There is an episode of “King of the Hill” where Hank Hill’s dad, Cotton, accuses his ex-wife of having tried to poison him with cyanide. In reality, she was merely serving chicken almondine. Any fan of murder mysteries knows that when cyanide poisoning is the homicidal weapon of choice, the smell of almonds eventually comes up. Yes, cyanide can be made from almonds…among many other plants. Don’t let the smell of death in the air that comes eating almonds stop you from exploiting the nutrients with which almonds are also loaded.
A cup of whole almonds contains nearly two day’s worth of the vitamin E that you are recommended to consume. Almonds are some of the tastiest of all nuts; they make cashews taste like something that came from the bottom of a shoe. You almost cannot hope to find a more delicious way to consume that 187% of the vitamin E that you get by eating a cup of almonds than, well, by eating a cup of almonds. The official verdict has yet to be returned, but the jury is currently considering vitamin E to be the culprit in everything from helping to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration to the prevention of cataracts. Getting vitamin E from eating almonds may also have the potential to prevent colon cancer and even possibly slow the progress of Alzheimer’s.
That cup of whole almonds is packed to the gills—wait, that doesn’t sound right—with calories. Yes, it’s true that almonds are high-calorie snacks and it’s true that a lot of those calories come fat. But that’s most unsaturated fat and that’s the better kind of fat to eat. What should not be lost in the observation is that in addition to a lot of calories, you are also getting a lot of protein. Meaning that as far as snack food goes, almonds don’t really qualify as one of those “empty calorie” choices. A cup of almonds means in excess of 60% of the protein you need in a day. If you aren’t getting all the protein you should be getting, the effects could range from bad blood circulation to anemia. Protein is vital for the body to efficiently produce muscle, get oxygen moving through the blood to all your tissue and even make sure you have the energy to make it through another day.
Magnesium is every bit of omnipresent throughout the human body as protein. Name an organ inside the body and there will you find magnesium. Now comes the good part: nearly all the magnesium you require in a typical day can be found in a cup of whole almonds. Now comes the not so good part: an atypical day can be you require the ingestion of more magnesium. Atypical in this instance can mean a day like, for instance, one constantly interrupted by diarrhea, unusually heavy menstrual bleeding or tipping the scales of alcohol consumption past the point of socializing. In other words, chronic magnesium deficiencies are rare, but occasional deficiencies are quite common. The result of a magnesium deficiency ranges from a sudden drop in energy and a rise in lethargy to increased anxiety to—and this is one you may notice occurring in conjunction with those atypical days more than others—restless leg syndrome. So sit back and enjoy a snack of almonds. You just may sleep more readily tonight.