Health

BENEFITS OF EATING ALMONDS

Almonds (1)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.

Despite being high in fat, they are highly nutritious and extremely healthy.

1. Almonds Deliver a Massive Amount of Nutrients

The almond is the edible seed that grows on the tree Prunus dulcis, more commonly called the almond tree. Almonds are native to the Middle East, but the United States is now the world’s largest producer.The almonds we buy at the store have usually had the shell removed, revealing the edible nut inside.They are sold either raw (often referred to as “natural”) or roasted.

Almonds boast an incredibly impressive nutrient profile.

A 1 ounce (28 grams, or small handful) serving of almonds contains :

  • Fiber: 3.5 grams.
  • Protein: 6 grams.
  • Fat: 14 grams (9 of which are monounsaturated).
  • Vitamin E: 37% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 32% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 20% of the RDA.
  • They also contain a decent amount of copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus.

2. Almonds Are Loaded With Antioxidants

Almonds are a fantastic source of antioxidants.almonds-with-and-without-skin

Antioxidants help to protect against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer .

The powerful antioxidants in almonds are largely concentrated in the brown layer of the skin .For this reason, blanched almonds (skin removed) are not the best choice from a health perspective.

3. Almonds Are High in Vitamin E, Which Protects Your Cell Membranes From Damage

Vitamin E is the name for a group of fat soluble antioxidants.

These antioxidants tend to build up in cell membranes in the body, protecting the cells from oxidative damage.

Almonds are among the world’s best sources of vitamin E, several studies have linked higher vitamin E intake with lower rates of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Almonds Can Assist With Blood Sugar Control

almondsNuts are low in carbs, but high in healthy fats, protein and fiber.This makes them a perfect choice for diabetics.

However, another thing that sets almonds apart, is their remarkably high amount of magnesium.

Magnesium is a mineral involved in more than 300 bodily processes, including blood sugar control.

The current recommended intake for magnesium is 310-420 mg. Two ounces of almonds provide almost half of that, with 150 mg of this important mineral.

It turns out that 25-38% of type 2 diabetics are deficient in magnesium, and correcting the deficiency significantly lowers blood sugar levels and improves the function of insulin.

Interestingly, people without diabetes also see major reductions in insulin resistance when supplementing with magnesium.

This indicates that high magnesium foods (like almonds) may be beneficial for prevention of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, both of which are massive health problems today.

5. Magnesium Also Has Benefits For Blood Pressure Levels

The magnesium in almonds may also help to lower blood pressure levels.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the leading drivers of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.

A deficiency in magnesium is strongly linked to blood pressure problems, regardless of whether you are overweight or not.

Studies have shown that correcting a magnesium deficiency can lead to major reductions in blood pressure .

Given that the majority of US adults do not meet the dietary recommendations for magnesium, the addition of almonds to the diet could have a huge impact.

6. Almonds Can Lower Cholesterol Levels

Having high levels of LDL lipoproteins (the “bad” cholesterol) in the blood is a well-known risk factor for heart disease.

What you eat can have major effects on LDL levels, and some studies have shown almonds to be effective.

A 16-week study in 65 pre-diabetic subjects found that a diet with 20% of calories from almonds lowered LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 12.4 mg/dL .

Another study found that 1.5 ounces (42 grams) of almonds per day lowered LDL cholesterol by 5.3 mg/dL, while maintaining the “good” HDL cholesterol. The almond group also lost belly fat .

7. Almonds Prevent Harmful Oxidation of LDL Cholesterol

Almonds do more than just lower LDL levels in the blood.They also protect the LDL from oxidation, which is a crucial step in the heart disease process.

The skin of almonds is rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which have been shown to prevent oxidation of cholesterol in test tubes and animal studies.

The effect may be even stronger when combined with other antioxidants, like vitamin E.

In one human study, snacking on almonds for one month lowered oxidized LDL cholesterol levels by 14% .This should lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over time.

8. Eating Almonds Reduces Hunger, Lowering Your Overall Calorie Intake

Almonds are low in carbs, and high in both protein and fiber.

Both protein and fiber are known to increase satiety. They help people feel more full, so they end up eating fewer calories .

In a 4-week study with 137 participants, a daily 1.5 ounce (43 grams) serving of almonds significantly reduced hunger and desire to eat .

Numerous other studies support the hunger-fighting effects of nuts .

9. Almonds Are Incredibly Effective For Weight Loss

Nuts contain several nutrients that are hard for the body to break down and digest.

About 10-15% of the calories in nuts aren’t absorbed, and there is some evidence that eating nuts can boost metabolism slightly .Combined with the hunger-fighting properties, it makes sense that nuts are a great addition to an effective weight loss diet.

Interestingly, there are some quality human studies that support this.

In one of them, 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 in the nut-free group. They also had improvements in waist circumference and other health markers .

So, despite being high in fat, almonds are most definitely a weight loss friendly food.

However, almonds may cause problems for people who are prone to binge eating, as they can be quite “more-ish.”

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