Though almonds are referred to as nuts, like cashews and walnuts, they are technically seeds (while other nuts are technically fruits). Native to Iran, almonds have been grown on trees for thousands of years. They can be eaten and prepared in a variety of ways to improve and diversify most diets. Almonds can be eaten raw or toasted, seasoned with salt or honey, added to cereals and oatmeals, and served whole or sliced. In addition to providing many health benefits, almonds are a great alternative for people with dietary restrictions.
Top 10 Potential Health Benefits Of Almonds 2023
- Good source of vitamin E
- Can regulate blood sugar
- Great for brain health
- Can balance hormones
- Can lower cholesterol
- May help with weight loss
- Can replace common allergens
- Great for gut health
- Improve skin
- Help bones and teeth
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Almonds?
Good Source of Vitamin E
Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E, one of the necessary fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants (others being Vitamins D, A, and K). It is difficult to get Vitamin E in adequate amounts from most foods. Antioxidants are necessary for protecting cells against oxidative stress and damage which can lead to disease. More Vitamin E lends itself to reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline.
Can Regulate Blood Sugar
In order to regulate blood sugar, food intake needs to be balanced with protein, fat, and fiber (not just carbs). Almonds have all these elements packed into their little shells. Not only that, but they contain high amounts of magnesium, which also works to control blood sugar levels. Snacking on almonds and adding them to meals are great for diabetics or anyone looking to manage their blood sugar and stay satiated.
Great For Brain Health
Due to the high amounts of Vitamin E, almonds are loaded with protective antioxidants that can limit cognitive impairment (it’s thought that oxidative damage can worsen as we age, especially without antioxidants like Vitamin E to fight the oxidation). Studies have shown that almonds may directly help to slow down neurological deterioration and improve memory.
Can Balance Hormones
Many hormones, particularly sex hormones, are made from fat and cholesterol, which means we need adequate sources of healthy fats in the diet to make and regulate hormones. Almonds are one of those sources. Almonds help to detox excess estrogen, which is essential for healthy menstruation, less pain during periods, and keeping other hormones in balance (estrogen dominance can throw other hormones out of whack). The magnesium in almonds also serves as a muscle relaxer, which can ease menstrual cramps.
Can Lower Cholesterol
Almonds have been shown to reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood. Additionally, almonds may lower triglycerides. When either is too high, it can pose a stronger risk for heart disease. On the flip side, almonds may help to increase and maintain “good” HDL cholesterol, while also reducing inflammation in artery walls, which can then lower the risk for clotting and heart attacks.
May Help With Weight Loss
Almonds have high amounts of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, especially in relation to their carbohydrate count. These macronutrients together work to balance blood sugar and increase satiety, leaving less room for cravings and snacking. Studies have suggested that eating a handful of almonds between breakfast and lunch can help ward off hunger for a significant amount of time.
Can Replace Common Allergens
Almonds are a great go-to for individuals who must avoid certain foods due to allergies or sensitivities. For example, almonds can be refined and crushed into powder form to make almond flour, most often used for gluten-free baking. Additionally, almonds can be milked, creating a dairy-free alternative to traditional cow’s milk. Almonds can also be crushed into butter form for almond butter, a peanut alternative for those with peanut allergies. All these can be purchased from most food stores (just be sure to get brands that don’t add sugar or other unnecessary ingredients).
Great For Gut Health
Gut health is heavily dependent on our gut microbiome – the beneficial bacteria inside our gastrointestinal tract. In order for the gut microbiome to be healthy, it needs a variety of foods to help different species of bacteria thrive, and almonds have been shown to increase Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus spp., two very important species. With an appropriate amount of these bacteria, gut health improves, along with immunity, metabolism, hormone regulation, and the growth of healthy tissues.
Glowing, young-looking skin needs antioxidants, particularly Vitamin E, which comes from almonds in abundance. In the case of skin health, consuming almonds, as well as applying almond oil topically, can help improve the look and feel of the skin. Vitamin E not only fights off free radicals on the skin, but it also is anti-inflammatory, which can reduce skin irritation and redness.
Help Bones and Teeth
We need certain nutrients to create and maintain the health of our bones and teeth, particularly calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Almonds are high in these nutrients and also help our body absorb other nutrients from different foods, which also work to preserve our bones and teeth. With stronger bones and teeth, there’s less risk of developing cavities, osteoporosis, breaking bones, or getting tooth discoloration.
Nutritional Value of Almonds
Almonds have a dense and diverse nutrient profile. Whereas some foods are known for their protein fat or vitamin content alone, raw almonds contain a wide range of macro and micro nutrients which make them a valuable addition to almost any healthy diet. One ounce of almonds (about 23 almonds) contains the following:
- 3.5 grams of fiber
- 6 grams of protein
- 2.5 grams of carbohydrates
- 14 grams of fat
- 37% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin E
- 32% of the recommended daily intake of manganese
- 20% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium
- Vitamin B2, copper, and phosphorus
- 161 calories
Each vitamin and mineral in almonds plays its part in human health, however, there are some worth calling out. Manganese, for example, is excellent for bone and dental health. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound great for cognition and skin health. Almonds also contain biotin (vitamin B), which is essential for food metabolism. The copper in almonds helps with energy production and maintaining healthy tissue. And when we think of protein, we often think of meat, eggs, and fish, however, almonds are packed with protein (an excellent source for meat eaters and vegans alike). Just a quarter cup of almonds provides 10% of the daily recommended allowance of protein. Protein is needed for muscles, energy, hormone balance, and overall longevity.
How To Add Almonds To Your Diet?
Almonds can be eaten in their purest, raw form by the handful. It can also be toasted by baking them in the oven or heating them on the stove in a pan for just a few minutes. Almonds can be cut, sliced, and added to any dish, salad, baked goods, or cereal.
While almond consumption is extremely healthy, they do contain high amounts of phytic acid, an anti-nutrient – a natural chemical that prevents bugs from eating them. The phytic acid can bind to some of the vitamins and minerals in the almonds, which then prevents them from being absorbed into the body. In order to remove some of the phytic acids, it’s recommended to soak the almonds for at least a few hours before consuming them (the same is true for other nuts, seeds, grains, and beans).
Almonds can also be consumed in their various “processed” forms:
- Almond flour for baking, pancakes, etc.
- Almond milk for cereal, oatmeal, drinks, smoothies, etc.
- Almond butter for sandwiches, toast, etc.
- Almond oil for cooking and seasoning, etc. (almond oil can also be applied topically)
Almonds are a rare food that contains high levels of vitamins, minerals, and the macronutrient combination of healthy fats, carbohydrates, and protein, as well as dietary fiber. Almonds can be refined into flour, crushed into almond butter, or milked to make non-dairy milk. It has numerous health benefits that include hormone balance, body weight loss, improved cognition, better heart health, and blood sugar balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Almonds are a great alternative to peanuts, however, it’s important that you confirm with an allergist that you are not allergic to almonds either. Many people with peanut allergies are also allergic to other nuts, so just double-check with your doctor.
They can be for many people, however, nuts can be problematic for some individuals with autoimmune conditions and/or gut imbalances. They are not recommended as part of certain autoimmune protocol diets. Listen to your body and see how you feel when you include or exclude almonds from your diet.
Yes, you can snack on almonds a few times a day, however, it’s not recommended to eat more than one ounce (23 almonds) a day, unless otherwise instructed by a doctor.
+ 6 Sources
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