The health benefits of almonds, plus our best healthy almond recipes

Almonds don't just make a healthy snack, they're a great addition to recipes, too. Find our more about the health benefits of almonds—including weight loss—plus get our best almond recipes to help boost your intake

By Margaret Swaine

The health benefits of almonds, plus our best healthy almond recipes

How can you have a healthy snack while racing through a busy day? One ounce of almonds is a great choice. Ounce per ounce, almonds are the most nutrient-dense tree nut. They're an excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium, and a good source of protein and fibre. A study conducted by the University of Toronto in 2006 on people with high cholesterol found one ounce of almonds a day, along with other heart-healthy foods, reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol. What's more, research has found that up to about two ounces of almonds daily does not cause weight gain and can help in weight management. It's hypothesized that the fibre in almonds may block some of the nuts' fat and calories (about 160 calories per ounce) from being absorbed by the body.

What is one ounce? It's about 23 almonds. And for those who like their purse snacks neat, the Almond Board of California offers them in a little tin. That's what we call "pretty" portable. For more information on the tins and almonds, visit

Our best healthy almond recipes

Try these recipes to boost your almond intake.

Cranberry Semifreddo with Toasted Almond Meringue
This almond-based dessert consists of 3 layers—a cranberry semifreddo, cranberry sorbet and crunchy toasted almond meringue.

Raspberry Almond Macaroons
These raspberry almond macaroons aren't the coconut macaroon you probably know. They're a light French sandwich cookie.

Almond-Orange-Cardamom Cookies
These nutty cookies are packed with heart-healthy almonds and delicately flavoured with orange and cardamom.

Power Up Granola
Have this tasty granola for breakfast, or pack it in a bag for a wholesome snack on-the-go.

Chocolate Almond Smoothie
This is a satisfying, antioxidant-rich smoothie that will keep the hunger away for hours.

Almond-Currant Couscous
Crunchy toasted almonds add flavour and nutrition to this simple couscous recipe.

Spiced Couscous Tomatoes
Choose ripe, well-flavoured tomatoes for this dish. Hollowed out, tomatoes make the perfect container for a spicy eggplant, dried apricot and almond couscous. Serve the stuffed tomatoes with sesame breadsticks.

Chicken Biryani with Cucumber Raita
A biryani consists of curried meat, poultry, fish or vegetables combined with basmati rice to make a complete meal. Here chicken curry is layered with the rice and baked, then topped with flaked almonds and served with a fresh cucumber raita.

Fresh Fruit Muesli
Fresh muesli, moist from soaking and rich with juicy fruit, is a revelation to those who have only eaten dried muesli. It has the consistency of oatmeal with the freshness of raw ingredients. It makes a satisfying way to start the day.

Cherry and Almond Strudel
Austria’s famous melt-in-the-mouth pastry looks very impressive, but this recipe is surprisingly easy to make. Ground almonds and breadcrumbs absorb the juice from the cherries, so the layers of filo pastry bake wonderfully light and crisp.

Spanish Orange and Almond Cake
Made with whole oranges—simmered until very tender and then finely chopped—and ground almonds, this classic Spanish cake has a moist, light texture and a wonderful fresh flavour.

Very Fruity Christmas Pudding
Lighter than the traditional pudding, this Christmas pudding is packed with fruit and soaked in sherry or brandy and orange juice so it’s extra juicy. Served with brandy sauce, it won’t leave you feeling uncomfortably full.

Swordfish with Spicy Almond Crust
A spicy-citrus topping with almonds adds texture and flavour to baked fish steaks in this quick-to-make dish.

Grilled Fish with Heirloom Tomato, Asparagus & Almond Salad
This colourful assortment of vegetables makes a perfect accompaniment to a firm, hearty fish. Make sure to use freshly squeezed lime juice; it makes a huge difference in the flavour.

Grilled Pork Chops with Apple-Almond Salsa
This fresh salsa combines fragrant rosemary, crunchy almonds, and sweet and tart apples. This dish is easy to prepare and the unusual flavour combinations make it perfect for a dinner party.

Cherry Chicken
This cherry chicken recipe calls for sour cherries, a potent source of antioxidants. Serve with spinach salad for a well-rounded meal.

Chocolate Chunk and Nut Cookies
These cookies are simply irresistible eaten while still warm, when the chocolate chunks are soft and melting. Like the chocolate, the nuts should be in large pieces.

Cucumber, Radish and Melon Salad
A wonderful combination of fruit, vegetables and crunchy almonds mixed with a honey and walnut oil dressing, this salad makes a healthy accompaniment to cold or smoked meats and poultry.

Fresh Almond-Herb Dip
Plain yogurt makes this dip a healthy alternative to fattier varieties; fresh herbs and green onion add flavour and roasted almonds crunch.

Tarragon Chicken with Baby Spinach
Tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, is a favourite ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. Available at most large grocery stores, it adds a nutty taste and thick creaminess to the dressing for this nutritious chicken salad.

Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Pastries
There are lots of variations on these savoury Mexican pastries, which are similar to Cornish pasties. The filling here is a blend of lean chicken and vegetables, subtly flavoured with spices, almonds and dried fruit.

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Best Health Magazine, Spring 2008

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