Consumption of dried fruits and nuts has become increasingly popular due to their health benefits.
Particularly, almonds are a nutrient-dense food with high medicinal values.
They are laden with protein, such as amandin, vitamin E, manganese, selenium, calcium, copper and phytonutrients.
Science has shown the favorable effects exerted by almond consumption, most notably on cholesterol levels in patients with hypercholesterolemia.
Here are 7 evidence-based health benefits of almond.
- You Will Benefit from Amazing Organic Nutrients
Almonds are part of the Prunus genus, which is a diverse family of plants rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
They are probably native to the Middle Ease, but California is currently the world’s leading producer because it has suitable conditions for its growth.
There are various almond-based products, including milk, butter, chocolates, yogurts, oil, paste, flour, skincare, and other snack-based health foods.
Almonds are a nutrient-dense food, as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (1). A standard 1-ounce (28 grams) serving of almonds contains:
- Beta-tocopherol: 36.4% of the recommended DV;
- Manganese: 36% of the recommended DV;
- Copper: 16% of the recommended DV;
- Magnesium: 19.5% of the recommended DV;
- Riboflavin: 13.5% of the recommended DV;
- Vitamin E: 34% of the recommended DV.
They are laden with phytic acid, an antinutrient that has been linked to reduced triglyceride levels (2). However, it is important to note that this substance impairs absorption of calcium, zinc and iron.
Almonds also contain manifold phytonutrients and polyphenolic compounds. These include bioavailable flavonoids and plant sterols that promote the growth of beneficial gut microbes.
- You Will Protect Your DNA
Almonds are an excellent source of antioxidants.
It has been shown that diets rich in antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and beta-tocopherol, are associated with a lower risk of degenerative disease, cancer and some aging-related diseases (3).
As mentioned previously, almonds contain significant amounts of polyphenols and beta-tocopherol.
One study examined LDL oxidation mechanisms and found that the antioxidants found in almonds can protect LDL against induced Cu2+- oxidation (4).
For this reason, almonds consumption is often recommended as a preventive measure against cardiovascular disease and other health complications.
- You Will Get Sufficient Amounts of Vitamin E
Almond is a reliable source of vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant which cannot be synthesized by your body. In fact, only 1 ounce of dry roasted almonds provides you with 34% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E.
This antioxidant tends to position itself in the cell and organelle membranes, stabilizing your cells and protecting them against lipid peroxidation
Several sources of evidence have shown the protective effects exerted by vitamin E on cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts and cancer. This is particularly due to its immune-enhancing role (5).
In conjunction with vitamin C —notable food sources include Kakadu plum and orange fruit— vitamin E can reduce menstrual pain and decrease the severity of tardive dyskinesia.
- You Will Gain Control Over Your Blood Sugar Levels
It is true that nuts are low in carbs and high in unsaturated fatty acids, vegetable protein and fiber. But, in general, nuts intake is highly recommended for type 2 diabetes patients due to their beneficial bioactive compounds and potential association with a reduced risk of this chronic disease.
Almonds also provide you with significant amounts of magnesium (19.5% DV) which is frequently associated with a reduced risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
One study examined the relationships between almonds intake and postprandial glycaemia and found that almond consumption favorably affects markers of glucose control and reduced postprandial glucose response —which an early abnormality of glucose homeostasis— in the elderly category of the research subjects by 30% (6).
Another study agreed with these findings and reported additional effects, including improved lipid levels and c-reactive protein levels (7).
- You Will Lose Weight More Easier
The epidemic of obesity and overweight is mainly due to excessive calorie intake. In this sense, nuts, such as almonds, with around 190 calories per two tablespoons would appear like food to limit.
However, almonds intake does not necessarily induce weight gain; conversely promotes weight loss. This is attributed to its satiating property which increases feelings of fullness.
A 2002 study in 81 participants on the question reported that daily consumption of 56 grams of almonds for 6 months did not cause a change to waist/hip ratio with a negligible mean gain of 0.4 kilograms per research subject (8).
The Bottom Line…
Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts out there.
They are regarded as low glycemic index food with favorable effects on cardiovascular health, including blood pressure, serum cholesterol and blood sugar levels regulation; and protection against free-radical reactions.
So, what are you waiting for to crack some almonds or drink a refreshing glass of almond milk?