What are almonds good for?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “What are almonds good for?” and will discuss some health benefits of almonds.

What are almonds good for?

Almonds are a good source of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and vitamins E and magnesium. An almond’s health advantages include lower blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. They may also help people lose weight by decreasing their desire to overeat.

What kind of nuts are almonds?

Unlike others in its botanical family, such as peach, apricot and plum, where the flesh (mesocarp) of the fruit is eaten and the seed within its shell, or stone (endocarp) is discarded, the reverse is true for the almond early in its maturation cycle, for a period of a few weeks, the entire fruit (seed, endocarp and mesocarp) can be, and is, eaten, in several parts of the world. As the maturation cycle continues, the hull splits open. When dry, it may be readily separated from the shell. The almond pit, containing a kernel or edible seed, is the nut of commerce, the endocarp (shell), and mesocarp are separated for low value uses, such as cat litter and animal feed (1). 

However, while almonds are generally referred to as nuts, they are the edible, teardrop-shaped seeds of the almond tree. In either case, the brown skin of the almond is removed with hot water, leaving a smooth white inside. Blanched almonds may be purchased either way.

Almonds’ nutritional profile

Almonds are a rich source of several minerals as well as vitamins like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin E. The health benefits of almonds can be attributed to their healthy fatty acid composition, high vitamin E and fiber content, as well as other nutrients (2). Almonds in a 30g dish include the following:

·         184Kcal / 760KJ

·         6.3g Protein

·         16.7g Fat

·         11.5g Mono-unsaturated fat

·         72mg Calcium

·         81mg Magnesium

·         7.19mg Vitamin E

·         14mcg Folate

In a high-fat meal, almonds contain monounsaturated, or “good” cholesterol, which protects the heart by keeping levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind) in balance with low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol.

Antioxidants are abundant in Almonds.

Antioxidants are compounds that can delay or inhibit the oxidation of lipids or other molecules by inhibiting the initiation or propagation of oxidizing chain reactions. Adding almonds to your diet is an excellent way to increase your intake of antioxidants. Taking antioxidants may help protect against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in your cells and lead to the development of inflammation, aging, and illnesses like cancer. Antioxidants present in food provide protection against oxidative attack by intercepting singlet oxygen, decreasing the oxygen concentration, preventing first-chain initiation by scavenging initial radicals, binding metal ion catalysts, decomposing primary products of oxidation to non-radical compounds, and chain-breaking substances to prevent continuous hydrogen abstraction from substrates (1). Taking antioxidants

Most of the almond’s potent antioxidants are found in the brown outer layer of the nut’s rind. As a result, blanched almonds—those that have had their skins removed—are not the healthiest option.

Vitamin E is found in high concentrations in almonds.

A family of fat-soluble antioxidants, Vitamin E is one of them. These antioxidants tend to accumulate in your body’s cell membranes, protecting your cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E acts by preventing oxidation of LDL, thus vitamin E is an important antioxidant component of the diet (2). 

Few foods provide as much vitamin E like almonds, with just one serving delivering 37% of the RDI. Vitamin E has been associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease in several studies. According to studies, vitamin E seems to have more precise antioxidant activities in neurodegeneration due to vitamin E – gene interactions in age-related diseases such as neurodegeneration, which can explain the various factors involved in the beneficial effect of vitamin E on Alzheimer’s Disease (3).

Benefits: Top 5 Almond health advantages

Weight loss with almonds

Prospective studies on nut consumption on a regular basis have shown reduction in the risk of heart disease as well as mortality in cohort studies. In a large systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease study, low consumption of nuts and seeds as risk factors for cardiovascular and circulatory diseases was observed (2).

Consuming 55g of nuts a day as part of a balanced diet reduces the risk of heart disease as well as weight gain, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. A 2013 research found that almonds, when eaten as a snack, alleviate appetite and do not raise the risk of weight gain when taken in moderation. In summary, consumption of 43 g of almonds modulated postprandial glycemia and suppressed hunger and desire to eat sensations especially after being consumed as snacks. Over a 4-week period, almond consumption helped meet recommended dietary intake of vitamin E and did not affect body weight (4). So why do we struggle to digest as much as 10% of the calories in nuts? Because they contain nutrients that we can’t get our hands-on.

Almonds reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

Almonds are a good source of unsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols, magnesium, vitamin E, copper, and manganese, all of which contribute to heart health. For overweight people, almonds may lessen the risk of heart disease., according to two separate studies published between 2012 and 2014. In addition to lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, increasing HDL levels, almond intake may also lessen the risk of heart disease (2).

Almonds help to regulate blood sugar levels.

The inclusion of almonds in a well-balanced diet showed positive effects on blood sugar levels as well as cardiovascular risk factors, according to Indian research conducted in 2017. This effect was due to an intake of whole almonds, which adds protein, total dietary fiber, mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and potassium to the diet, improving its quality, without increasing energy intake (5).

 Including almonds in a healthy diet may be good for persons with diabetes. To be safe, always be with your doctor before making dietary changes, particularly if you are using prescription medication.

In addition, almonds are a good source of magnesium, which is believed to help regulate blood sugar.

Almonds could be beneficial to the brain

Vitamin E, folate, and unsaturated fatty acids abound in almonds, as does the neuroprotective amino acid l-carnitine, making them an excellent source of these nutrients. Other micronutrients and phytochemicals of almonds are also related to brain-protective activity and the potential of reversing brain atrophy (3). However, animal research suggests that almond eating may improve memory; more human trials are needed to confirm this hypothesis in humans.

Almonds helps to improve intestinal health

It seems that eating almonds may be beneficial to one’s digestive system. Almonds contain 12.5 g of fibers per 100 g serving. Fibers are essential for a healthy gut microbiota, they have hypolipidemic activity and improve the intestinal function (1).

Is eating almonds safe for all?

Almonds should be avoided by anybody allergic to tree nuts. If you have an allergic response, you should consult your primary care physician right away. Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening response, should be treated as a medical emergency, and anybody experiencing it should seek urgent medical attention.

Whole nuts provide a choking hazard to youngsters, the elderly, and others who have difficulty swallowing. In addition, high oxalate content in nuts is believed to be one of contributing factors for kidney stone formation, but is related to excessive almond consumption (3).

Other FAQs about Almond  that you may be interested in.

What happens if you eat expired almonds?

Can you eat almonds raw?

Are almonds safe to eat raw?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “What are almonds good for?” and discussed some health benefits of almonds.

References

(1)  Esfahlan, Ali Jahanban, Rashid Jamei, and Rana Jahanban Esfahlan. The importance of almond (Prunus amygdalus L.) and its by-products. Food chem, 2010, 120, 349-360. 

(2) Kalita, Soumik, et al. Almonds and cardiovascular health: A review. Nutrients, 2018, 10, 468.

(3) Gorji, Narjes, Reihaneh Moeini, and Zahra Memariani. Almond, hazelnut and walnut, three nuts for neuroprotection in Alzheimer’s disease: A neuropharmacological review of their bioactive constituents. Pharmacol res, 2018, 129, 115-127.

(4) Tan, Sze Yen, and R. D. Mattes. Appetitive, dietary and health effects of almonds consumed with meals or as snacks: a randomized, controlled trial. Euro j clin nutr, 2013, 67, 1205-1214.

(5) Gulati, Seema, Anoop Misra, and Ravindra M. Pandey. Effect of almond supplementation on Glycemia and cardiovascular risk factors in Asian Indians in North India with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a 24–week study. Metab syndr rel dis, 2017, 15, 98-105.

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.