Almonds are the tree nuts of the almond tree. However, botanically, they are not true nuts but are seeds of plum like a tree and are a member of the rose family. Almonds provide many health and beauty benefits as they contain essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, essential fatty acids, and dietary fibers, etc.
Benefits of Almonds
Following are the major health benefits of almonds.
(1) Protection From Various Cancer(s)
vitamin A, vitamin E, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in almond protect our cells from free radical damage and minimizes the risk of several cancers like colon cancer, abdominal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, etc.
Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from the neighboring molecules, and doing so causes oxidative damage to them.
(2) Regulates Blood Sugar
Because of its negligible glycemic index ( between 0 and 5), almonds slow down sugar release into the bloodstream, prevent a sudden spike in blood sugar level, and helps in managing diabetes.
The dietary fibers, monosaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats in the almond slow down the absorption of sugar by the bloodstream and helps in controlling blood sugar levels.
If you are on diabetic medication, consult your doctor before adding almonds to your diet to avoid the risk of food-drug intolerance.
Overeating almonds while being on diabetic medication may drop the blood sugar to an abnormally low level giving rise to hypoglycemia with symptoms like shakiness, dizziness, excessive sweating, excessive hunger, fast heartbeat, confusion, and irritability, or moodiness.
(3) Energy Booster
Almonds are a wonderful natural energy booster that gives 579 calories of energy per 100 grams. When consumed in moderation they are a better alternative to commercially available energy drinks available in the market. They not only provide energy but are loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, etc that benefit our health.
Essential fatty acids like monosaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats in almonds improve cardiovascular health.
Eat them in moderation to avoid weight gain.
Avoid salted almonds as the sodium in them affects our health negatively.
(4) Prevents Birth Defects
Folate or folic acid present in the almond is an essential mineral for the brain as it improves cognitive development and minimizes the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.
Folic acid plays an important role in the growth of healthy cells in the fetus and is often recommended to pregnant women.
(5) Good For Brain
Almond is good for the brain as they contain riboflavin and L-carnitine that promotes the growth of brain cells.
Antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin E, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in the almond protects our brain cells or the neurons from free radical damage, and thus minimizes the risk of various neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amnesia, and dementia, etc.
Phenylalanine, an amino acid in almond improves the cognitive functions of the brain.
Other nutrients like iron, potassium, zinc, iron, and magnesium, etc in the almond also contribute to neurological health as they provide several cognitive benefits like a sharper memory, better focus, improved concentration, and reduced mental confusion, etc.
Ayurveda suggests eating 5 to 10 soaked almonds first thing in the morning to boost cognitive benefits.
(6) Make Bones Stronger
Almonds make our bones stronger due to bone-strengthening minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese, etc.
Calcium is needed for the growth and development of the bones, and its deficiency may increase the risk of bone disorders like osteoporosis.
Potassium neutralizes acid load, reduces loss of calcium from the bones, and thus improves bone density.
Magnesium also improves bone density and thus contributes to better bone health.
Manganese increases calcium absorption and improves the bone mineral density of the spinal column.
(7) Prevents Anemia
Iron, a vital mineral in almonds reduces the risk of iron-induced anemia, a blood disorder caused by the deficiency of iron in the body.
Iron-induced anemia causes symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, pale skin, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, and cold hands or feet, etc.
Iron increases the production of red blood cells that carries oxygenated blood to cells and reduces the risk of anemia.
Copper in almonds increases iron absorption from the guts.
(8) Good For Digestive Health
Almonds improve our digestive health.
Dietary fibers in them are natural laxatives that improve bowel movement, aids in stool elimination, and thus relieve constipation and other gastrointestinal issues like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating and flatulence, etc.
They also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin E, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, flavonoids, etc that protects the digestive system from free radical damage and minimizes the risk of colorectal cancer, abdominal cancer, pancreatic cancer, intestinal cancer, and stomach cancer, etc.
On soaking, almond peels release an enzyme called “lipase” that helps with fat digestion.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, and folate, etc also improves our digestive health.
(9) Aids In Managing Cholesterol
Almond’s aids in managing cholesterol level as they contain essential fats like monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats that reduces LDL cholesterol level and increases HDL cholesterol.
Dietary fibers in almond reduce LDL cholesterol in the body and minimize the risk of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition that leads to hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in the arterial walls and is a leading cause of several cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, and coronary artery disease.
As per research by David Jenkins, consuming a handful of almonds every day reduces bad cholesterol levels by 4.4%, and consuming two handfuls of almonds reduces this level by 9.4%.
(10) Prevents Hypertension
Almonds contain potassium, a natural vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels improves blood circulation, and thus provides relief from high blood pressure or hypertension.
Hypertension is a common health problem that gives rise to various health problems like severe headaches, nose bleed, chest pain, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, vision problems, and blood in urine, etc.
It affects millions worldwide.
Zinc, folic acid, and magnesium in almonds also help in regulating blood pressure.
Eat almonds in moderation as high potassium levels may drop the blood pressure to an abnormally low level giving rise to symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, nausea, dehydration, lack of concentration, blurred vision, and pale skin, etc.
If you are on blood pressure medication, then consume almond after consulting with your doctor to avoid the risk of food-drug intolerance.
Avoid salted almonds as their high sodium content may elevate blood pressure.
(11) Good for Heart Health
Almond is good for our hearts.
Antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols, etc in almond protect our cardiovascular system from free radical damage.
Polyunsaturated fats and dietary fibers in almond reduce LDL cholesterol and minimize the risk of atherosclerosis, a leading cause of several cardiovascular problems.
Potassium in almonds relaxes blood vessels and regulates hypertension or high blood pressure, a well-known cause of several cardiovascular and other health problems.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper, etc in almond also contribute to our cardiovascular health.
Eat them in moderation, and avoid salted almonds as they can cause cardiovascular problems.
(12) Helps in Weight Loss
Although Almonds are high in calories( 579 calories/100 grams), they are an excellent choice for weight management.
Monounsaturated fats in almonds reduce food craving and help with weight management.
Dietary fibers in almonds provide stomach satiety, controls food craving, and thus controls overeating which is a major cause of obesity.
In comparison to other calorie-laden products, they are healthier as they not only provide calories but also essential fats and nutrients.
Depending on the serving, they help with both healthy weight gain and weight loss.
Eating soaked almonds help with weight loss as they release lipase, an enzyme that aids fat digestion.
Avoid salted almonds as the high sodium in them may increase the risk of blood pressure and cardiovascular problems.
(13) Promotes Digestive Health
Almonds improve our digestive health as they contain antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin E, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, flavonoids, etc.
These compounds protect our digestive system from free radical damage and minimize the risk of colon cancer, abdominal cancer, pancreatic cancer, intestinal cancer, and stomach cancer, etc.
The laxative properties of dietary fibers in almond improves bowel movement, aids in stool elimination, and thus relieve constipation and other gastrointestinal issues like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating and flatulence, etc.
For better digestive health, soaked almonds are preferred over raw almonds.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, and folate, etc also improves our digestive health.
Beauty Benefits of Almonds
Some major beauty benefits of almonds are as follows.
(1) Almonds for Skin
Applying the paste of soaked almonds moisturizes our skin, provides nourishment, and makes it soft, supple, and radiant.
It aids in bringing out the natural glow of the skin as it contains vitamin E that aids with the regeneration of new skin cells, and repairs damaged skin cells.
Vitamin E, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds in almonds protect our skin from free radical damage and minimizes various signs of premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, and skin blemish, etc.
Almonds paste is a wonderful exfoliator that aids in getting rid of dead and dry skin cells.
Dietary fibers in almonds prevent the accumulation of toxins and pollutants within the skin pores and reduce the risk of acne and pimples.
(2) Almonds for Hair
Antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin E, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols, etc in almonds protect our hair follicles and scalp from free radical damage.
Vitamin E nourishes our hair follicles and scalp and makes our hair strong and lustrous.
Botanical Facts Of Almonds
- Almonds belong to the peach (Prunus Persica) family of the rose (Rosaceae) family and are seeds of the drupe and not true nuts.
- Almonds are native to the Middle East and Western Asia, but they are now grown in many regions of the world. The USA produces about 75 percent of the total amount produced in the world.
- The almond tree is deciduous and grows up to a height of 4 to 10 meters. The young twigs which are earlier green later turn to purplish on exposure to sunlight, in their second year they turn gray.
- Almonds require Mediterranean climates or the warm & dry summer and mild & wet winters for their growth.
- Almond trees start bearing fruit after 5 years of plantation, and some varieties of almonds can even take 12 years.
Nutrition Chart of AlmondsSource-USDA
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as a medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, but I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.