needs (7.27 milligrams per ounce).  Vitamin E is essential for preventing blood clots in your arteries that could lead to strokes.  It also boosts your immune system and it’s a great source of an antioxidant known as alpha-tocopherol.  

Alpha-tocopherol plays a role in removing free-radicals from your body which may reduce damage done to your cells as well as reduce your risk of developing cancer.  These antioxidants are mostly found in the thin brown skin that coats the almond so it’s best to avoid blanched almonds that have had this skin removed if you want to these important health benefits. 

Almonds are a rich source of fibre which is very important on Keto for a variety of reasons.  No matter which diet you’re following, fibre plays an important role in maintaining the health of your digestive tract.  Fibre allows your body to keep your stools loose and soft as well as increasing the amount of water in the intestine and helping to keep your digestive tract moving along smoothly.  All of these benefits of fibre can lead to less risk of constipation as well as stomach pain and discomfort. 

Almonds also contain, magnesium, and Vitamin B7 (biotin).  Vitamin B7 is necessary because it help our body to break down the fats, protein and carbs that are found in your foods.  Magnesium is needed by your body in order to act as an electrical conductor that allows your heart to beat.  It also plays a role in more than 300 of the chemical reactions that enzymes in your body need for everything from bone health to blood sugar regulation.  

All of these nutrients provide almonds with the tools needed to offer your body some incredible health benefits.  For starters, almonds are great for your digestive health due to their high fibre content.  They’re also great for the health of your brain because of their high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids.  

Studies have been done that show that almonds have the ability to lower your bad cholesterol levels.  Your LDL cholesterol (or low-density lipoprotein) is responsible for increasing your risk of blood clots, strokes and hard disease because this type of cholesterol builds up in your arteries causing blockages.  A diet rich in almonds may reduce the levels of this harmful cholesterol.  A study done in 2002 showed that almonds also might help with oxidative damage to LDL cholesterol which can increase your risk of heart disease tremendously.  This is because almonds contain high levels of antioxidants, particularly alpha-tocopherol.

What is Keto?

The Keto diet seeks to switch the way your body metabolises food to create energy.  Instead of running on glucose, which is created from the carbs you eat, the Keto diet looks to have your body run off of ketones created in your liver from your fat cells.

This requires you to keep your net carbs to 20-25g a day or less.  Net carbs are the carbs that your body can digest to produce glucose and if too many net carbs are available then your body will switch off its production of ketones and switch back to using glucose.

Ketones are a more stable, long-burning type of fuel and many people on keto experience benefits such as weight loss, improved mental clarity and increased energy levels.  The average Keto diet consists of 70-75% of your calories coming from healthy fats, 20-25% of your calories coming from protein and only 5-10% of your calories coming from carbohydrates.

Are almonds Keto friendly?

Almonds are a very Keto-friendly nut (seed/drupe). Healthy fats are vital to your success on Keto and almonds provide 14g of fats, 80% of which are monounsaturated.  There is also a little polyunsaturated and saturated fats in almonds but the monounsaturated fats take centre-stage.  A diet rich in healthy fats helps your body to create the ketones that it needs in order to fuel you and keep you in an energized state of ketosis.  

Almonds are also low in carbohydrates and high in fibre.  Although a serving of almonds contains 6g of carbs, it also contains 3g of fibre.  This fibre lowers the net digestible carbs in almonds to only 3g per ounce which allows almonds to fit into anyone’s keto carb limit.

Snacking on almonds can help keep your full because of their fibre, fat and protein content.  This raises your satiety levels which can help prevent snacking, leading to less calories consumed and weight loss.  They also aid your Keto diet in lowering your levels of LDL cholesterol, something that Keto does naturally, but almonds give the process a bit of a boost. 

The fibre found in almonds is vital on keto.  Because the Keto diet cuts out a lot of foods that are typically high in fibre (grains, bread, pasta, etc) it means that a lot of people on Keto suffer from constipation.  Finding this fibre in plant-based sources such as leafy green veggies and almonds can alleviate the symptoms of constipation and keep your digestive tract running smoothly.

How to add almonds into your Keto diet

Almonds are easy to incorporate into a lot of different meals on Keto.  The following are some of the easiest ways to add almonds into your Keto meal plan.

  • All by themselves: one of the beauties of almonds is that they can be eaten all by themselves, no fuss, prepping or cooking required!  Simply toss a handful into your purse or keep a container in your car for an easy, healthy Keto snack when you’re on the go.  Or grab a few alongside some Keto-friendly vegetables or cheese for a well-rounded, healthy snack.
  • On a salad:  Keto salads can sometimes lack the crunch that croutons offered.  Tossing some slivered almonds on top of your salad adds flavor, nutrients, healthy fats and that satisfying crunch that your mouth may have been missing
  • In Keto baking: Almonds are a popular nut to add to any type of baking, and Keto baking is no exception.  You can add them whole, halved or slivered to a variety of breads, muffins and cakes (Keto0friendly of course) for added nutrition and flavor.
  • Roasted: If you toss almonds in your favorite healthy oil (avocado and extra-virgin olive oil work well) then you’re on your way to a supercharged healthy fat Keto snack!  After the almonds have been coated in oil, toss them with some of your favorite spices.  You can choose cinnamon and nutmeg for a sweet snack, chili powder and garlic for a savoury one or Cajun spices for a spicy snack.  Then you simply bake in the oven until the almonds have become crispy.  This is a great substitution for chips and popcorn while on Keto!

Conclusion

Almonds are a great addition to your Keto diet.  They’re low in carbs, high in fibre and very high in healthy fats.  Almonds offer a variety of health benefits for your gut, brain and heart and their versatility makes them easy to add into your Keto meals.

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