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Benefits of Almonds

3/09/2018 505

5 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Almonds

Almonds are an incredibly popular tree nut.

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

Here are 9 evidence-based health benefits of almonds.

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 (1):

  • 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.

This is all from a small handful, which supplies only 161 calories and 2.5 grams of digestible carbohydrates.

It is also important to note that 10-15% of an almond’s calories are not absorbed by the body, because the fat is too difficult to access and break down.

Almonds are also high in phytic acid, a substance that binds certain minerals and prevents them from being absorbed. This means that the amount of iron, zinc and calcium you get from the almonds will be reduced somewhat.

2. Almonds Are Loaded With Antioxidants

Almonds are a fantastic source of antioxidants.

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.

A clinical trial of 60 male smokers found that 84 grams (about 3 ounces) of almonds per day reduced oxidative stress biomarkers by 23-34%, over a 4 week period .

These findings support those of another study, which found that eating almonds with main meals reduced some markers of oxidative damage .

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, with just one ounce providing 37% of the recommended daily intake.

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

Nuts 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 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.