You've heard this before, almonds are one of the healthiest nuts. Our grandmothers have told us time and again not to forget those almonds she diligently soaked a night before.Health experts agree, they are packed with protein, Vitamin E, minerals and monounsaturated fats that have been shown to boost heart health.A new study supports the same. According to a team of American researchers, eating a moderate amount of almonds every day may enrich the diets of adults and young children. "Almonds are a good source of plant protein - essential fatty acids, vitamin E and magnesium," said Alyssa Burns, a doctoral student at University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in US.For the 14-week study, scientists gave almonds daily to 29 pairs of parents and children. Most of the adults were mothers with an average age of 35, while their children were between 3 and 6 years old. The children were encouraged to consume 0.5 ounces of almond butter daily. Parents were given 1.5 ounces of almonds per day. Participants ate almonds for a few weeks, then they resumed eating their typical intake, which included other foods as snacks.Researchers based their conclusions about improved dietary intake on participants' scores on the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), a tool used to measure diet quality and adherence to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Researchers used an online dietary recall to find out what adults had eaten and how much. That way, researchers could measure diet quality, Burns said.When parents and children were eating almonds, their HEI increased for total protein foods, seafood and plant proteins and fatty acids, Burns said, while they ate fewer empty calories. Parents also decreased sodium intake. Parents and children consumed more vitamin E and magnesium when eating almonds, she said."Almonds are equally nourishing raw or soaked. When soaked overnight the germination process starts in these seeds so the quality of proteins may show some improvement. By replacing one snack with one ounce of almonds, you are removing empty calorie dense food with a nutrient dense alternative," suggests Dr. Rupali Datta, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Fortis-Escorts Hospital.Talking about the benefits of eating almonds everyday she adds, "They are sources of unsaturated fats, high-quality vegetable protein, fiber, minerals, tocopherols, phytosterols, and phenolic compounds. By virtue of their nutritional composition they are potent health boosters. Clinical studies across the worlds have shown the positive effect of nuts on cardiovascular risk factors, weight management and to a lesser extent on cancer, inflammation and hypertension."With inputs from PTI
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