Food investigated: Almond Butter Chia Seeds
What types of fatty acids does it contain? Be specific.1 2 1 Tbsp contains the following fatty acids profile:

  • Total Fat: 9.5 g
  • Saturated Fat – 0.9 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 6.1 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 2.0 g
    • Omega-3 Fatty acids (Alpha Linolenic Acid) – 67.7 mg
    • Omega-6 fatty acids (Linoleic Acid) – 1901 mg
    • Ratio Omega 6:3 – 28:1
1 Tbsp contains the following fatty acids profile:

  • Total Fat: 3.1 g
  • Saturated Fat – 0.4 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 0.2  g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 2.4 g
    • Omega-3 Fatty acids (Alpha Linolenic Acid) – 1.8 g
    • Omega-6 fatty acids (Linoleic Acid) – 0.6 g
    • Ratio Omega 6:3 – 0.33:1
Does it affect lipoprotein levels? (HDL, LDL, etc)  If so, how? The linoleic acid found in almonds has been shown to lower serum total and LDL cholesterol concentrations by upregulating the LDL receptor and via redistribution of LDL-C from plasma to tissue; further, linoleic acid increases bile production and cholesterol catabolism while also decreasing conversion of VLDL to LDL.3 Chia seeds are high in Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA). Studies show that ALA has no effect on total cholesterol, LDL, or triglyceride levels.3 They also contain moderate quantities of linoleic acid which have been shown to lower serum total and LDL cholesterol via the same mechanism described for almond butter.
What other nutrients (vitamins/minerals) does it contain?1 2
  • Vitamin E – 4.2 mg (21% DV)
  • Riboflavin – 0.1 mg (6% DV)
  • Niacin – 0.5 mg (2%DV)
  • Folate – 10.4 mcg (3% DV)
  • Calcium – 43.2 mg (4% DV)
  • Iron – 0.6 mg (3% DV)
  • Magnesium – 48.5 mg (12% DV)
  • Phosphorus – 83.7 mg (8% DV)
  • Potassium – 121 mg (3% DV)
  • Copper – 0.1 mg (7% DV)
  • Manganese – 0.4 mg (19% DV)
  • Vitamin B6 – Not Significant Source
  • Vitamin K – Not Significant Source
  • Selenium – Not Significant Source
  • Zinc – Not Significant Source

 

  • Vitamin E – Not Significant Source
  • Riboflavin – Not Significant Source
  • Niacin – 0.6 mg (4 %DV)
  • Folate – Not Significant Source
  • Calcium – 63.1 mg (6% DV)
  • Iron – 1.6 mg (20% DV)
  • Magnesium – 39.0 mg (10% DV)
  • Phosphorus – 86.0 mg (12% DV)
  • Potassium – 121 mg (3% DV)
  • Copper – 0.1 mg (7% DV)
  • Manganese – 0.3 mg (12% DV)
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.1 mg (11%DV)
  • Vitamin K – 70.9 nanogram (59% DV)
  • Selenium – 5.5 nanogram (10% DV)
  • Zinc – 0.5 mg (4% DV)

 

Potential health benefits? Almond butter is high in vitamin E which has been shown to potentially prevent or delay coronary heart disease.4 Almond butter is also high in manganese which serves as a principal mitochondrial antioxidant.5 Mitochondrial health has been shown to be a key factor in promoting longevity.6 Linoleic acid, found in abundance in almonds, has been shown to lower serum total and LDL cholesterol concentrations.3 A moderately lower risk of cardiovascular disease has been displayed with higher ALA exposure.3 Chia seeds are high in ALA. Chia seeds are high in vitamin K. Adequate vitamin K intake may lower risk of both cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
What would you recommend about its use? Almond butter use in moderation and paired with an omega-3 supplement such as krill oil appears warranted. There are numerous health benefits to consuming almond butter, but excessive consumption may promote inflammation.7(p6) The regular use of chia seeds appears warranted. They are a complete vegan protein, are high in fiber, ALA, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. When recommending, I would note that the omega-3 fatty acids found in chia seeds require an enzyme to be converted to EPA and DHA, the longer omega-3 fatty acids essential in cellular structure, and that the ALA is utilized more as a fuel source and differently than these animal and marine based longer-chain fatty acids.3 Further, soaking the seeds may prove beneficial to counteract anti-nutrient activity.8

 

References

  1. Nuts, almond butter, plain, with salt added Nutrition Facts & Calories. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3183/2. Accessed October 10, 2017.
  2. CRON-O-Meter: Track nutrition & count calories. https://cronometer.com/. Accessed October 10, 2017.
  3. Essential Fatty Acids. Linus Pauling Institute. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/essential-fatty-acids. Published April 28, 2014. Accessed October 10, 2017.
  4. Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin E. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/. Accessed October 10, 2017.
  5. Manganese. Linus Pauling Institute. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/manganese. Published April 23, 2014. Accessed October 10, 2017.
  6. Hwang AB, Jeong D-E, Lee S-J. Mitochondria and Organismal Longevity. Curr Genomics. 2012;13(7):519-532. doi:10.2174/138920212803251427.
  7. Omega-6 fatty acids | University of Maryland Medical Center. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega6-fatty-acids. Accessed October 10, 2017.
  8. Luo Y, Xie W, Luo F. Effect of several germination treatments on phosphatases activities and degradation of phytate in faba bean (Vicia faba L.) and azuki bean (Vigna angularis L.). J Food Sci. 2012;77(10):C1023-1029. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02733.x.

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