What are almond benefits and side effects? Are almonds vegan? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Low fodmap? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are almond pros and cons: all the info on almonds that every ethical consumer wants to know…
Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I have found on almond benefits and side effects.
You are going to learn about all the almond benefits and side effects like almond health benefits and/or risks, almond water footprint and/or carbon footprint, almond sustainability, if almonds are vegan and more.
After learning if almonds are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you are going to be prepared to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.
This post is all about almond benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer must know.
Almond Benefits And Side Effects
Almond benefits for health may include:
- inflammation reduction
- insulin resistance reduction
- blood sugar regulation
- boosted immune system
- fight and prevent cancer and disease
- lowered (bad) LDL cholesterol
- healthy blood vessels and reduced blood pressure
- reduced risk of heart disease
- hair growth and hair health
- weight loss (when consumed in moderation)
Additionally, almonds are…
- Alkaline 8.0 pH level once digested
- Gluten Free
- Common Food Allergen: TREE NUTS
- A High-FODMAP Food (may cause gas, bloating & pain for some)
Water footprint: high, it takes 16,095 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of shelled or peeled almonds / 1,929 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of shelled or peeled almonds, high, (with shell), 8,040 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of almonds with shell / 963 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of almonds with shell
Carbon footprint: high, 3.56 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of organic, dry almonds, a car driving equivalent of 8.25 miles or 13.25 kilometers
Destruction: high, almond production is relatively destructive, disruptive to ecosystems involving a severe strain on bee populations
Kills: none, almond production does not require any animals
Harms: bees are always necessary for commercial almond production, almond trees are entirely dependent on honeybees and wild bees to pollinate their blossoms and grow the almond drupe, many bees experience harm during USA cross-country transportation for intense pollination practices in the name of almond production, which can also lead to spreading diseases and illnesses to other colonies
Indirectly kills or harms: ecosystems and wildlife, potentially bees, may be killed during cross-country transportation for intense pollination practices in the name of almond production, which can also lead to spreading diseases and illnesses to other colonies and ultimately effecting ecosystems and wildlife
- Pollinator intensive
- Harmful to bees and the ecosystem
Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible
Living conditions: varies, laborers often experience exploitation, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation
Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits
- May have laborer issues
The world’s top almond exporting country is the USA, followed by Spain, Germany, Australia, Netherlands, Italy, Hong Kong, UK, Greece, Portugal.
The United States is the largest producer of almonds, harvesting 80% of the world’s almonds, followed by the European Union and countries like Spain, Australia, Morocco and Iran.
California is the largest almond producer in the United States and is the world’s largest grower of almonds, producing 80% of the global almond supply.
You can eat almonds raw, candied, smoked, roasted, or used in desserts, to make almond butter, and more.
In California almonds harvest season is mid-August through October.
Yes! Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E, Monounsaturated fats, Fiber, Biotin, Minerals: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Trace minerals: Copper, Phytonutrients, specifically flavonoids, plant sterols, phenolic acids.
Are almonds alkaline or acidic?
Almonds are alkaline when pure and freshly ground.
What is the pH level of almonds?
Almonds have an 8.0 pH level, once digested.
When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.
Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List
Are almonds gluten free?
Yes, almond benefits also include being naturally gluten free. Almonds do not contain gluten when unseasoned. Almonds are a type of nut, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food.
While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…
Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:
- recurring abdominal pain
- chronic diarrhea
- numbness in hands and feet
- chronic fatigue
- joint pain
- unexplained infertility
- low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.
Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List
Are almonds a common food allergen?
Yes, almonds are a common food allergen: tree nuts. Many people experience allergic reactions to almonds.
A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:
- crustacean shellfish
- tree nuts
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.
Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List
Are almonds low FODMAP?
No, almonds are high-FODMAP, a food you should eliminate if on a low-FODMAP diet.
A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.
See this High-FODMAP and Low-FODMAP List of Food
Water footprint of almonds?
Almonds have a relatively high water footprint compared to other foods.
What is the water footprint of almonds?
- 16,095 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of shelled or peeled almonds
- 1,929 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of shelled or peeled almonds
- 8,040 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of almonds with shell
- 963 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of almonds with shell
Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?
How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?
We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.
Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Carbon footprint of almonds?
Almonds have a high carbon footprint compared to other foods.
It takes around 3.56 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of organic, dry almonds, a car driving equivalent of 8.25 miles or 13.25 kilometers.
Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.
When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may be…
- farm equipment
- animal feed production
- hothouses (greenhouses)
- food processing
- package waste and more
It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:
- shopping locally reduces transportation emissions
- food without packaging reduces waste as well as the carbon footprint
- refrigerated and frozen foods increase carbon emissions
- seasonal foods reduce carbon emissions from hothouses (greenhouses)
- growing plant-based foods at home is the most environmentally sustainable method with zero carbon footprint
Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Are almonds sustainable?
No, almond production is relatively unsustainable due to the high water footprint, high carbon footprint and pollinator intensiveness for commercial almond production.
Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.
Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’
Are almonds vegan?
Yes, almonds are vegan. Almonds are tree nuts and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. However, almond production is pollinator intensive and therefore problematic for bees, butterflies and other pollinator populations.
Almonds can be controversial since commercial almond production is pollinator intensive. While almond production doesn’t necessarily require an animal to be killed or exploited (that would be a “red” indication) it is a possibility that animals are sometimes used, in this case bees (hence the “yellow” warning for shoppers to investigate brands further or consume in moderation).
In the US, bees must be transported cross-country to pollinate almond trees in California (where nearly all US commercial almond production occurs). The process often kills many bees either due to the long transit itself or while pollinating the trees diseases spread, which are then brought back to the hive and fatal for the entire colony. Many know that pollinators, including bees, are critical to the ecosystem so if you don’t necessarily care or consider bees to be an animal of concern, please know that issues like this can be indirectly damaging to more forms of life than you realize.
Go vegan for animals!
Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List
Do almonds have human rights issues?
Are almonds a product that have labor issues?
At this time, there are no specific reports of worker mistreatment regarding almond farming but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Almonds may or may not have labor issues.
Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized.
Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death!
Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.
Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade‘
This post was all about almond benefits and side effects.
Harvard, The Nutrition Source, Almonds
Economic Research Service U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Driven by Almonds, Pollination Services Now Exceed Honey as a Source of Beekeeper Revenue
USDA Bees, Pollination and Almonds Protecting a Crop and Protecting the Pollinators
Almond Board Of California
Adriane MarieHi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.
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