Health benefits of almonds

Almonds are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and are associated with a number of health benefits. Just a handful of almonds, approximately one ounce, contains one-eighth of our necessary daily proteins. Nutritional breakdown of almonds
Almonds are a source of vitamin E, copper, magnesium, and high quality protein. Almonds also contain high levels of healthy unsaturated fatty acids in addition to a lot of bioactive molecules (such as fiber, phytosterols, vitamins, other minerals, and antioxidants) which can help prevent cardiovascular heart diseases. Eating about 23 almonds a day is an easy way to incorporate many crucial nutrients into your diet. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Additionally, almonds are a significant source of protein and fiber, while being naturally low in sugar. One 23-almond serving packs 13 grams of healthy unsaturated fats, 1 gram of saturated fat and no cholesterol or salt. Of all tree nuts, almonds rank highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin content by weight. There are 160 calories in 23 almonds. While many of these calories come from fat, it is primarily the healthy unsaturated fats and not the unhealthy saturated kind.

Nuts and seeds are the vegetable foods that are richest in fiber after cereals, which could explain why almonds are good for cardiovascular health.

The health benefits of almonds

Potential health benefits associated with consuming almonds include lowering cholesterol, and reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Lowering cholesterol
A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that consuming almonds increases vitamin E levels in the plasma and red blood cells and also lowers cholesterol levels. This study is important because it shows that eating almonds can significantly boost levels of vitamin E in the diet and bloodstream. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that defends your cells against damage on a daily basis and prevents artery-clogging oxidation of cholesterol. Eating a handful of almonds a day is a great way to get the vitamin E your body needs to stay healthy.

Reducing cancer risk
Researchers at the Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, conducted a study to determine the effect of almonds on colon cancer.
The results suggested that "almond consumption may reduce colon cancer risk and does so via at least one almond lipid-associated component.

Reducing the risk of heart disease
Almonds, along with nuts and seeds in general, are often associated with improved levels of blood lipids and being good for the heart.
There is evidence indicating that including almonds in your diet can help ward off heart disease.

Almonds may be eaten on their own, raw or toasted. They are also the ingredients of several different dishes. Almonds are available sliced, flaked, slivered, as a flour, oil, butter, or as almond milk.

The health benefits of almonds have been documented for centuries and modern research is backing up many of the claims - there any many goods reasons why you might want to consider including them in your diet. Most mornings add 7 to 10 almonds to breakfast. Almonds are tasty and nutritious as most people will agree.

Almonds protects artery walls from damage.
It was found that the flavonoids in almond skins work in synergy with the vitamin E, thus reducing the risk of heart disease (Research at Tufts University).

Almonds help build strong bones and teeth.
The phosphorus in almonds helps make this possible.

Almonds 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. 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.

Almonds lower the rise in blood sugar and insulin after meals.

Almonds are a good brain food.
Almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, nutrients that boost brain activity and may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Almonds nourish the nervous system.
According to Ayurveda, almonds help increase high intellectual level and longevity.

Almonds alkalize the body.
Almonds are the only nut and one of the few proteins that are alkaline forming. When your body is not alkaline enough, you risk osteoporosis, poor immune function, low energy and weight gain.

Interesting facts about Almonds

Almonds are actually stone fruits related to cherries, plums and peaches.
2.51 million tons of almonds were produced in 2010 according to Food and Agriculture Organization.
United States is the largest producer of almonds.
From ancient Egypt to modern times, almonds have always been a popular ingredient in lotions and potions.

Almonds are considered to be one of the earliest domesticated tree nuts, and one of the most prized snacks in the world. Packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals, it is easy to see why the almond is present on almost every continent and the health benefits of this little nut have long been touted by experts.

The almond contains about 26 percent carbohydrates, 12 percent of which are dietary fiber. About 20 percent of a raw almond is made up of high-quality protein, containing essential amino acids.

An ounce of almonds, which equates to about 25 almonds, contains 12 percent of our necessary daily protein. They are a rich source of vitamin E, B vitamins, essential minerals – like calcium, magnesium and potassium – and healthy fat. Lets take a look at how these vitamins and minerals help us.

Vitamin E
Almonds are one of the best sources of alpha-tocopherol —the form of vitamin E that's best absorbed by your body. This is important to your muscles because it can help prevent free-radical damage after workouts or muscle strain and damage. The less free-radical damage, the faster your muscles can recover. The antioxidant benefit of vitamin E also helps defend against sun damage, and has been associated with good heart health. And almonds can be considered “brain food.” Healthy levels of vitamin E have been shown to prevent cognitive decline, boost alertness and preserve memory longer.

B Vitamins
Almonds contain about 17 percent of your daily intake of B2, which helps convert food to energy for the body. Because these vitamins are essential for energy production, they have a positive effect on athletic training, performance and strength. The B vitamins also contribute to healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver.

Monounsaturated Fat
This fat is dubbed the “healthy fat” because it helps decrease high levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol. By decreasing cholesterol, those who eat almonds can decrease their risk of heart disease and heart attack. This makes almonds a heart-healthy snack!

Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium
Almonds provide these minerals which are essential in promoting strong, healthy bones and preventing bone disease like osteoporosis.

A lot of the vitamins and minerals found in almonds work together, and that’s when we see the real benefits that have given almonds their great reputation.

One combination is vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium – together, these are essential to the production of testosterone, which is especially beneficial to men over the age of 30, who may experience a decline in levels of the hormone. And combining vitamins E, B and magnesium can bolster your immune system when you are sick or stressed.

Is there anything the almond can’t do? Despite almonds being nutritional powerhouses, they are relatively high in calories. For this reason, people trying to cut back on calories and lose weight often shy away from this snack. Research, however, has shown otherwise.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewing 31 studies about eating nuts, it was found that adults who incorporated nuts into their diets, and replaced other foods with them, lost more weight and reduced their waist sizes.

High-protein almonds are ideal for sating the appetite in a healthy way. They are rich in monounsaturated fats; much research now links this type of fat with a reduced risk of heart disease. These nuts are one of the richest sources of vitamin E, which seems to protect against UV light damage and Alzheimer's disease. By munching away on almonds you can top up on important minerals: manganese, which helps the body form strong bones and regulates blood sugar; and magnesium, which is essential for organ, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and regulating blood pressure.

Eat almonds with the skin on: it contains an impressive collection of flavonoids that act as antioxidants and enhance the effect of vitamin E that could be beneficial as we age.

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