Evidence based health benefits of almonds you need to know
Whether you may be relishing an ice cream with almond toppings or having a glass of almond milk, you name it, this nut is a major satisfaction to your taste buds, and this also helps in a healthy diet. Now the question is how something this small can have a huge impact on your health.
Firstly, what are almonds?
An almond, despite being classified as a nut by most, is actually the seed from the fruit of an almond tree. The scientific name of these dried fruits is Prunus dulcis, and they are native to the Middle East, India, and North Africa. The almonds that we eat are actually the pits of these fruits. Once they are cracked open, the delicious meat of the nut can be eaten!
This partially explains why there are so many nutrients found in these nuts; they are the core nutrients needed for a new plant to grow. The taste of almonds may range from sweet to bitter. Both are readily available in markets and can be purchased based upon your taste and cooking use! Sweet almonds are edible, while bitter ones are used for making oil, which is commonly used to add flavor to the food.
How can they be eaten?
You can absolutely eat raw almonds and will reap all the health benefits of these delicious nuts. While many people prefer to toast their almonds to bring out a nicer flavor and release some of the natural oils, others add almonds as ingredients in salads, casseroles, and other dishes. However, almonds can be consumed in many ways:
- Drinking almond milk is a delicious beverage that’s an alternative to cow’s milk.
- Topping off your yogurt or oatmeal with these healthy nuts gives them a crunch!
- Grind them into delicious almond butter, add salt, and bake them to be a replacement for junk food.
- Include them in your protein or vegetable shakes.
- Top a salad with these nuts.
- Crushed almonds are also a wonderful garnish for a number of dishes.
- Sprinkle them on top of your pizza.
The health benefits of almonds
Almonds have a number of important health benefits, possibly including the potential ability to protect heart health thanks to the high concentration of beneficial monounsaturated fats. They increase circulation, strengthen the bones, protect the skin, aid in digestion, and help control blood sugar levels.
1. Almonds are a rich source of antioxidants and Vitamin E
Almonds are great sources of alkali materials, and it is thought by some that this strengthens the immune system, as well as possibly increases the ability to stave off diseases and various health conditions. Along with almonds’ alkalinity, they also have a possibly high content of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. With higher amounts of vitamin E being pumped into your bloodstream, this reduces your risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and heart disease. Make sure that your intake of vitamin E is moderated because excessive intake of vitamin E can lead to prostate cancer.
Almonds have a rich source of antioxidants that can protect you against stress. Stress leads to molecule damage that thereby results in inflammation, cancer, and aging. The antioxidants prevalent in almonds benefit your skin. A clinical trial in 60 male smokers found that about 3 ounces (84 grams) of almonds per day reduced oxidative stress biomarkers by 23–34% over a four-week period.
2. Almonds can lower cholesterol levels.
Regular consumption of almonds may help to increase the high-density lipoproteins (also known as HDL cholesterol levels) and help to reduce the low-density lipoproteins (referred to as LDL cholesterol levels). A 16-week study in 65 people with prediabetes found that a diet providing 20% of calories from almonds lowered LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 12.4 mg/dL.
3. Almonds can boost brain health
Almonds are a possibly rich source of many nutrients which help in the development and health of the human brain. They have long been considered an essential food item for growing children. Studies have shown that almonds, as well as almond oil, are nutritive to the overall health and functioning of the nervous system. These dry fruits contain two vital nutrients, riboflavin and L-carnitine, which have been linked to increased brain activity, resulting in new neural pathways and a decreased occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.
While initial animal studies show positive results, more human studies are needed to make any stronger connections. When almonds are mixed with milk they become rich in potassium. This is one of the main minerals that boost the number of electrolytes in your body, thus providing the body with more energy. When there is a boost in electrolytes, your memory flow also increases and this can happen by consuming almond milk. In simple terms, almond milk makes your memory sharper.
4. Almonds are rich in nutrients
The edible seeds drawn out of almond trees are almonds and the United States is the largest producer of almonds in the world. Almonds are rich in nutrients wherein just 28 grams of almonds contain:
- 6 grams of protein.
- 3.5 grams of fiber.
- 14 grams of fat (9 of which are monounsaturated).
- 37% of vitamin E
- 32% of manganese
- 20% of magnesium
- They also contain a decent amount of copper,
vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus.
Almonds are also high in phytic acid, a substance that binds certain minerals and prevents them from being absorbed. While phytic acid is generally considered a healthy antioxidant, it also slightly reduces the amount of iron, zinc and calcium you get from almonds.
5. Almonds help in weight loss.
Nuts contain several nutrients that your body struggles to break down and digest. Your body does not absorb about 10–15% of the calories in nuts. Additionally, some evidence suggests that eating nuts can boost metabolism slightly. Due to their satiating properties, nuts are a great addition to an effective weight loss diet. Quality human research supports this. In one study, a low-calorie diet with 3 ounces (84 grams) of almonds increased weight loss by 62% compared to a diet enriched with complex carbohydrates.
Another study in 100 overweight women found that those consuming almonds lost more weight than those on a nut-free diet. They also showed improvements in waist circumference and other health markers. Despite being high in fat, almonds are definitely a weight-loss-friendly food. Almonds and other nuts are very high in calories. As a snack, they should be on the binge eaters’ blacklist. Studies have also shown that 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 can help in weight loss and the general health of the body through the elimination of toxins.
Though almonds are considered healthy for you, there is a certain amount of them that you can consume. The amount of almond intake depends on whether you are looking for weight gain or weight loss. So, if you want to put on more weight, then you can have 40 almonds a day, beginning with breakfast. Well, if you are looking for weight loss, you need to consume only 5 almonds with a glass of milk for breakfast. If you want an alternative to losing fat in 14 days, try this supplement. In addition, almonds help fight many cardiovascular diseases such as diabetes, sleep apnea, and cancer. It is more important to take almonds in moderation.