LOS ANGELES, July 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Wonderful Almonds joins sister brand Wonderful Pistachios in proudly carrying the American Heart Association's (AHA) Heart-Check mark, a trusted symbol for shoppers who are navigating the grocery store looking for heart-healthy products. To earn the widely recognized healthy food icon, Wonderful Almonds went through the American Heart Association's Heart-Check certification process, and earned the Heart-Check mark* based on the fact that almonds naturally contain healthy fats, beneficial nutrients, sodium content (140 mg or less of sodium per label serving size), and zero cholesterol, trans fat and sugars. Appearing on packages now, the Heart-Check mark reminds consumers that a serving of Wonderful Almonds can be a healthfully delicious fit for a healthy eating plan.
Since 1995, the American Heart Association Heart-Check mark has guided consumers to heart-healthy choices as a first step in creating an overall sensible eating plan, and today, it stands as one of the most trusted and the most recognized nutrition symbols. The Heart-Check mark is a valuable tool in today's grocery stores, especially since most Americans struggle to eat healthy and make the right food choices. Many eat more calories than they need and consume more than 3000mg sodium per day – twice the 1500mg/day recommended by AHA.
In late 2011, the AHA Heart-Check program expanded to include even more heart-healthy foods, including fish high in omega 3 fatty acids and nuts. "This is big news," said Maggie Moon, MS, RD, senior nutrition communications manager for Paramount Farms. "Having nuts officially included in AHA's Heart-Check Program means it'll be that much easier for people to find heart-smart snacks." Ms. Moon added, "Americans are seeking healthier options, and this symbol makes that process simpler." This is especially relevant today because Americans are snacking more than ever, often using snacks as a way to boost the overall nutrition they get for the day. In fact, 97-percent of Americans are snacking away, representing nearly one out of every four calories.
Almost 90 percent of the fat found in almonds is the healthy unsaturated kind, such as mono- and polyunsaturated fats, the better types that may play a role in cardiovascular wellness. Compare a serving of almonds to other popular snack foods like packaged cookies or nachos, which can be high in both saturated and trans fats, and the choice for healthier snacking is clear.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized a qualified health claim related to nuts that states "Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. See nutrition information for fat content."
In addition to heart-health support, there is a lot to love about Wonderful Almonds. Almonds deliver a wealth of nutrients in every bite, including a knockout source of antioxidant vitamin E. A 30g serving (about 23 nuts) of Wonderful Almonds provides 180 calories, 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 35% of the Daily Value for vitamin E, and 8% of the Daily Value for calcium. Wonderful Almonds are naturally low in saturated fat, cholesterol-free, and nutritious. Fans of Wonderful Almonds can choose from two sodium-free varieties: Roasted No Salt and Natural Raw, and the Roasted & Salted variety, also low in sodium at 100mg/serving (4% DV)*.
All varieties of Wonderful Almonds are available in 6.3-ounce bags with an estimated retail price of $3.99. Wonderful Almonds Roasted & Salted is available in 48-ounce packs at club stores. Coming soon, Wonderful Almonds Roasted & Salted will be available in a convenient, portion-perfect, 1.5-ounce package, retailing for $0.99. Wonderful Almonds and Wonderful Pistachios products can be found in the produce department of major grocery stores nationwide.
About Wonderful® Almonds
Wonderful® Almonds are grown, processed and packaged in the same location as Wonderful® Pistachios, in Lost Hills, California, which is part of the San Joaquin Valley, the agricultural heartland of California. Wonderful® Almonds are available at retail outlets and grocery stores nationwide including: Kroger, Safeway, Walmart, Sam's Club, Target, Walgreens, Ahold, Supervalu and Publix. For more information about Wonderful® Almonds, visit www.WonderfulAlmonds.com and www.facebook.com/WonderfulAlmonds.
About Paramount Farms
Paramount Farms is the largest vertically integrated pistachio and almond grower and processor in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Located in California's fertile San Joaquin Valley, Paramount delivers more than 450 million pounds of nuts globally each year. Paramount Farms supplies both industrial and retail customers, offering consistent supply, exacting quality and adherence to rigorous food safety standards. Paramount Farms nuts can be found in the produce department of grocery stores nationwide under the flagship retail brands of Wonderful® Pistachios, Wonderful® Almonds and Wonderful Almond Accents®. Part of the Roll Global LLC family, Paramount Farms is one of a group of privately owned, affiliated companies that comprise the largest farming operation of tree crops in the world. For more information, please visit www.paramountfarms.com.
About the Heart-Check Mark
The American Heart Association's Heart-Check Food Certification was launched in 1995 as a way to give consumers an easy, reliable and trusted program for identifying heart-healthy foods that make it easier for them to construct a heart-healthy dietary pattern. Almost twenty years later, over 900 products currently bear the iconic red heart with a white check mark. All certified products have been thoroughly screened and verified by the association to meet criteria for heart-healthy foods, including choices that are lower in sodium and added sugars. To learn more about the Heart-Check mark, and to see a complete list of certified products, companies that are currently certified and nutritional criteria, visit www.heartcheckmark.org.
*All certified nuts, including salted varieties, must meet the American Heart Association's nutritional criteria which include a limit of 140 mg or less of sodium per label serving size.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital Signs: Food categories contributing the most to sodium consumption – United States, 2007-2008. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Vol. 61(2/07/2012).
 Piernas C, Popkin BM. Snacking increased among U.S. adults between 1977 and 2006. The Journal of Nutrition. 2010;140:325-332.
 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2003). Qualified Health Claims About Cardiovascular Disease Risk. Retrieved 5 November 2012. http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/LabelClaims/QualifiedHealthClaims/ucm073992.htm#nuts
SOURCE Wonderful Almonds