Do Almonds Have Protein in Them? (An In Depth Look)


Being a rich source of many essential minerals and vitamins, almonds are definitely good for your health. Because almonds are nutritious, they provide a profusion of health benefits from heart disease prevention to weight loss [1, 2]. Like peanuts and pistachios, almonds are often considered to be high in protein. But, is that really true? Just how how effective are almonds as a source of protein?
Almonds contain protein
Almonds provide many essential nutrients. Image Credit: Various Brennemans. Flickr.
Protein is an important nutrient because it plays vital role in the formation of muscle and other tissues in your body. Like vitamin B12, protein has been the one of the main weaknesses of plant-based or vegan diets.  Knowing how much protein almonds have will help you determine whether or not you should use it as source of protein.

How Much Protein is in Almonds?


Yes, almonds really have protein. But, do they have enough to truly supplement your diet? -- It seems so. 1 cup of almonds ( 95 grams) contains about 20.2 grams of protein. Your body needs about 50 grams of protein a day. This means that just 1 cup of almonds contributes to an incredible 40 percent or nearly half of your daily protein requirements. Since 1 cup of almonds can provide almost half of your daily protein requirement, they are truly a great source of protein.

Key Point: One serving of almonds provides nearly half of your daily requirement.

Essential Amino Acid Profile of Almonds:


Protein Value
Histidine                 529 milligrams                    
Isoleucine  667 milligrams
Leucine 1414 milligrams
Lysine 551 milligrams
Methionine 143 milligrams
Phenylalanine 1064 milligrams
Threonine 568 milligrams
Tryptophan203 milligrams
Valine 776 milligrams 

Protein is made up of smaller substances known as amino acids. The table above shows the types of protein or value of the essential amino acids found in almond protein.  Unlike nonessential amino acids, essential amino acids cannot be synthesized or produced by your body. Almonds have a decent essential amino acid profile .
Protein from almonds
Almonds contain a lot of protein. Image Credit: Nomadic Lass. Flickr.
For example, it contains fair amounts of isoleucine, leucine, and valine--which are known as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs make up nearly 30 percent of the Almonds are also a good source of glutamine. While glutamine is not an essential amino acid, some studies indicate that it may play a crucial role in tissue repair and muscle recovery [3, 4].

For example, 1 cup of almonds contains over 6,000 milligrams of glutamic acid. That is more than many rich protein sources like salmon, chicken breast, and boiled eggs*. Because almonds are low in cholesterol, they can be consumed without significantly increasing your risk of heart disease and obesity. All of these features make almonds a great protein source for those who are trying to lose weight or prefer a plant-based diet.  

References:

1. Circulation. "Dose response of almonds on coronary heart disease risk factors: blood lipids, oxidized low-density lipoproteins, lipoprotein(a), homocysteine, and pulmonary nitric oxide: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial." Published September, 2002. Accessed November 6, 2012.

2. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "A randomized trial of the effects of an almond-enriched, hypocaloric diet in the treatment of obesity." Published June, 2012. Accessed November 6, 2012.

3. American Journal of Physiology. "Stimulatory effect of glutamine on glycogen accumulation in human skeletal muscle." Published August, 1995. Accessed November 7, 2012.

4. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology. "Does glutamine have a role in reducing infections in athletes?" Published 1996. Accessed November 7, 2012.