Eating almonds daily can improve diet quality for parents and children, says new research

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Eating almonds daily, about 0.5-1.5 servings (about 14 – 42 grams) helps displace empty calories, and also modulates gut microbiota composition. Here's why

A new study published last month (November 2015) in the medical journal, Nutrition Research found that adding a moderate amount of almonds to the family diet (1.5 servings/day of whole almonds for parents and 0.5 serving/day for children) significantly improved the family’s overall diet quality. It also found that such an addition modulated intestinal microbiota composition in the participants.

In a statement released by the researchers, Wendy Dahl, PhD, RD, associate professor at the University of Florida and contributing researcher on the study says, “The findings suggest that eating almonds daily helped participants to replace some of their empty calorie snacks with it, which has important implications since snacking has become so prevalent.”

Bobbi Langkamp-Henken, PhD, RD, professor at University of Florida and principal investigator of the study, adds, “Our study participants generally liked almonds a lot, and were happy to eat them – so making this dietary change wasn’t a tough sell.”

He recommended that choosing almonds as a snack may be a simple strategy to establish healthy eating patterns in children and an achievable way to improve public health.

The study also observed that almond consumption resulted in detectable changes in gut microbiota, which may have a variety of digestive and immune health benefits. Interestingly, although they consumed only one-third of the amount of almonds compared to adults, gut microbiota was affected to a greater extent in children.

However, the researchers stated that further research done over a longer time period or with a higher consumption of almonds is needed to further confirm the potential effects on gut microbiota and immune status.

Ritika Samaddar, Delhi-based nutritionist, says, “Although many commonly consumed snacks provide empty calories, the unique nutrient package in almonds makes them one of my go-to-recommendations for a satisfying snack that helps fuel your day.”

The health benefits of almonds have been well-established. Due to their high content of fiber, vitamin E, unsaturated fats and flavonoids, almonds offer potential for changing gut microbiota, which may in turn impact immunity, inflammation and general health. This is the first study of its kind investigating the effects of dietary change on digestive health and immune function in parent-child pairs.

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj