Calcium in Almonds – How Much Calcium is in an Almond? Find Out.
Did you know almonds were one of the earliest domesticated fruit trees?
It’s true! In fact, Tutankhamun, the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, had almonds placed in his tomb to sustain him on his journey to the afterlife over 3,000 years ago.
A pretty good choice, as almonds are jam-packed with nutrients like protein, magnesium, and especially calcium. Almonds rank eighth on our “top 29 plant-based sources of calcium” list!
It’s thought the almond tree originated in the Middle East. Helped by its popularity amongst travelers on the ancient Silk Road trade route, almonds soon made their way to Europe. And in the 1700s, the almond tree was introduced to North America by Spanish missions. The almond has had quite the journey!
Fast forward to today, and almonds are America’s largest specialty crop export.
Keep reading to discover how much calcium almonds provide (as well as other nutrients), the amazing health benefits of almonds and a surprising fact about almonds that has probably had you fooled for years…
How Much Calcium in Almonds? – Almond Nutrition Facts
We mentioned earlier that almonds are a great source of calcium. So you may be wondering;
“How much calcium is in almonds?”
Well, 100 g of raw almonds (about 75 almonds) provides 264 mg of calcium. But almonds have a whole lot more to offer than just calcium. After all, almonds are often touted as the most nutrient-dense nut of all…
Almonds also provide a significant amount of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and copper– all minerals that are essential for supporting healthy bones (please refer to the table below for specific amounts of each mineral.)
What’s more, almonds provide a generous helping of antioxidants, especially when you consume them with the skin still on. See, almond skins contain a range of flavonoids, while the “meaty part” contains vitamin E.
If that weren’t already enough, almonds are a good source of fiber and healthy fat too!
|Nutrients in Cannellini Beans||Amount per 100g|
|Total Carbohydrate||21.7 g|
|Dietary Fiber||12.2 g|
|Vitamin E||26.2 mg|
|Total Fat||49.4 g|
|Saturated Fat||3.7 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat||30.9 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||12.1 g|
4 Almond Health Benefits
Almonds are absolutely jam-packed with nutrients! And here’s the best part; those nutrients give almonds some pretty powerful health benefits:
Help you prevent osteoporosis
In an ex vivo study, researchers exposed human osteoclasts, the specialized cells that break down your bones, to blood obtained before eating a handful of almonds and four hours afterwards.
Blood serum was obtained from 14 healthy subjects at baseline and four hours after eating three different meals. The three meals were:
- A meal containing almonds
- A meal containing potatoes
- A meal containing rice
So what were the results? Well, the blood serum obtained fours hours after participants ate the almond meal reduced osteoclast formation by approximately 20%, and calcium release by approximately 65% compared with the baseline blood serum.
What’s more, the study showed the almond meal inhibited the function and gene expression of the osteoclasts too! But no significant effects were observed with blood serum obtained from the potato or rice meals.
Please note: 14 participants is by no means an ideal sample size, but an important thing to mention about this study is that it’s an ex vivo study. That means the food in question–almonds in this case– was digested by participants first, and the nutrients within were absorbed to the bloodstream before the blood was tested on the osteoclasts. That’s how the process works in real life, so the study yields accurate results.
The common alternative is an in vitro study. In this case, the nutrients within almonds would just be dropped directly onto the osteoclasts without first being digested. Can you see why this isn’t as accurate?
Your secret weight loss aid
We know, it sounds like a complete contradiction. If you refer back to the nutritional chart in the section above, you’ll see that 100 g of almonds provides almost 50 g of fat… but almonds can help you lose weight? It’s true! (The key thing here is that almonds are very high in healthy monounsaturated fat which we’ll cover more in just a moment).
In one study, 108 overweight and obese women were randomly divided into two groups. Both groups ate a reduced calorie diet for three months. The diets were identical for both groups, except one group consumed 50 g of almonds a day.
Of the 100 women who completed the study, those that consumed almonds saw a significant decrease in weight, BMI, waist circumference, and waist to hip circumference.
Keep your heart happy
Remember that monounsaturated fat we mentioned? Well, monounsaturated fat is the healthy type of fat you’ll find in things like olive oil. And studies show the monounsaturated fat in almonds can reduce LDL cholesterol– the bad kind of cholesterol!
Now, LDL cholesterol has earned itself a bad reputation because it’s been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
What’s more, almonds provide a helping of magnesium. Magnesium helps keep your veins and arteries clear and prevents calcium deposits. This helps to prevent cardiovascular disease and cardiac events.
Combat oxidative stress (even in smokers)
Oxidative stress is the term for when your levels of free radicals are too high. Oxidative stress can damage your cell structures and plays a role in the development of many degenerative diseases. But studies show almonds can help combat this damage!
One study tested the effects of almonds on oxidative stress in 60 healthy male soldiers who were habitual smokers. The soldiers either supplemented their diet with 84 g of almonds or 120 g of pork (pork was chosen as the alternate food as it provides similar amounts of energy and protein as almonds and is a common ingredient in the regional diet where the study was conducted) each day for four weeks. After the four weeks were up, there was a “washout period” of four weeks before the soldiers switched to the other supplemented diet for four weeks. In addition, 30 healthy non-smoking men consumed the same daily serving of pork as a reference comparison.
Blood and urine samples were collected and assessed for biomarkers of oxidative stress. Baseline values of urinary 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and malondialdehyde (MDA) and peripheral lymphocyte DNA strand breaks were 185, 64, and 97% higher in smokers than nonsmokers. And activities of enzymatic antioxidants– plasma superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), and catalase– were 15, 10, and 9% lower.
After the almond intervention, serum alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), SOD, and GPX increased significantly in smokers by 10, 35, and 16%. What’s more, levels of 8-OHdG, MDA, and DNA strand breaks decreased significantly by 28, 34, and 23%.
In simple terms, the smokers had high levels of biomarkers for oxidative stress and low levels of antioxidants before the study. After supplementing their diets with almonds, their levels of biomarkers for oxidative stress dropped significantly, and their levels of antioxidants increased!
The antioxidant properties of almonds are largely down to the high levels of vitamin E they contain. But for a little extra antioxidant punch, eat your almonds with the skin on. Almond skins contain a whole host of antioxidant flavonoids!
Keep your blood sugar under control
After eating certain foods, your blood sugar levels can spike quite dramatically. If this is a regular occurrence, you’ll be at an increased risk of diabetes. But research shows almonds can help keep your blood sugar levels under control.
In one study, 15 healthy subjects ate five different meals which provided balanced amounts of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. There were three test meals; almonds and bread, parboiled rice, and instant mashed potatoes. And there were two bread control meals.
Each participant had a blood sample taken before each meal and four hours afterward. The results showed the particpants’ levels of antioxidants increased after the almond meal, but decreased after every other meal. What’s more, the almond meal also lowered the rise in blood sugar and insulin seen after eating. A result not seen with any other meal.
Please note: Ideally, a study would include more than 15 subjects, so the results of this study are a little limited. But having said that, it still shows almonds have great potential as a low glycemic food. A food with a high glycemic index, like those with lots of processed carbohydrates and sugar, raises blood glucose levels and causes your blood sugar levels to spike. Foods with a low glycemic index typically contain whole grains and fiber which take longer for your body to digest, so your blood sugar levels remain at a more normal level.
The great thing about almonds is how versatile they are. You can easily add almonds to a variety of dishes (breakfast, lunch, or even dessert) for an extra dimension of flavor and a boost of healthy nutrients.
A few favorite uses of almonds here at AlgaeCal are:
- Mixed into a morning bowl of granola and yogurt– if you fancy making your own granola, check out our gluten-free cinnamon granola recipe.
- Chopped and sprinkled onto salads– for a little bit of inspiration in the salad department, check out our bone-healthy, no greens salad and our bone-friendly seaweed salad. Almonds work great in each!
- In smoothies– remember, there’s a generous helping of calcium in almonds, so they make a great nutritional addition to smoothies. We especially love adding almonds to our favorite green smoothies!
Almond Milk and Almond Butter
The demand for dairy milk alternatives is bigger than ever, and that has made almond milk and almond butter increasingly popular options. But almond milk and almond butter don’t necessarily share the nutritional value of raw almonds…
Almond milk tends to provide next to no calcium naturally (to make almond milk, almonds are blended with water and strained to remove the pulp. A process which removes a lot of the nutritional value.) Instead, manufacturers fortify their almond milk with extra calcium! You can read more about the nutritional information of almond milk, and why fortified milks aren’t such a reliable source of calcium on our “How Much Calcium is in Milk?” page.
Almond butter, on the other hand, still provides a similar amount of calcium to raw almond– about 250 mg per 100 g. Although to gain the maximum antioxidant benefit, look for an almond butter that uses the skin of the almonds too.
Almond butter tip: Try spreading a little almond butter down the center of a stalk of celery.
Allergies to nuts are one of the most common food allergies there are. In fact, research shows approximately 1% of the general population has a nut allergy.
Now, as we mentioned before, almonds aren’t technically a nut. But when it comes to allergies, almonds are often categorized as a tree nut along with Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, and others. Traces of tree nuts can be found in food products you wouldn’t expect, like cereals, crackers, cookies, candy, chocolates, energy bars, flavored coffee, sauces and even cold cuts of meat. If you have an allergy, it’s advisable to always check the ingredients label carefully and ask questions if you’re still unsure.
Other Calcium-Rich Foods
Almonds really are a nutrient-dense powerhouse, particularly if you’re looking for a calcium boost. And their versatility makes them an easy addition to your diet.
If you’d like to see more calcium-rich foods, click here to find some of the best on the planet.