Almond Health Benefits
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There’s no shortage of studies on almonds and their health benefits, and almost all agree that they’re one of the world’s top superfoods. Some of these studies don't prove but suggest that the nutrients found in almonds can provide the following health benefits. These healthy nutrients aren't unique to almonds but almonds contain a higher concentration of these nutrients than many other foods you can choose. Here are some of health benefits linked to the nutrients found in Almonds:
- Loaded with Anti-Oxidants Anti-oxidants help protect against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in your cells and contribute to inflammation, aging, and diseases like cancer. A clinical trial in 60 male smokers found that about 3 ounces of almonds per day reduced oxidative stress biomarkers by 23–34% over a four-week period. But remember, the powerful antioxidants in almonds are largely concentrated in the brown layer of the skin so blanched almonds with the skin removed are not your best health option.
- High in Vitamin E Vitamin E is a family of fat-soluble antioxidants. These antioxidants tend to build up in cell membranes in your body, protecting your cells from oxidative damage. Several studies have linked higher vitamin E intake with lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. Vitamin E is also essential for maintaining the strength and integrity of cell membranes making it a useful beauty tool. Therefore, it can make our skin more elastic and smooth, and your hair and nails stronger.
- Healthier Hair and Nails Almonds have a high amount of Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H. This vitamin promotes hair growth and overall scalp health. It also helps nail growth and strengthen brittle nails.
- Maintain Skin Health Almonds are a great source of vitamin E and other antioxidants that nourish the skin and reduce signs of aging. Research finds that almonds nutrition contains high concentrations of catechin, epicatechin and flavonol antioxidants, including quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin — compounds that fight skin cancer and damage by reversing oxidative stress from a poor diet, pollution, and UV light exposure. (1) Almonds’ healthy fats plus their ability to improve circulation also help keep skin hydrated and better able to heal wounds.
- Good For Pregnancy Almonds contain folic acid and biotin. Both of which are very important nutrients during pregnancy. Folic acid helps reduce the incidence of birth defects in newborn babies. It also stimulates healthy cell growth and tissue formation. Neural tube defects are conditions where the neural tube is either underdeveloped or is partially missing in the fetus. Doctors regularly prescribe folic acid supplements to pregnant women to ensure proper development of the tube, and they have enough folic acid to keep mothers and their babies healthy. In addition, biotin helps promote proper embryo development. Biotin deficiency in pregnant women can lead to several health conditions and even birth defects. Other results of biotin deficiency are rashes, hair loss, hallucinations, and depression.
- Reduce Inflammation Today, many people think that the word “fat” might mean something negative, but in fact, certain fatty acids are essential and can be very beneficial for overall health. The body can’t create its own fatty acids, which is why we need to get them from dietary sources. Almonds have two very important fatty acids, both oleic and linolenic acids. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation and the levels of LDL cholesterol. (2) Some studies even suggest reducing inflammation helps relieve joint pains as well.
- Helps with Blood Sugar Control Almonds are low in carbs but high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. These qualities make Almonds a perfect snack choice for people with diabetes. Almonds are also very high in magnesium, which lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin function for some Type-2 diabetics. People without diabetes also see major reductions in insulin resistance when supplementing with magnesium. This indicates that high-magnesium foods such as almonds may help prevent metabolic syndrome and Type-2 diabetes, both of which are major health problems.
- Might 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 high blood pressure regardless of whether you are overweight. Studies show that correcting a magnesium deficiency can lead to major reductions in blood pressure.
- May Fight Against Heart Attacks and Heart Disease Two of the key chemical components of almond nutrition are antioxidants and ‘good’ monounsaturated fatty acids, both of which support heart health and prevent various cardiovascular symptoms from developing. Almonds, in particular, supply antioxidant flavonoids, plant-based elements present in the almond skin that work in combination with vitamin R to reduce inflammation and boost artery health. Almond nutrition also comprises of key nutrients to further support heart health, which includes copper, arginine, calcium, manganese, potassium, and magnesium. Research suggests that almonds reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, specifically in people with high diabetes and cholesterol. The nutrients in almonds help prevent damage from taking place within artery walls and shield them against the harmful buildup of plaque. These nutritional benefits may help protect against stroke and heart attack by supporting healthy blood pressure, reducing cholesterol levels, and combating obesity and weight gain.
- Can Lower Cholesterol Levels High levels of LDL lipoproteins in your blood — also known as "bad" cholesterol — are a well-known risk factor for heart disease. Almonds are rich in oleic acid. Studies suggest that oleic acid can reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol and strengthen your arteries reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and similar conditions. Furthermore, a 16-week study of people with pre-diabetes found that a diet providing 20% of calories from almonds lowered LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 12.4 mg/dL. Another study found that eating 1.5 ounces (42 grams) of almonds per day lowered LDL cholesterol by 5.3 mg/dL while maintaining "good" HDL cholesterol. As a bonus, participants also lost belly fat.
- Boost Brain Health Almonds are a rich source of many nutrients which help in the development and health of the human brain. They have been connected to a higher intellectual level and they have long been considered an essential food item for growing children. Almonds contain two vital brain nutrients, riboflavin and L-carnitine, which have been shown to increase brain activity, result in new neural pathways, and potentially decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Almonds also contain vitamin B6 and vitamin E, which are both known to promote brain health. (3) Studies suggest that adding almonds in a diet may help fight against age-related memory declines as well as amnesia. (4)
- Maybe Effective for Weight Loss Almonds are low in carbs and high in protein and fiber. Both protein and fiber are known to increase feelings of fullness. This can help you eat fewer calories. Due to their satiating properties, nuts are a great addition to an effective weight loss diet. 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 (5). 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. But since Almonds are high in calories, people should eat them in moderation and follow the recommended serving size if they want to lose weight.
- Can Help Strengthen Your Bones Almonds are packed with calcium and manganese, two minerals essential for bone density. Phosphorus is another nutrient found in almonds. Phosphorus can have a considerable impact on the strength and durability of bones and teeth (6) Combined together, the nutrients found in almonds support proper bone health while having the potential to prevent the onset of age-related conditions like osteoporosis.
- According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.” U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that the majority of your fat intake be unsaturated. One serving of almonds (28 grams, or about 23 almonds) has 13 grams of unsaturated fat and only 1 gram of saturated fat. Almonds are also approved by the American Heart Association for the Heart Check certification.