Versatile and delicious, almonds are one of the most popular superfoods. While most people mistake almonds as nuts, technically they are the seeds of the almond tree that are contained within the fruits.
Almonds come in two varieties – sweet and bitter. Traditionally, sweet almonds are edible, while bitter almonds are used to make almond oil. Both these varieties are easily available in the market.
You can eat almonds as is or you can soak them in water overnight and eat them the next morning. You can also find almond milk, almond flour and almond butter in the market.
While it is true that almonds taste good, they also provide many health benefits. They are packed withhigh quality protein, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber and many essential amino acids. You can also get copper, B vitamins, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and healthy fats from almonds. However, as almonds are high in monounsaturated fats and calories, you must not eat them in excess.
Benefits Of Almonds:
1. Lowers Your Cholesterol:
Almonds are a good resource of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which facilitate in lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol. Eating almonds as part of our regular diet can help raise HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, levels. According to a research done by David Jenkins MD, people who consumed a handful of almonds every day lowered their bad cholesterol level by 4.4%, and those who ate two handfuls every day reduced their bad cholesterol by 9.4%.
2. They reduce heart attack risk:
Those who consume nuts five times a week have about a 50 percent reduction in risk of heart attack according to the Loma Linda School of Public Health.
3. Controls Diabetes:
Almonds also help control blood sugar levels and prevent complications from diabetes. The healthy fats, vitamins, fiber and several minerals in almonds help regulate the absorption and processing of glucose.
According to a study published by online journal Diabetes Care, nuts like almonds can help control Type 2 diabetes in men and post-menopausal women.
In addition, other studies have shown that almonds can offer protection from the dangerous spikes in blood sugar after large meals. This in turn reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
To maintain a healthy blood sugar level, eat one ounce of almonds immediately before eating a large meal.
4. Boosts Your Energy:
Almonds are rich in manganese, riboflavin and copper, all of which aid in manufacturing energy. If you are always on the go, try making your own almond energy bar, and take your power source with you.
6. They provide healthy fats and aid in weight loss:
- Although nuts are high in fat, frequent nut eaters are thinner on average than those who almost never consume nuts. (Data from the Nurses’ Health Study)
- Those who ate nuts at least two times per week were 31 percent less likely to gain weight than were those who never or seldom ate them in a study involving 8865 adults. (WHFood’s article on almonds)
7. Improves Brainpower
Almonds are also considered one of the best foods for your brain. The vitamin E in almonds helps prevent cognitive decline, boosts alertness and preserves memory functioning.
Plus, they are a good source of zinc, a mineral that can protect brain cells from free radical damage. Also, the vitamin B-6 in almonds aids the metabolism of proteins, which are required for brain cell repair.
They also contain phenylalanine, which helps prevent Parkinson’s disease and also increases the production of brain chemicals like dopamine and adrenaline. These chemicals are vital for attention and memory, and improving your problem solving skills.
To boost memory and stimulate the mind, eat a handful of almonds daily.
8. Skin Care:
Have you ever used almond oil for skin? Almond oil is a brilliant moisturizer as it contains olein glyceride linoleic acid. It works to prevent acne, blackheads, as well as arid and prickly skin. It also provides vitamin E needed for healthy skin. It helps to bring a glow to your skin and also acts as a mild disinfectant for wounds. It is also used as a massage oil for growing children to aid in their muscle growth.
9. Prevents Birth Defects
Pregnant women can enjoy almonds while helping prevent birth defects in their babies. The high amount of folic acid in almonds helps in healthy cell growth and tissue formation, which are important for the healthy growth of the fetus. Folic acid helps reduce neural tube defects (NTDs), including spina bifida and anencephaly, in newborn babies.
If you are pregnant, do not forget to include almonds in your diet to help your baby develop properly and reduce the risk of birth defects that can affect the baby’s life immensely.
10. Treats Hair Problems:
Almond oil is also very useful in treating all kinds of hair troubles. It helps to curb hair fall and dandruff and prevents greying of hair. It makes your hair silky and shiny too.
So get started with almonds and add them to your daily diet – as a snack, in a refining smoothie, or in your baking. You can also substitute your regular milk with almond milk and flour with almond flour and enjoy the immense benefits.
We’ve all heard that almonds have lots of beautifying qualities and nutritional benefits. But, what can they do to improve our skin? Very few people are aware of its skin enhancing benefits. We hope that learning more about it will encourage you to apply it regularly as a part of your beauty regimen and consume it as a part of your diet.