1. Almonds Are a Fantastic Source of Nutrients
The almond (Prunus dulcis) provides a wide range of nutrients, and many of these nutrients are hard to get in sufficient amounts if you follow the standard American diet.
For instance, one ounce of almonds contains 19% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of magnesium, a mineral in which at least half of Americans are deficient. That makes this nut one of the world’s best sources of magnesium.
Magnesium helps muscles relax, stabilizes heart rate, works to keep bones strong, supports healthy DNA and RNA replication, and is required for the body to produce its most powerful antioxidant, glutathione.
Here’s the nutritional value per ounce (28 grams) of almonds, which represents about 23 whole kernels:
- Calories: 164
- Fat: 14.2 grams
- Carb: 6.1 grams
Fiber: 3.5 grams
- Protein: 6 grams
- Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI
- Manganese: 32% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 19% of the RDI
- Riboflavin 17% of the RDI
In addition to these nutrients, almonds also contain decent amounts of copper, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and niacin. Plus, almonds supply you with beneficial fats like heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.
2. Almonds Can Help You Lose Weight
If you want to rid your body of excess pounds, enrich your diet with almonds. While this may sound counterproductive because almonds are calorie-dense, the nut truly boosts weight loss.
For example, one study found that a low-calorie diet enriched with three ounces (84 grams or about 70) of almonds a day caused 62% more weight loss than a similar diet supplemented with complex carbs.
Plus, another study involving 100 overweight women found that those who ate almonds lost much more weight than those who followed a nut-free diet.
3. Almonds Are Excellent at Curbing Hunger
Why do almonds help you lose weight? One reason is that they’re highly satiating. That’s because almonds contain a lot of protein, fat and fiber, all of which are effective at curbing hunger.
As a result, consuming almonds tends to reduce total food and calorie intake automatically, and that’s what makes this nut weight-loss-friendly.
Need some evidence? One study with 137 participants found that consuming about 30 individual almonds a day does not increase total calorie intake.
Because of that, Dr. Richard Mattes, the study’s lead author, concluded: “almonds may be a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight.”
4. Almonds Can Help You Maintain Healthy Body Weight
Since almonds are excellent at curbing hunger, they not only help you lose weight but also prevent you from regaining lost pounds.
Several large observational studies show that nut consumption − including almonds − is associated with lower body weight and a reduced risk of weight gain.[4-5]
5. Almonds Benefit Heart Health by Reducing LDL Cholesterol Levels
Plaque build-up in arteries is a common cause of heart disease, the leading cause of death among men and women worldwide. Plaque is primarily made up of the “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Fortunately, the almond can protect your cardiovascular system from the harmful effects of LDL cholesterol because of the following two reasons:
- Almonds lower LDL levels. Because the almond is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, this nut is effective at reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
- Almonds prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. That’s because almond skin is rich in polyphenols, a group of chemicals that reduce oxidation in both animal and test-tube studies.
6. Almonds Reduce Blood Pressure
According to the American Osteopathic Association, up to 50% of Americans are magnesium-deficient. That’s problematic for a few reasons; for example, low magnesium levels are associated with high blood pressure.
High blood pressure, in turn, can result in all kinds of adverse consequences. Think strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure.
The good news? Almonds are one of the world’s most abundant sources of magnesium. Just one ounce of the nut contains 19% of the dietary reference intake (DRI) of this mineral. That’s why consuming almonds can benefit your blood pressure level.
7. Almonds Are an Excellent Source of Vitamin E
Almonds are a vitamin E superstar. Just one ounce of almonds supplies you with 37% of vitamin E’s recommended daily intake, which makes this nut the world’s second best food source for this vitamin! (Sunflower seeds sport the first place.)
Vitamin E supports your health in many ways, such as by protecting your body from free radical damage. That’s why almonds could potentially reduce your risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer.
8. Almonds Help Your Body Control Blood Sugar Levels
Since almonds score low in carbs but rank high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, they’re an excellent snack choice for diabetics. That’s especially true if they eat almonds instead of higher-carb, unhealthy snacks like potato chips.
Besides, almonds are one of the best sources of magnesium, a mineral 25% to 38% of people with type 2 diabetes are deficient in.
Correcting such a deficiency can improve insulin function and lower blood sugar levels. In other words, type 2 diabetics can improve their condition by consuming almonds.
9. Almonds Are an Excellent Snack
Almonds are a convenient and healthy snack. They’re easy to pack, don’t require preparation, and supply you with a wide range of beneficial nutrients that support both your health and figure.
So, instead of reaching for a Kit-Kat or that sad, squishy banana at the bottom of your bag, fuel your body with a handful of almonds.
And if truly want to take your snacking habits to the next level, eat your serving of almonds instead of an unhealthy snack like potato chips. Then, you’ll not only benefit from the nutrients in almonds, but you’ll also be free of the harmful compounds found in processed snacks.
Oh, and when you buy your almonds, make sure the product is free of additives. So avoid those with added sugars, vegetable oils and preservatives. The ingredient list should be simple and only contain a few items. (Salt in the form of pink Himalayan salt is fine.)
10. Nuts, Including Almonds, Reduce Your Risk of an Early Death
Yes, that’s right. Consuming nuts such as almonds may help you live longer. Here’s what researchers found when they evaluated data on 118,962 participants involved in two large, independent cohort studies:
- The more often people ate nuts (including almonds), the less likely they were to suffer an early death.
- People who ate nuts every day over a 30-year study period were 20% less likely to die an early death than those who avoided nuts.
And here’s what the researchers of the study concluded: “[There is] strong evidence to demonstrate that regular nut consumption is associated with significantly lower risk of all-cause mortality as well as deaths due to cancers, heart disease and respiratory disease.”
In other words, if you want to reduce your risk of chronic disease and possibly live longer, upgrade your diet with nuts such as the almond.
1. Wien, M. A., Sabate, J. M., Ikle, D. N., Cole, S. E., & Kandeel, F. R. (2003). Almonds vs complex carbohydrates in a weight reduction program. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 27(11), 1365-72.
2. Abazarfard, Z., Salehi, M., & Keshavarzi, S. (2014). The effect of almonds on anthropometric measurements and lipid profile in overweight and obese females in a weight reduction program: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Archive Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 19(5), 457-64.
3. Inness, E. (2013, October 25). The savvy snacker’s secret? Eating 30 almonds a day reduces hunger pangs and doesn’t cause weight gain. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2476628/Always-hungry-Eating-30-almonds-day-reduces-hunger-pangs-doesnt-cause-weight-gain.html
4. Hu, F. B., Stampfer, M. J., Manson, J. E., Rimm, E. B., Colditz, G. A., Rosner, B. A., . . . Willett, W. C. (1998). Frequent nut consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in women: Prospective cohort study. BMJ, 317(7169), 1341-5.
5. Mozaffarian, D., Hao, T., Rimm, E. B., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2011). Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. The New England Journal of Medicine, 364(25), 2392-404.
6. Jenkins, D. J., Kendall, C. W., Marchie, A., Parker, T. L., Connelly, P. W., Qian, W., . . . Spiller, G. A. (2002). Dose response of almonds on coronary heart disease risk factors: Blood lipids, oxidized low-density lipoproteins, lipoprotein(a), homocysteine, and pulmonary nitric oxide: A randomized, controlled, crossover trial. Circulation, 106(11), 1327-32.
7. De Lordes Lima, M., Cruz, T., Pousada, J. C., Rodrigues, L. E., Barbosa, K., & Cangucu, V. (1998). The effect of magnesium supplementation in increasing doses on the control of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 21(5), 682-6.
8. Bao, Y., Hu, F. B., & Giovannucci, E. L. (2013). Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality. The New England Journal of Medicine, 369, 2001-2011.
Natalie Butler, RDN, LD
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