Almonds are among the world’s most famous tree nuts.
They are highly nutritious and rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Here are nine health benefits of almonds.
- Almonds deliver a massive amount of nutrients.
- Almonds are the edible seeds of Prunus dulcis, more commonly called the almond tree.
- They are also used to produce almond milk, oil, butter, flour or paste — also known as marzipan.
- Almonds boast an impressive nutrient profile. Almonds contain
Fiber: 3.5 grams
Protein: 6 grams
Fat: 14 grams (9 of which are monounsaturated)
Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI
Manganese: 32% of the RDI
Magnesium: 20% of the RDI
They also contain a decent amount of copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus. However, this is all from a small handful, which supplies only 161 calories and 2.5 grams of digestible carbohydrates.
It is important to note that your body does not absorb 10–15% of its calories because some fat is inaccessible to digestive enzymes.
Almonds are also high in phytic acid, a substance that binds certain minerals and prevents them from being absorbed. While phytic acid is generally considered a healthy antioxidant, it also slightly reduces the amount of iron, zinc and calcium you get from almonds.
Almonds are prevalent tree nuts. This is because almonds are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, protein and various essential nutrients.
- Almonds are loaded with antioxidants.
- Almonds are a fantastic source of antioxidants.
- Antioxidants help protect against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in your cells and contribute to inflammation, 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 — those with skin removed — are not the best choice from a health perspective.
- A clinical trial in 60 male smokers found that about 3 ounces (84 grams) of almonds per day reduced oxidative stress biomarkers by 23–34% over four weeks.
- These findings support those of another study that found that eating almonds with main meals reduced some markers of oxidative damage.
- Almonds are high in antioxidants that can protect your cells from oxidative damage, a significant contributor to ageing and disease.
- Almonds Are 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. Almonds are among the world’s best sources of vitamin E, with just 1 ounce providing 37% of the RDI.
- Several studies have linked higher vitamin E intake with lower heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Almonds are among the world’s best sources of vitamin E. Getting plenty of vitamin E from foods is linked to numerous health benefits. For example, almonds can assist with Blood Sugar Control.
- This makes them a perfect choice for people with diabetes.
Another boon of almonds is their remarkably high amount of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral involved in more than 300 bodily processes, including blood sugar control.
The current RDI for magnesium is 310–420 mg. 2 ounces of almonds provide almost half that amount — 150 mg of this vital mineral.
Interestingly, 25–38% of people with type 2 diabetes are deficient in magnesium. Correcting this deficiency significantly lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin function.
People without diabetes also see significant 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 major health problems. Almonds are incredibly high in magnesium, a mineral that many people don’t get enough of. High magnesium intake may offer significant improvements for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Magnesium Also Benefits Blood Pressure Levels:
The magnesium in almonds may additionally help lower blood pressure levels. High blood pressure is one of the leading drivers of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. A magnesium deficiency is strongly linked to high blood pressure regardless of whether you are overweight.
Studies show that correcting a magnesium deficiency can lead to significant reductions in blood pressure. If you do not meet the dietary recommendations for magnesium, adding almonds to your diet could significantly impact you. Low magnesium levels are strongly linked to high blood pressure, indicating that almonds can help control blood pressure.
Almonds Can Lower Cholesterol Levels:
High levels of LDL lipoproteins in your blood — also known as “bad” cholesterol — is a well-known risk factor for heart disease. Your diet can have significant effects on LDL levels. For example, some studies have shown almonds to lower LDL effectively.
A 16-week study in 65 people with prediabetes 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. Participants also lost belly fat.
Eating one or two handfuls of almonds per day can lead to mild reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease.
Almonds Prevent Harmful Oxidation of LDL Cholesterol Almonds do more than just lower LDL levels in your blood. They also protect LDL from oxidation, which is a crucial step in the development of heart disease. In addition, Almond skin is rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which prevent oxidation of cholesterol in test tubes and animal studies.
The effect may be even more substantial when combined with other antioxidants such as vitamin E. For example, one human study showed that snacking on almonds for one month lowered oxidized LDL cholesterol levels by 14%.
This should lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over time.
“Bad” LDL cholesterol can become oxidized, which is crucial in developing heart disease. Snacking on almonds has been shown to reduce oxidized LDL significantly.
Eating Almonds Reduces Hunger, Lowering Your Overall Calorie Intake 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.
One four-week study in 137 participants showed that a daily 1.5-ounce (43-gram) serving of almonds significantly reduced hunger and the desire to eat.
Numerous other studies support the hunger-fighting effects of nuts.
While nuts are low in carbs, they are high in protein and fiber. Studies show that eating almonds and other nuts can increase fullness and help you eat fewer calories.
Almonds are Effective for Weight Loss:
Nuts contain several nutrients that your body struggles to break down and digest.
Your body does not absorb about 10–15% of the calories in nuts. Additionally, some evidence suggests that eating nuts can boost metabolism slightly. Finally, nuts are a great addition to an effective weight loss diet due to their satiating properties.
Quality human research supports this.
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.
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.
Though almonds are high in calories, eating them doesn’t seem to promote weight gain. Some studies even suggest the opposite, showing that almonds can enhance weight loss.
The bottom line
Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss. Almonds are as close to perfect as a food can get.