The health benefits of almonds are extensive, and they are frequently used as a healthy solution for relief from constipation, respiratory disorders, coughs, heart disorders, anemia, impotence, and diabetes. They also help in the maintenance of healthy hair, psoriasis, and dental care.
Almonds are found in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and Israel. Both sweet and bitter almonds are readily available. Traditionally, sweet almonds are edible, while bitter ones are used to making almond oil, a common oil that is used to add flavor to food. They are usually eaten raw, but many people also add them as ingredients in salads, casseroles, and other dishes. Almond milk is also a delicious beverage and an alternative to less nutritious cow’s milk. You can eat almonds directly, preferably on an empty stomach to increase and speed up the absorption of their nutrients. You can soak them in water overnight so you can eat them the morning. Crushed almonds are also a wonderful garnish for a number of dishes.
What is an almond?
An almond, despite being classified as a nut by most people, is actually the seed from the fruit of an almond tree. The almonds that we eat are actually the pits of these fruits, and once they are cracked open, the delicious meat of the nut can be eaten! This partially explains why there are so many nutrients and minerals found in these nuts; they are the core nutrients needed for a new plant to grow had that seed reached the ground.
Almonds Nutrition Facts
Almond is a highly nutritional nut and a rich source of vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and magnesium. It also contains zinc, selenium, copper, and niacin. Compared to all other nuts, they are the most packed with nutrients and beneficial components.
Health Benefits of Almonds
They are known to have great medicinal value, which, along with their good taste, is the main reason that so many people proactively add them to their diet. Some of the researched and verified benefits of almonds are given below.
- Boost Brain Health
Almonds are a source of many nutrients which help in the development and health of the human brain. They have been connected to a higher intellectual level and they have long been considered an essential food item for growing children. They also contain two vital brain nutrients, riboflavin, and L-carnitine, which have been shown to increase brain activity, resulting in new neural pathways and a decreased occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that almonds in the diet, as well as almond oil, is nutritive to the overall health and functioning of the nervous system.
Many mothers give almonds soaked in water to their children every morning. Two or three pieces of soaked almonds are enough, and you can also remove the outer shell if it causes allergic reactions, as the majority of the nutrients are not held in the shell.
- Regulate Cholesterol Level
Regular consumption helps to increase the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and they reduce the level of low-density lipoproteins (LDL). This balance is vital to a healthy cholesterol level, and a reduction of LDL (bad cholesterol) is always a good thing.
- Improve Bone Health
Almonds are a fantastic source of many vitamins and minerals, and phosphorous is definitely counted among them! Phosphorous can have a considerable impact on the strength and durability of bones and teeth, while also preventing the onset of age-related conditions like osteoporosis.
- Prevent Heart Diseases
The mono-unsaturated fats, protein, and potassium contained in almonds are all instrumental in heart health. Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant and also reduces the risk of heart diseases, while the presence of magnesium in almonds can help avoid heart attacks. They help reduce the presence and impact of C-reactive proteins which causes artery-damaging inflammation. They are also a great source of folic acid. Therefore, they help to reduce the level of homocysteine, which causes fatty plaque buildup in arteries. Furthermore, the flavonoids in the skin of almonds combined with Vitamin E to form a powerful shield against artery wall damage. Research suggests that short-term almond-enriched diet may improve vascular function in asymptomatic healthy men aged between 20 and 70 years without any effect on markers of oxidative stress.
- Strengthen Immune System
Your body has many components that add to overall health, including the alkalinity of the systems. Almonds are great sources for alkali materials, and this is known to benefit the strength of the immune system, as well as increase the ability to stave off diseases and various health conditions. Along with almonds’ contribution to alkaline levels, it also has a high content of Vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. It seeks out all the damaging free radicals in the body and eliminates them because they actually promote chronic diseases and can be horribly hazardous to the body’s organ systems. Antioxidants like the Vitamin E found in almonds affect all major diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Research has actually shown that people who ingest high levels of Vitamin E are actually 30-40% less likely to contract heart disease.
- Skin care
The benefits of almonds in regards to skin health are well known, and almond oil massages are often recommended for newborn babies. Almond milk is also added to some soaps, because of almonds well-established reputation of improving the complexion of skin.
Many people think that the word “fat” means something negative, but in fact, certain fatty acids are essential and can be very beneficial for overall health. The body can’t create its own fatty acids, which is why we need to get them from dietary sources. Almonds have two very important fatty acids, both linoleic and linolenic acids. Those fatty acids help to reduce inflammation all around the body, which is a general condition that many people suffer from. The fatty acids also help to reduce the levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL cholesterol), and they promote healthy skin and hair! All in all, these nuts pack a powerful, healthy punch.
- Regulate blood pressure
The potassium present in almonds helps to regulate blood pressure, and low levels of sodium help to control fluctuating blood pressure. The other nutrients also keep the body balanced in terms of other essential needs, which can prevent any other deficiencies. Balanced vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy lifestyle, but if certain elements are neglected, the entire body can be affected, including anxiety, overall stress, and inevitably, increased blood pressure.
- Boost Energy Production
The presence of manganese, copper, and Riboflavin in almonds helps in energy production and metabolic rate. If you are on the go, a handful of almonds can get you through the day without filling you up with calories or fat.
- Prevent Cancer
Almonds improve the movement of food through the colon, thereby preventing build-up and subsequent colon cancer. The National Cancer Center has done extensive research on the link between high-fiber diets and a reduced risk of colon cancer.
- Protect against Diabetes
Almonds also help to reduce the reactionary rise in glucose and insulin levels after meals. This modulation offers protection from the dangerous spikes in blood sugar which diabetics often suffer from following a large meal, or a meal with an unexpectedly high level of sugar in it. Almonds help regulate the absorption and processing of glucose, making the entire process much smoother, and subsequently safer.
- Good for pregnancy
Almonds contain folic acid, which helps reduce the incidence of birth defects in newborn babies. It also stimulates healthy cell growth and tissue formation. Neural tube defects are conditions where the neural tube is either underdeveloped or is partially missing in the fetus. Doctors regularly prescribe folic acid supplements to pregnant women to ensure proper development of the tube, and almonds have enough folic acid to keep mothers and their babies healthy.
- Weight Loss
Unsweetened almond milk can be used if you are attempting to lose weight. The mono-unsaturated fat contained in almonds satisfies the appetite and prevents over-eating. The dietary fiber in almonds also contributes to the sensation of being full, despite eating only a small amount. Studies have revealed that an almond-rich, low-calorie diet is good for obese people to assist in shedding their excess weight. Studies have shown that those people who regularly consume almonds (at least twice a week) are far more likely to remain at their ideal weight, rather than those who rarely or never consume almonds and suffer from weight fluctuations. Finally, the fiber contributes to consistent bowel movements, which helps in weight loss and the general health of the body through the elimination of toxins.
- Prevent Constipation
Almonds are rich in fiber, and like most other fiber-rich foods, almonds help prevent constipation. However, it is also important to drink a significant amount of water when eating almonds to speed up the digestive process and beneficial effects of the nut. You don’t even need to eat an excessive amount, the amount of fiber in 4 or 5 almonds is enough to keep your digestion and bowel movements regular.
People can even reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by consuming almonds because they have been known to have such a positive effect on neural activity. Stimulating new neural passageways and connections can keep Alzheimer’s disease and neural degeneration from developing.
However, just like almost any other food, almonds have their downside. They do contain oxalates, and excessive oxalates can cause crystallization, which can lead to a host of different issues. People that have kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid eating almonds.
What are almonds good for?
Almonds have a number of important health benefits, including the ability to protect heart health, thanks to the high concentration of beneficial monounsaturated fats, as well as increasing circulation, strengthening bones, protecting the skin, aiding digestion, and helping to control blood sugar levels. Almonds have also been connected to boosting cognitive performance and reducing oxidative stress in the body!
Are almonds healthy?
Almonds can be a very healthy option for an easy snack because they deliver so many important minerals and vitamins that the body needs. Almonds contain significant levels of copper, iron, magnesium, calcium, protein, fiber, manganese, riboflavin, phosphorous and quite a few healthy fats as well. There are dozens of impressive health benefits that you can get by eating these delicious, nutrient-dense nuts!
How to eat almonds?
Almonds can be eaten in a number of ways, including topping off your yogurt or oatmeal. With these healthy nuts, grinding almonds into delicious almond butter, salting and baking the almonds to be a replacement for junk food, including almonds in your protein or vegetable shakes, topping a salad with the nuts, sprinkling them on top of your pizza, or applying them as a topping on your favorite dessert!
Are almonds fattening?
Almonds contain a high level of fat. However, more than 50% of those fats are in the form of monounsaturated fats, which are good for heart health and are essential for organ function. However, they also contain “bad” fats, so it is important not to overdo it with almonds. A handful or two at a time is a great choice, and will give you a nice boost!
Can you eat raw almonds?
You can absolutely eat raw almonds, and you will enjoy all the health benefits of this delicious nut (which is actually a seed!). Many people prefer to toast their almonds, however, believing that this brings out a nice flavor, and releases some of the natural oils. This also makes the nuts slightly crunchier and gives almonds their signature color. That being said, there is no harm in eating raw almonds.
Are raw almonds good for you?
Raw almonds are very good for you, but as with everything else, moderation in all things. The mineral content of raw almonds is impressive and can help you with everything from osteoporosis to cognitive function. Similarly, the fat content may be high, but much of that is in the form of “good” fats. That being said, eating too many almonds can increase “bad” fat levels, and the high-calorie count is also something you should be wary of.
Word of Caution: Almonds are healthy nuts but one should consume them in moderation. Bitter almonds contain cyanide and one should avoid eating too many of them.