Almonds are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and are associated with a number of health benefits. Just a handful of almonds, approximately one ounce, contains one-eighth of our necessary daily protein.
1. Cardiovascular Benefits of Almonds
A high-fat food that’s good for your health? That’s not an oxymoron, its almonds. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition indicates that when foods independently known to lower cholesterol, such as almonds, are combined in a healthy way of eating, the beneficial effects are additive. In this study of 12 patients with elevated LDL cholesterol levels, a diet containing almonds and other nuts, plant sterols, soy protein, and soluble fiber (in high amounts in beans, oats, pears) reduced blood levels of all LDL fractions including small dense LDL (the type that most increases risk for cardiovascular disease) with near maximal reductions seen after only 2 weeks.
2. 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.
3. Prevention of 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.
4. Weight Maintenance Benefits
Almonds are not only delicious, versatile, and portable, but are nutritionally beneficial on a number of levels. Recent studies have demonstrated that diets featuring almonds and other tree nuts do not cause weight gain and may actually promote weight loss.
The fiber, protein and fat content of almonds means it only takes a handful to keep you feeling full and satisfied so you won’t have the urge to overeat. According to “Fitness” magazine, the magnesium in almonds helps regulate blood sugar, which is key in reducing food cravings. Almonds may even be able to block the body’s absorption of calories, making them the ultimate weight-loss-friendly snack. Because almonds are naturally high in calories, it’s important to limit your serving size to the recommended 1 ounce, or 23 nuts.
5. Healthier Skin
Many people use sweet almond oil as a skin treatment and it does indeed do wonders for your skin tone. Importantly though, healthy skin benefits most from good nutrition on the inside. A handful of almonds is a great food source of natural vitamin E for better skin.
Vitamin E assists in protecting the connective elastin and collagen fibers within your skin cells that maintain its youthful firmness. The more collagen and elastin break down in your skin, the more at risk you are of developing fine lines and wrinkles on your face.
With their high levels of protective vitamin E, as well as beneficial monounsaturated fats to maintain moisture balance, eating almonds regularly is a good step towards having healthier skin.
6. Bone Health Benefits of Almonds
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.
7. Reduced Alzheimer’s Risk
A 2005 study at the University of Illinois-Chicago found that mice with an Alzheimer’s-like disease were more likely to perform better on a memory test after they ate an almond-rich diet for four months when compared to mice who ate the standard diet, according to a “USA Today” article on the study. The lead researcher, Neelima Chauhan, claimed that the almonds contain substances that act much like drugs used for treating Alzheimer’s patients. However, more research would need to be done on human subjects to find a clearer link. Chauhan also admitted that consuming almonds may not help humans suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
8. 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.
9. 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 abrosption and processing of glucose, making the entire process much smoother, and subsequently safer.
10. Boost Energy
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.
11. Source of Antioxidant
33% of the daily requirement of Vitamin E (which comprises a fat-soluble antioxidant) required by the body, can be made up by taking one ounce of almonds. That is the reason they are considered rich source of Vitamin E. So by inculcating just one ounce of almonds in your daily diet, you can get the essential amount of antioxidants in your body and prevent the onset of several chronic diseases.
12. Regulate Blood Pressure
The potassium present in almonds helps to regulates blood pressure, and almonds are very low in sodium, which helps to control fluctuating blood pressure. The other nutrients also keep the body balanced in terms of other essential needs, which can prevents 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.
13. 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.
14. Almonds Alkalize the Body
Almonds are the only nut and one of the few proteins that are alkaline forming. When your body is not alkaline enough, you risk osteoporosis, poor immune function, low energy and weight gain.
15. Contribute to Muscle Strength and Healing
Although almond milk only contains 1 gram of protein per serving, it contains plenty of B vitamins such as iron and riboflavin, both important for muscle growth and healing.