Almonds provide crunch and flavor and are great for a snack on the go. You can also add almonds to salads, trail mixes and other dishes and even use them in homemade almond milk.
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Small quantities of almonds usually fit well into most diets, but eating too many may cause side effects. Understanding the risks can help you to appropriately plan your diet, reap the benefits of almonds and avoid the pitfalls.
Read more: Nutritional Value of Raw Almonds
Eating a large quantity of almonds can trigger weight gain. The recommended serving of almonds is about 1 ounce, which is about 23 kernels, because these nuts are high in calories and fat —163 calories and 14 grams of fat per ounce.
You gain a pound if you consume 3,500 calories above what you burn, so adding just 500 calories to your diet each day for a week can cause weight gain. If you consume approximately 3 ounces of almonds each day without accounting for them in your meal plan, you may gain as much as 1 pound in a week.
Even though the fat in almonds is primarily healthy fats, eating 3 ounces of almonds introduces 42 grams of fat into your diet. The issue with fat is that it's a concentrated source of calories. One gram of fat contains 9 calories, while 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein contains only 4 calories.
So those 42 grams of fat in your 3-ounce serving of almonds contain 378 calories, and on a 2000-calorie diet, that's nearly 20 percent of your daily calorie needs. It's generally recommended that you limit your fat consumption to 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories, or 44 to 78 grams on a 2,000-calorie diet, to keep calories in check and reduce your risk of weight gain.
Interactions With Your Medications
Almonds are quite high in manganese. Each 1 ounce serving provides you with 0.6 milligram of this mineral, providing 27 percent of the daily value. Under normal circumstances, this is a good thing — you need 1.8 to 2.3 milligrams per day to help your body function properly.
If you consume a lot of almonds, particularly on top of a manganese-rich diet, this might trigger drug interactions. High quantities of manganese in your blood can interfere with some antipsychotic drugs, as well as antacids, laxatives, blood pressure medications and certain antibiotics.
Vitamin E Overdose
Including almonds in your diet provides you with vitamin E, which offers antioxidant protection. You get 7.4 milligrams of vitamin E per ounce of nuts, roughly half the 15 milligrams you need each day.
It takes a lot of almonds to rise above the tolerable upper limit of 1,000 milligrams per day. But it's possible, especially if you eat a diet rich in vitamin E foods, such as eggs, fortified cereals, spinach and whole grains.
One ounce of almonds contains 3.5 grams of fiber, an amount that contributes to the quantity you need each day — 25 to 38 grams — to prevent diarrhea and constipation.
However, eating too many almonds can actually cause constipation and abdominal bloating if your body is not used to processing large amounts of fiber. If you consume a lot of almonds, drink water along with them to help your body handle the fiber intake.
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- Drugs.com: Vitamin E
- Mayo Clinic: Vitamin E
- MyFoodData: Nutrition Facts for Almonds
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: McKinley Health Center: Macronutrients: The Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat
- MedlinePlus: Manganese
- Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, Vitamins
- MayoClinic.com; "Dietary Fiber: Essential For a Healthy Diet"; November 2009
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Nuts, Almonds