Yearning to feel healthier? A handful of almonds would do the trick, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Florida, and published in the Journal of Nutrition Research.
Many are those who want to improve their diet but don’t know where to start. The findings of the new study might make life much easier for them: consume a handful of almonds daily, and that would be it.
The University of Florida researchers determined to find out the effects almonds could have on the diet quality of individuals. They gleaned their data from 28 parent-child pairs. They instructed the adults to eat 1.5 ounces of whole almonds per day for 3 weeks while the children were to eat half an ounce of almonds or the equivalent in the form of almond butter.
When the research first started, the mean Healthy Eating Index scores (a measure of diet quality) of the participants were 53.7 ± 1.8 and 53.7 ± 2.6 for the parents and children respectively; scores lower than 51 are synonymous with a poor diet, those above 80 are indicative of a good diet, and what falls between 51 and 80 implies room for improvement.
Following the 3 weeks of almond-eating, the average score increased to 61.4 ± 1.4 and 61.4 ± 2.2 for the parents and children respectively. Also, their Healthy Eating Index component scores for total protein foods had increased while the intake of empty calories was found to be lower.
Based on the findings, the authors concluded that the participants were substituting salty and processed snacks with almonds. Otherwise, previous research shows that the consumption of nuts and seeds had decreased over the years while the intake of salty snacks had increased. The researchers, therefore, think that children are more likely to consume healthy snacks like almonds when they get older if parents are able to include them in their diet. This would need some creativity though. The findings show that the children either grew bored with the almonds or did not like the taste. The researchers hence employed creative techniques to incorporate almonds in their diets: they added them to oatmeal, smoothies, and sandwiches.
To conclude, adding almonds to one’s list of foods might help enhance overall public health.