Almonds appear to not only decrease after-meal rises in blood sugar, but also provide antioxidants to mop up the smaller amounts of free radicals that still result. (Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Journal of Nutrition)
Researchers fed 15 healthy subjects 5 meals providing a comparable amount of carbohydrate, fat and protein: 3 test meals (almonds and bread, parboiled rice, and instant mashed potatoes) and 2 bread control meals. Blood samples, taken before each meal and 4 hours afterwards, showed levels of protective antioxidants increased after the almond meal, but decreased after the other meals. And not only did the almond meal increase antioxidant levels, but unlike the other foods, almonds also lowered the rise in blood sugar and insulin seen after eating.
In a study involving 60 healthy males who were smoking and 30 healthy not smoking, it was found that the antioxidant nutrients found in almond butter could increase antioxidant defenses and reduce oxidative damage in people who are smoking.
The Journal of Nutrition reports a study of 15 healthy people who ate 5 meals with comparable amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Two meals consisted of bread only. Three meals consisted of almonds, and high carb foods. Blood samples taken after each meal showed levels of blood sugar and insulin were lower following the almond meal, and levels of protective antioxidants increased. This study demonstrates the powerful anti-aging effect of almonds.
Almonds are high in trace minerals that are essential cofactors for production of superoxide dismutase (SOD), one of the body's endogenous antioxidants. SOD works in the mitochondria, the cellular furnace, to keep down free radicals that interfere with cellular energy production. Almonds are also good sources of the B vitamins necessary for recycling of another endogenous antioxidant, glutathione.
Almond butter are a rich source of vitamin E and also contain compounds that prevent oxidative stress. This helps maintain a healthy heart by preventing LDL oxidation, which can lead to clogging of arteries.