5 Recipes for Enjoying Antioxidant-Packed Almonds

Almonds are good for more than just snacking; with some easy almond recipes, you can add crunch and nutrition to a variety of dishes.

January 18, 2010

Toasted almonds give this chicken salad extra crunch and flavor.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—If you already rely on almonds as an energy-boosting midafternoon snack, you owe it to yourself to try some almond recipes. It's definitely a good idea to look for more ways to enjoy almonds. They're not only packed with protein; almond recipes also provide fiber, magnesium, calcium, iron, and riboflavin. And almonds are one of the best sources of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E, the form best absorbed by our bodies. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent free-radical damage to cells. Low vitamin E levels have been linked to poor memory and to cognitive decline. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that men who ingested the most vitamin E (from food sources, not supplements) were 67 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those eating the least amount of the vitamin. Vitamin E helps cells communicate with each other, and without sufficient amounts of vitamin E, your body may have difficulty absorbing other nutrients. The E in almonds also helps defend against sun damage; in a study, participants who consumed about 20 almonds daily and were then exposed to UV light burned less than those who had none.


In addition, the plant sterols in almonds can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Just one ounce of almonds has as many polyphenols as ½ cup of steamed broccoli and a cup of green tea, combined. And when South African researchers reviewed 23 studies to examine the effect of nut consumption on cholesterol levels, they found that adding 50 to 100 grams of nuts (like almonds) daily to a moderately high-fat diet could greatly reduce total and LDL cholesterol. Almonds also benefit diabetics by helping to lower blood sugar.

Keep reading for almond snacking suggestions, plus almond recipes for bars, salads, cake, and more.

With their high levels of heart-healthy, monounsaturated fat, almonds can go rancid quickly. Store them either in an airtight container in the fridge or in the freezer. Try adding slivered almonds to oatmeal, cold cereal, ice cream, or yogurt. Toast almonds quickly (keep a close eye on them so they don't burn) and add them to salads, side dishes, or stir-fries. And to get the most out of these versatile nuts, give a few of these almond recipes from the Rodale Recipe Finder a try.

#1: Almond and Oat Bars. These granola bars make a great portable breakfast or quick snack. Orange, Dried Plum, and Almond Compote is a great wintertime fruit salad with added almond flavor from almond extract.

#2: Toasted Almond Chicken Salad. Toasted almonds top this lightened-up chicken salad made with low-fat yogurt and light sour cream. For another take on chicken salad, try making Chinese Chicken Salad with Toasted Almonds.

#3: Brown Rice with Almonds, Peas, and Herbs. Add sliced or slivered almonds to side dishes like this herby rice, apricot-studded couscous, and ginger-accented carrots.

#4: Crunchy Almond Chicken. Whether you use sliced almonds or crushed, the nuts make a rich-tasting, crunchy coating for chicken or fish. Broccoli and Tofu Stir-Fry with Toasted Almonds makes a nutritious meat-free dinner.

#5: Cherry-Berry Almond Fruit Cake. This glazed cake recipe is great for winter, as it uses frozen fruit. Chocolate fans will fall for this Almond-Chocolate Flourless Cake.