The almonds that people consume in most parts of the world are so high in their nutritional value that they are also mentioned in The Book of Genesis, the first book of The Bible as ‘precious food items’ given to people as gifts. Even though their ancestry is not accurately deciphered, their origins are believed to be in Central Asia and China. But, some people also believe that almonds thrived in the Mediterranean region a long time ago and are therefore, native to this region. Today, the US is the largest producer of almonds and countries like Germany, Netherlands and Japan are the largest importers of almonds. The health benefits of almonds may be the cause of a high demand in almonds, so it is not surprising to see this small edible seed from the almond tree (Prunus dulcis) in a variety of forms.
Why are Almonds Healthy?
Almonds are rich in a variety of nutrients. There are many health benefits of almonds, which is why people all over the world consume them in massive quantities. Not only are almonds delicious, but healthy too!
Almonds Health Benefits:
- Rich in monounsaturated fat: It is true that almonds are fat-rich, but the fat it contains is ‘monounsaturated’ which doesn’t cause obesity. Instead, it reduces the risk of heart diseases. This has been proved in several studies. For instance, a study published by the British Journal of Nutrition suggested that including almonds in your diet not only helps to lower the risks of heart diseases, but also prevents weight gain.
- Rich in antioxidants: Antioxidants are essential compounds which prevent oxidation and therefore, slow down or completely prevent cell damage. They can either be naturally present in your body or can be artificially manufactured in order to be added to food items. Packaged food items like chips, soft drinks, sausages, jams, etc. are prone to oxidation and damage. Therefore, antioxidants are added to these items to prevent them from getting spoiled easily. In our body, intake of antioxidants helps to prevent certain types of body cells from potential damage caused by free radicals. The accumulation of free radicals in the body can severely harm the DNA and may also cause diseases like diabetes (type 2), heart attack, etc. Since almonds contain antioxidants, they are widely preferred as nutritious edible items.
- Decreases hunger, helps you eat less: Are you one of those people who is trying really hard to lose weight? Are you ardently seeking foods which can help you lose weight? If yes, then almonds are something you should include in your daily routine. Almonds are overloaded with protein and fiber content. It is a quite well-known fact that proteins and fiber together aid in making you feel full. It is due to this idea of fullness that people don’t feel like consuming more calories since they feel they have eaten adequately. Eating small quantities of almonds on a daily basis can greatly help individuals lose weight. So, instead of trying diet drinks and tricks, grab a small bowl full of almonds and see the change. An experimental study with a sample size of 137 participants revealed how a daily consumption of as little as 43grams of almonds successfully lowered the desire to eat more.
Are almonds good for skin?
Everybody wants glowing skin that shows little signs of aging. People are aware of the fact that aging is a natural phenomenon which has to take place at some point, but what they don’t know is that even though you can’t prevent the process of aging, you can surely slow it down with certain types of foods. Glowy skin is another health benefit of almonds.
An essential nutrient which is present in almonds is Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an effective remedy that slows down the process of aging. It helps in the skin nourishment process and can prove very fruitful to people who want flawless and young skin. So put aside all your beauty creams and try out a healthier way of living longer.
Do almonds aid in the process of memory enhancement?
Since childhood, you may have heard the advice to eat almonds and make your brain sharp. Is it really true? Is there any evidence for it? Many health practitioners put forth the idea that consuming 8-10 almonds a day enhances the production of ‘ACh Acetylcholine’. It is basically a neurotransmitter which improves memory. This neurotransmitter also helps in combating diseases like Alzheimer’s, which are primarily associated with memory function.
In addition to this, almonds are also believed to have Vitamin B6, a vitamin which boosts the production of proteins. This increase in the availability of proteins helps in the repair of brain cells thereby boosting memory. Therefore, the proteins in almonds are important. Almonds also contain a small quantity of zinc, which effectively improves the immune system. An improved immune system can prevent any potential infections that may damage brain cells.
Can almonds actually prolong your life?
In a world where novel diseases are being discovered and mortality rates are increasing, some people wish to prolong their life. Interestingly, if one wants to prolong one’s life, one can do so by consuming any kind of nut, not just almonds. This has been proven in several studies.
A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine suggests the correlation between eating nuts on a regular basis and longevity of life. It further states that consuming almonds on a daily basis was more effective than consuming them sometimes. Similarly, in a 10-year long study conducted by the researchers of Maastricht University suggested that individuals who ate 10g of nuts per day showed a 23% less chance of dying early than people who didn’t consume them or consumed them only occasionally.
Do almonds have a lot of calories?
People who wish to reduce their calorie intake through almonds may associate high calories with almonds. Almonds contain less calories than other nuts, falling in line calorically with peanuts. Both peanuts and almonds are low in calorie content and are therefore, good for health. But, when they are compared to nuts like walnuts, one realizes that walnuts have more calories than almonds.
Can almonds improve dental and bone health?
Once a child gets a cavity, he learns about the consequences of eating too many chocolates, of not brushing twice a day and of not taking care of his teeth. Similarly, when an elderly person starts experiencing minor bone accidents occurring due to bone fragility, the person regrets not consuming enough essential nutrients for strengthening bones. Everybody learns from the past, and so should we.
You might not want to get trapped in the same scenarios and therefore, it is important that you start including almonds in your diet today. Almonds contain two essential minerals: phosphorus and magnesium. Both these minerals help in keeping bones strong and healthy. They also strengthen teeth.
Try a Variety of Almond Products
You might be surprised to find an exceptional variety of almonds available in the marketplace. Not only will you be able to see almonds as raw, but also blanched. Even the process of roasting may vary. They may be dry-roasted or sometimes, even oil-roasted.
Today, people have tried to convert almonds into an amazing variety of forms. People are becoming more and more creative with food items and newer forms of these food items are becoming available in stores. Just like cashews, almonds are also available as plain or sometimes, salted. New flavors of almonds are also available now, such as chocolate flavored almonds, chili almonds, etc. Some other forms of almonds include:
- Almond Butter: Dairy products like butter, milk, etc. serve as basic food items which are not only necessary, but also appetizing. What about people who love to consume peanut butter but suffer from a peanut allergy? Well, in that case, almond butter can serve as an alternative since it is similar to peanut butter in most aspects including consistency.
- Almond Milk: The world is not a perfect place. Everybody has different ideas, perceptions and tastes. Isn’t it fair to have equally appetizing food for all kinds of people? People who are non-vegetarians and vegetarians can conveniently be happy with dairy-milk since they don’t have a problem with consuming milk coming from an animal. But almond milk is the safest option for vegans, since it is a plant product. Additionally, it is low in both lactose and cholesterol content which makes it extremely suitable for people who want to decrease cholesterol or those who are lactose-intolerant.
- Almond Flour: How does one even prepare almond flour? Almond flour is superior in quality to wheat flour because it has very low carbohydrate content. However, even though it is richer in essential nutrients, it is unfortunately higher in fat content than wheat flour. It also contains a lot more calories, which most people run away from.
- Almond Oil: Almond oil is quite effective for skin care as it contains Vitamin E. It has the potential to heal skin irritation. Almond oil is also an important remedy to reduce or cure acne. Massaging twice or thrice a week can give amazing results.
Conclusion: Are Almonds good for you?
After going through so many health benefits of almonds, it is quite clear that indeed, they are good for you.
Even though almonds contain an immense amount of nutrients and can help fight against various diseases, they also need to be consumed in the right form depending on your taste, nutrient requirements, etc. However, the best thing is that they can always serve as an alternative to chips, coke, pizzas, pastas, and so on. Happy snacking!