Almond Nutrition Facts: Calories and Health Benefits

Almond nutrition facts and health benefits

Photo: Alexandra Shytsman 

Almonds are a nutritious, portable, low carbohydrate food that can be used in cooking or eaten as is. Eighty percent of the world's almonds are grown in California. Because almonds grow well in areas with a Mediterranean climate, they are commonly eaten in southern European, North African, and some Middle Eastern countries.

Almonds are nutrient-rich—they are a good source of fiber and protein.

They are also a good source of healthy, unsaturated fats (monounsaturated, such that is found in olive oil). In addition, almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium.

The only caveat to eating almonds is that they are calorie rich. Excess intake of calories can cause weight gain, an independent risk factor for various diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, when eating almonds, you should exercise portion control.

Almond Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 oz (24 whole kernels) (28 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 164 
Calories from Fat 127 
Total Fat 14.2g22%
Saturated Fat 1.1g5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.5g 
Monounsaturated Fat 8.9g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Potassium 207.44mg6%
Carbohydrates 6.1g2%
Dietary Fiber 3.5g14%
Sugars 1.2g 
Protein 6g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 8% · Iron 6%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Almonds can be purchased, salted, unsalted, raw, or roasted.

They can be blended into almond butter, made into almond milk, or ground as almond meal. Raw and roasted almonds are sodium-free, which is important for those people who have a history of hypertension or are looking to lower their sodium intake for other reasons. Almonds are also a good source of fiber, containing 3.5 grams in one serving.

In addition, almonds are a low carbohydrate, high protein food.

The healthy fat, fiber, and protein content of almonds provide satiating power. Almonds are low in saturated fat, containing a mere 1 gram per serving. In fact, most of the fat found in almonds is cardio-protective, monounsaturated fat.

Keep in mind that when eating almonds, you should aim to stick to one serving, which is about 24 whole almonds (1/4 cup or one small handful). If you are pairing almonds with another food item, such as fruit or yogurt, aim to stick to a 100 calorie serving (about 12). For those people looking to reduce their carbohydrate intake, almonds can be used as a replacement for breadcrumbs in cooking. Almond meal can also be used in baking.

Health Benefits of Almonds

In 2003, the FDA stated that scientific evidence suggests that eating 1.5 ounces of nuts per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. This may be due to the high content of the lipid-lowering monounsaturated fat found in almonds, in addition to the fiber content and antioxidant effects of vitamin E. Almonds also contain large amounts of phytonutrients, especially plant sterols and flavonoids, which are heart-healthy as well as conferring antioxidant benefits.

To maximize these nutrients, enjoy your almonds with the skins—flavonoids are concentrated there.

Almonds are also a rich source of manganese and magnesium. Manganese plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol. Magnesium is involved in over 300 metabolic pathways, including energy production, protein synthesis, cell signaling, and structural functions like bone formation. Some studies suggest that higher intakes of magnesium are associated with a reduced risk of developing diabetes.

Common Questions About Almonds

Are almonds tree nuts?

Almonds are considered to be a tree nut.

They commonly grow on shrubs or in trees and are embodied in a hard shell. Most of the time, if a person is allergic to tree nuts, they are allergic to all tree nuts.

Is almond milk a good alternative to dairy milk?

If someone has an allergy to dairy, almond milk is a good alternative. And although almonds are naturally high in calories, almond milk is a lower calorie substitution to cow's milk.

Picking and Storing Almonds

Almonds contain a high amount of fat, therefore they keep best in a cool, dry place, such as the refrigerator or a cool, dark pantry. Aim to seal your almonds (especially roasted) in an airtight container for optimal shelf life; preventing oxidation is key to maintaining freshness. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight and extreme smells.

If you're worried about high sodium intake, look to purchase almonds that are unsalted. If you want a bit of additional flavor, you can spice them up with a dash of your own pick of spices.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Almonds

Almonds can be eaten as a snack, as an addition to a meal, such as oatmeal, or incorporated into a side dish. Pre-portioned almonds are one of the foods you always want to have with you. When you are in a pinch, they can serve as a healthy, portable, nutrient dense snack. In addition to raw or roasted almonds, you can utilize almond products, such as almond meal, almond butter, and almond milk. Here are some good tips. 

  • Pack a hand full in a small bag and reach for them when hunger strikes. 
  • Spread almond butter on celery, or an apple for a fiber and protein-containing snack. 
  • Add almonds to salads, yogurt, cottage cheese—use your imagination. Nuts can be added to all different types of foods.
  • Avoid almonds which are coated in a sugary or honey glaze.
  • Use unsweetened almond milk in shakes, sauces, eggnog, and similar uses.
  • Almond flour (same thing as almond meal) can be used in many low-carb recipes. Try pancakesmuffins, cakes, and even stuffing.

Recipes Using Almonds

Cooking with almonds is a great way to boost the nutrient content of a meal while lowering the carbohydrate content. Almonds also add crunch and flavor which has satiating power and can prevent you from overeating. Add almonds to your breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, or dessert. Remember though to always monitor your portions. Below are a few good recipes: 

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Article Sources
  • Linus Pauling Institute. Manganese. 
  • Linus Pauling Institute. Magnesium.
  • Food and Drug Administration. Qualified health claims: Letter of enforcement discretion—Nuts and coronary heart disease.