Almonds are the edible seeds of Prunus dulcis, more commonly called the almond tree. They are native to the Middle East, but the US is now the world’s largest producer. We can always find almonds without shell in stores. They are sold either raw, lightly roasted or roasted (very dried and crunchy texture). They are also used to produce almond milk, oil, butter, flour or paste also known as marzipan.
They are highly nutritious and rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Almonds Deliver a Massive Amount of Nutrients
It is important to note that our body does not absorb 10–15% of almonds’ calories because some of the fat is inaccessible to our 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 that we get from almonds.
Almonds Are Loaded with Antioxidants
Antioxidants help protect against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in our 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.
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 our body, protecting our cells from oxidative damage. Almonds are among the world’s best sources of vitamin E, with just 1 ounce (about 28.3g) providing 37% of the recommended daily intake.
Almonds Can Assist with Blood Sugar Control
Nuts are low in carbs but high in healthy fats, protein and fiber. 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 recommended daily intake for magnesium is 310–420 mg. 56.6g of almonds provide almost half that amount.
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 deficiency in magnesium is strongly linked to high blood pressure regardless of whether we are overweight. If we do not meet the dietary recommendations for magnesium, adding almonds to our diet could have a huge impact.
Almonds May Lower Cholesterol Levels
High levels of LDL in our blood also known as “bad” cholesterol is a well-known risk factor for heart disease. Our diet can have major effects on LDL levels.
Almonds Prevent Harmful Oxidation of LDL Cholesterol
Almonds do more than just lower LDL levels in our blood. They also protect LDL from oxidation, which is a crucial step in the development of heart disease. Almond skin is rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which prevent oxidation of cholesterol. The effect may be even stronger when combined with other antioxidants such as vitamin E.
Eating Almonds Reduces Hunger, Lowering Our 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 us in eating fewer calories.
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