The American Heart Association (AHA) recently certified almonds based on their nutrient profile to display the signature Heart-Check mark . The Heart-Check mark is overseen by AHA to help make it easier for shoppers to identify and choose heart-healthy foods. This symbol is the most consumer-trusted nutrition icon appearing on packaged foods—in fact, research shows that more than half of shoppers use the mark as a deciding factor when choosing to purchase a new product.1 Consumers can now easily identify almonds as a heart-healthy choice.
In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a qualified health claim recognizing that consuming most nuts, including almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.2 In addition, nearly two decades of research support the role of almonds in helping to maintain a healthy heart and healthy cholesterol levels.
“We know that consumers have relied on the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark to easily identify heart-healthy foods for more than 15 years,” said Dr. Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., the Bickford Green and Gold Professor of Nutrition at the University of Vermont and an American Heart Association spokesperson. “Adding nuts, fish and other foods that are rich sources of good fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, enhances the program and gives more healthy options consumers can choose with the same trust factor.”
According to a survey of 500 health professionals, almonds are the nut they most recommend for heart health benefits.3
In order to qualify for the AHA Heart-Check mark, nuts (whole or chopped) must contain 4 g or less saturated fat per 50 g, less than 0.5 g trans fat per Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC) and per label serving, 0 mg cholesterol per label serving, 140 mg or less sodium per label serving, less than 0.5 g added fats per RACC, and less than 1 g added carbohydrate per RACC. The amounts and sources of the added fats and carbohydrates must be disclosed.
In addition, foods must contain 10% or more of the Daily Value for at least one beneficial nutrient such as protein or dietary fiber per RACC.4
Per ounce, almonds provide 13 g of healthy unsaturated fat, only 1 g of saturated fat, and are naturally cholesterol-free. Almonds also deliver protein (6g), fiber (3.5g), calcium (75mg), vitamin E (7.4mg), riboflavin (0.3mg) and niacin (1mg), all of which contribute to a healthy heart.5
“Nutrition research has long supported the heart health benefits of almonds,” says Jenny Heap, MS, RD, Health Professional Marketing Manager, Almond Board of California. “Now consumers will be able to more easily identify almonds in the supermarket as a heart-smart food, helping take the guess work out of shopping.”
The wide availability and versatility of almonds make it easy for clients and patients to incorporate a heart-healthy choice into any meal or snack.
Whole almonds make a satisfying on-the-go snack
Sliced almonds top yogurt or oatmeal for added texture and crunch
Slivered almonds add texture to vegetables and salads
Crushed almonds make a flavorful crust for meats and seafood