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Almonds 2

I am often asked by my students about the difference, if any, in nutrient content between raw and cooked foods. I recently found an interesting research article that considered the difference in vitamin E content between raw and roasted almonds. Vitamin E, often referred to as alpha tocopherol, is an antioxidant and an essential nutrient for humans. Antioxidants are well known for their ability to neutralize free radicals before they can cause damage to our cells.

Almonds are known as a rich source of vitamin E:

Nutrient Raw Almonds                                (2 Tbsp., 17.9 g, 0.63 oz.) Adult Daily Values
Calories 103
Vitamin E                   (alpha tocopherol specifically) 4.69 15 mg

This very recent study noted that subject blood levels of alpha tocopherol were 33% greater after the consumption of raw almonds versus roasted almonds. The researchers of this study speculated that the reason for this was that the alpha tocopherol content of the raw almonds was likely higher than in the roasted almonds. This makes sense, given that antioxidants are broken down in food by cooking in varying amounts depending on the type of food, cooking method, cooking time, and cooking temperature.

Could this outcome also have to do with vitamin E bioavailability differences between the raw and the roasted almonds? This potential was not mentioned in the study, but I think this is entirely possible. One would have to do another study or two to test these individual options. The bottom line here is that roasting did appear to have some type of effect on vitamin E, either directly through its breakdown, by changing its bioavailability, or maybe even through some other means that has yet to be considered.

References:

USDA Nutrient Database

Bornhorst GM, Roman MJ, Rutherfurd SM, Burri BJ, Moughan PJ, Singh RP. Gastric digestion of raw and roasted almonds in vivo. J Food Sci. 2013 Nov;78(11):H1807-13.

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