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.
Almonds may be eaten on their own, raw or toasted. They are also the ingredients of several different dishes. Almonds are available sliced, flaked, slivered, as a flour, oil, butter, or as almond milk.
The almond that we think of as a nut is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree, a medium-size tree that bears fragrant pink and white flowers. Like its cousins, the peach, cherry and apricot trees, the almond tree bears fruits with stone-like seeds (or pits) within. The seed of the almond fruit is what we refer to as the almond nut.
The health benefits of almonds have been documented for centuries and modern research is backing up many of the claims - there any many goods reasons why you might want to consider including them in your diet.
Almonds are a source of vitamin E, copper, magnesium, and high quality protein.
Almonds also contain high levels of healthy unsaturated fatty acids in addition to a lot of bioactive molecules (such as fiber, phytosterols, vitamins, other minerals, and antioxidants) which can help prevent cardiovascular heart diseases.
Nuts and seeds are the vegetable foods that are richest in fiber after cereals, which could explain why almonds are good for cardiovascular health.
The health benefits of almonds
Potential health benefits associated with consuming almonds include lowering cholesterol, and reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.
1. They reduce heart attack risk.
Those who consume nuts five times a week have about a 50 percent reduction in risk of heart attack according to the Loma Linda School of Public Health.
2. They lower ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Almonds added to the diet have a favorable effect on blood cholesterol levels, according to a clinical study by Dr. Gene Spiller, Director of the Health Research and Studies Center, Inc.
3. They protects artery walls from damage.
It was found that the flavonoids in almond skins work in synergy with the vitamin E, thus reducing the risk of heart disease (Research at Tufts University).
4. Almonds help build strong bones and teeth.
The phosphorus in almonds helps make this possible.
5. They provide healthy fats and aid in weight loss.
Although nuts are high in fat, frequent nut eaters are thinner on average than those who almost never consume nuts.
Those who ate nuts at least two times per week were 31 percent less likely to gain weight than were those who never or seldom ate them in a study involving 8865 adults. (WHFood’s article on almonds)
6. Almonds lower the rise in blood sugar and insulin after meals.
7. They help provide good brain function.
Almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, nutrients that boost brain activity and may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
8. They nourish the nervous system.
According to Ayurveda, almonds help increase high intellectual level and longevity.
9. They 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.