San Diego-A handful of almonds may well be the perfect daily snack for staving off disease. The high-protein, nutrient-rich nuts help suppress the appetite, beat flab and also keep your heart healthy. Almonds are high in beneficial monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, which protects against UV light damage and Alzheimer’s, according to six studies presented to the American Society of Nutrition Scientific Sessions in San Diego. And for people at risk of diabetes, eating the nuts daily moderates blood glucose concentrations.

They are also packed with minerals, among them manganese, which helps the body form strong bones and regulates blood sugar, and magnesium which is essential for organ, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and regulating blood pressure.

The skin has a collection of flavonoids that act as antioxidants and enhance the effect of vitamin E that could be beneficial as we age. Dr Karen Lapsley, Chief Science Officer for the Almond Board of California said: ‘Presenting new research to this audience of scientists and health professionals is critical to turning the findings into practical application and recommendations. ‘These results help to advance the evolution of our understanding of almonds’ beneficial effects as part of a healthy diet.’ One of the studies, by Dr Carol O’Neil of Louisiana State University, analysed 24,808 adults aged over 19 and showed that those who ate almonds had increased nutrient intake, improved overall dietary quality and better physiological status compared with non-almond consumers.