Health Benefits of Almonds
Almonds are the edible seeds of a tree in the genus Prunus, which also contains peaches, cherries, and apricots. The fruit of these trees is enclosed in a tough outer hull or husk, which can be removed to expose an inner shell that encloses the seed or nut.
The almond is native to the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, and parts of India. The tree has been cultivated for so long that it has become wild in some areas.
Almonds are an important commercial crop because they are grown as nuts, but also have unusual characteristics. They are one of the few commercially grown nuts without a stone or pit.
Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats (healthy fats) and are also a good source of vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, fiber, protein, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid, and phytosterols. They are deliciously eaten by themselves or used in cooking, baking, or as an additive in many other dishes.
Some of the health benefits of almonds are due to their fatty acid composition. They contain polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and saturated fat s. Almonds also have a low glycemic index (GI) value, which means they do not cause rapid spikes in blood glucose.
Almonds are good for the heart. They have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol. Eating almonds or almond products has also been linked with a lower risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Almonds contain magnesium, which is a mineral that can help regulate blood pressure, add extra protection against heart disease, and protect against type 2 diabetes.
Almonds are good for the brain:
They have been shown to improve memory, learning skills, and cognitive function in the elderly. In a study published in 2012, researchers randomly assigned 150 adults aged 55-70 without overt dementia to one of three treatments: a drink containing extracts from 10 grams of freeze-dried almonds, a similar drink with inactive ingredients, or a placebo.
The study was carried out in the form of a double-blind trial, meaning neither the researchers nor participants were aware who had been given which treatment. It was found that the almond drink containing active ingredients led to an improvement of about 28 percent from baseline on tests of cognitive function compared with similar tests taken before any treatment – but there were no improvements from the placebo.
Almonds are good for the eyes. They contain vitamin E, which is important in protecting your eyes against age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness in older people.
In a study published in 2008, researchers from Ohio State University followed more than 4,000 men and women aged 55-80 over an eight-year period. They found that those who ate a diet high in vitamin E, which is found in almonds and other nuts, had a 33 percent reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration compared to people eating a low vitamin E diet.
Almonds are good for the waistline. People who eat almonds regularly tend to have lower body mass index s and body weight. Almonds are a low-energy-density food, meaning they have few calories for their size. This is helpful to people trying to lose weight or keep from gaining weight.
Almonds can help control blood sugar levels in those who consume them as part of a meal. The effect on blood sugar over time depends on how quickly almonds are eaten and their processing.
Almonds that are not shelled or skinned release more slowly into the bloodstream, which results in a lower glycemic response. It is important to note that an almond-rich diet has only minor effects on satiety compared with higher fiber foods, such as whole grains.
Almonds help people feel fuller for longer periods of time. Almond products such as almond butter, almond flour, and roasted almonds can be used to increase satiety due to their protein content and healthy fats.
Almond benefits for men and women:
Eating almonds may not only reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, but it also helps fight signs of aging and improve sex drive. According to a recent study presented at the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting & Exposition in Boston, Massachusetts, an extract found within almond skins could enhance sexual function for both men and women. This secret ingredient is called prune tin.
Almond benefits for the heart:
It also helps decrease blood pressure and increase circulation, which can benefit your heart. The magnesium found in almonds is essential to various body functions and that of the nervous system and also improves blood sugar regulation.
Preventing heart disease:
Almonds contain vitamin E which reduces lipid oxidation of LDL cholesterol. When oxidized, LDL cholesterol becomes damaged and more harmful to the body.
The selenium in almonds helps protect against cancer as it contains antioxidants and is a great source of magnesium, which is known to reduce colon cancer risk.
Almonds are high in folate which makes up part of an enzyme that breaks down homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine have been linked with mood disorders, depression, and anxiety.
Almonds contain copper and manganese which are important for healthy bone formation along with the magnesium found in almonds. These micronutrients also help prevent osteoporosis and age-related bone loss.
Almonds are high in vitamin E and help improve eye health which is important for good vision.
Almond benefits for skin:
The antioxidants present in almonds protect the skin from sun damage, cancer, and aging. It also moisturizes your skin by keeping it elastic and hydrated. Also, almond oil hydrates your hair and prevents hair loss.
Improves skin health:
Almonds contain antioxidants that protect the skin from sun damage, cancer, and aging. The oil in almonds keeps skin hydrated and elastic by preventing dryness and flaking.
Preventing hair loss:
The Vitamin E present in almonds nourishes your scalp, strengthens your roots, and improves blood flow to the follicles. This prevents hair loss.
Improving the appearance of skin:
Almonds are rich in potassium that is an important nutrient for healthy-looking skin. Potassium keeps pores clear and reduces dryness by fighting wrinkles.
Here is a list of few side effects of Almonds:
1) Allergic Reactions:
Although we know that almonds are one of the healthiest nuts, at the same time, it is a potential allergen to some people. Consumption of almonds may cause symptoms like skin rashes, mouth irritation, breathing difficulty, and even anaphylactic shock in severe cases.
People who are allergic to pollen or nuts should avoid products that contain almonds as they can lead to potentially life-threatening situations. Therefore, it is advised that people with nut allergies should use caution while consuming almonds for the first time.
2) Swelling of lips:
Consumption of large amounts of milk or milk products may also lead to swelling of lips and other parts of the body. This condition is known as angioneurotic edema which occurs due to the release of histamine by the body. It is also known as Quincke’s Edema and usually lasts for a day or two before disappearing on its own.
3) Effect on Pregnancy:
People who are expecting need to be extra careful as almonds may interfere with the levels of estrogen in pregnant women and may lead to birth defects. According to the studies, plants like almonds contain compounds known as phytoestrogens that is similar to reproductive hormones found in women. This can lead to hormonal imbalance and may even result in birth defects.
4) Allergic reactions:
Almonds are a potential allergen for people who have nut allergies and other related conditions. Consumption of almonds can lead to shortness of breath, swelling of the gums and throat, rash, itching, and tightness in the chest. This is known as anaphylactic shock and may even be fatal in some cases. Therefore, pregnant women should avoid having too many bad fats like almonds during pregnancy.
Consumption of almonds may lead to blood sugar level changes in people with diabetes. Therefore, diabetics need to keep a check on their blood sugar levels after consuming almonds.
6) Weight Gain:
Due to the high-calorie content present in almonds, it can lead to weight gain. Although healthy fats are important for your body but too much Almond can be harmful in the long term.