Almonds are known as nuts, but in reality, they are not NUTS. In fact, consuming almonds make our brain sharper, and they are not nuts even regarding botany, as botany consider them as seeds of a plum like a tree (which means they relate to plum and peach family), which in turn is a member of the rose family. Benefits of almonds are not just limited to brain, and there are many more benefits associated with it. In this article, we will know about almonds in detail
Benefits of Almonds
Health Benefits of Almonds
(1) Controls cholesterol level
Almonds are very efficient in controlling cholesterol level of our body because of the presence of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats in them. Both MUF and PUF help in lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL) and in increasing the good cholesterol (HDL) cholesterol level.
Research done by David Jenkins showed that daily consumption of a handful of almonds reduce the risk of bad cholesterol level by 4.4 % and consuming two handfuls of almonds reduce the risk of bad cholesterol level by 9.4 %.
(2) Prevents Colon Cancer and Breast Cancer
Almonds are effective in preventing the body from cancer. This incredible power of almonds is because of the presence of fiber in them. These fibers help in detoxification of the body and enable the food to move throughout the digestive system in a proper way.
A clean digestive system means reduced risk of colon cancer, and in a way, almonds prevent us from getting colon cancer. Almonds are also useful in controlling the progression of breast cancer cells because of the presence of Vitamin E, Phytochemicals, and flavonoids in them.
(3) Protection Against Diabetes
Almonds are very useful when it comes to providing protection against diabetes all because of their stumpy glycemic index (GI). As per some studies, almonds have the ability to decrease the after meal escalation of blood sugar levels and thus stabilizes the blood sugar level, and helps in controlling diabetes.
(4) Energy Booster
It will not be wrong to consider almonds as energy booster because they can provide instant power because of the presence of manganese, riboflavin, and copper in them which helps in manufacturing energy. In this fast pace life of “Get Set Go,” it will be a good idea to keep some almonds in your pocket so that you can grab them whenever you feel a bit low on energy. If you get bored of munching almonds, you can give a try to cashews or walnuts as they are also an excellent source of energy.
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(5) Prevents Birth Defects
Almonds are helpful in preventing birth defects such as neural tube defects in baby. This is because of the presence of folic acids in them, which plays a big role in growth of healthy cells and configuration of tissues. Women who consume folic acid during their pregnancy period are less likely to give birth to babies suffering from Neural tube defects and this is why it is advisable to eat almonds during pregnancy period.
(6) Good for Brain
Almonds are good for our brain because of the presence of riboflavin and L-carinitine nutrients in them which helps in the growth of brain cells. Almonds are also rich in a brain boosting chemical known as phenylalanine which helps in cognitive functions of brain. Even ayurveda advises us to consume five soaked almonds as the first thing in the morning because of their brain strengthening power.
(7) Bones and Teeth Strength
Consuming almonds on regular basis can make our bones and teeth stronger because of the presence of micronutrients like phosphorus and calcium in them. Almonds are also good in strengthening the skeletal system of our body because of some other nutrients in them which helps in improving bone density of our body.
(8) Prevents Anemia
Anemia is a condition which occurs when our blood cells carry less oxygen in them. Almonds improve this condition by aiding the blood cells to carry more oxygen with them. This benefit of almonds is because of the presence of vitamins, iron and copper in them which acts as catalyst in the synthesis of hemoglobin. In this way, almonds can be used as a preventive measure for anemia.
(9) Better Digestive System
Soaked almonds are very good for our digestion and keep the overall digestive system in good condition. Almonds when soaked release a lipid breaking enzyme known as “lipase” which helps in the proper digestion of food by acting on the fats present in the food.
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(10) Good for Heart
A healthy heart is very important in order to live a healthy life. The presence of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in almonds helps in lowering down bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL), and thus makes our heart stronger.
Almonds are also rich in potassium, magnesium and proteins, which help in maintaining a healthier cardiovascular system. This doesn’t end here because almond is also rich in vitamin E which helps in fighting against several fatal heart diseases.
(11) Prevents Hypertension
The presence of low sodium and high potassium in almonds help in preventing blood pressure from escalating and thus prevents hypertension. Almonds are also effective in lowering down chances of artery congestion because of the presence of folic acid and magnesium in them.
(12) Helps in Weight Loss
Almonds are beneficial when it comes to weight loss. This is because of the presence of monounsaturated fatty acids in them, which not only satisfies the food craving but also helps in shedding the extra pounds.
(13) Prevents Constipation
Almonds are rich in fibers which are good for our digestive system. For this reason, it is advisable to consume soaked almonds regularly to get rid of the chronic constipation.
Beauty Benefits of Almonds
(1) Almonds for Skin
Almonds are very good for skin and can be used in multiple ways. Paste of soaked almonds can be used as natural moisturizer which not only provide nourishment to skin but also make our skin soft & smooth.
Almonds can also be used in gaining back the lost glow of skin and making it fairer again. This benefit of almonds is because of the ability of almonds to not only form new cells but also repair the damaged cells & tissues.
They are rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which fight against the free radicals of the body and thus slow down the ageing process. Paste of almonds can also be used as an exfoliating agent to get rid of the dead skin cells from our face and body.
(2) Almonds for Hair
Almonds are good for our hair and can be used as for nourishing our hairs in order to make them stronger and shinier. This benefit of almond is mainly because of the presence of vitamin E in them.
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Side Effects of Almonds
Too much of anything is bad and same is true with almonds. Almonds are good for our health but only when they are consumed in moderation as too much almonds can do more harm than good. Some of the side effects of over consumption of almonds are:-
(1) Weight Gain
Majority of fat present in almond is “Good” and is beneficial for our health but still fat is fat and if continue consuming almonds without accounting them in our diet then it can become one reason of weight gain. The good news is same almond can help in weight loss when consumed in moderate quantity (Recommended serving of almonds is one ounce per day).
(2) Interaction with Medicines
If you are on medications then it is advisable to check our almond diet as manganese present in almonds can react with certain antipsychotic drugs, antacids laxatives and blood pressure medications. The problem starts not because of manganese but because of manganese overdose which can happen if you are consuming too much almonds of if you are consuming almond when you already on a high manganese diet.
(3) Vitamin E overdose
Vitamin E present in almonds helps in making our hairs stronger & shinier, and in preventing the risk of breast cancer but the overdose of vitamin E can cause serious damage to our health. Some of the common health problems that may arise because of vitamin E overdose are tiredness, blurred vision, headache, diarrhea and flatulence.
(4) Gastrointestinal Problems
The fiber present in almonds is good for our digestive system and if we consume almonds in moderate quantity then it also give relief from constipation and diarrhea. However, same almonds can cause constipation and abdominal bloating when consumed in large quantity.
This mainly happens when your digestive system is not habitual of processing large volume of fibers. Drinking water can provide relief by helping the body to handle the fiber intake, but a good rule of thumb is to consume almonds in moderate quantity.
(5) Increased Toxicity
Bitter almonds contain hydrocyanic acid which can cause symptoms like slowing down of nervous system and breathing problem which can prove fatal to our body.
Botanical facts of Almonds
(1) Botanical name of almond is Prunus Dulcis and as we already said it is not a NUT but belongs to peach (Prunus persica) family which itself is a member of rose (Rosaceae) family.
(2) Almonds are native to the Middle East and Western Asia, but they are grown in many other parts of the world. In fact, USA is the major producer of almonds producing almost three-quarters of the total production of almonds throughout the world.
(3) Almond tree is deciduous which grows up to a height of 4 to 10 meters with a trunk width of about 12 inches in diameter. In the beginning, the young twigs are green which later turns to purplish on exposure to sunlight and finally turns gray in their second year.
(4) Best climate for the growth of almonds Mediterranean climates; which means they require warm & dry summer and mild & wet winters for their growth.
(5) Almond tree starts bearing a commercial crop in the third year of its plantation and reaches taking completely after five to six years of plantation.
(6) Fruits of almond trees mature in the autumn season ( seven to eight months after flowering)
Nutrition Chart of Almonds
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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