If you think healthy food items are unappetizing and stay away from them for this single reason, well, think again. Do you like the idea of munching on tasty nuts? Try almonds. They taste good, and the many health benefits of almonds also make them ideal for inclusion in your daily diet plan.
Almonds are technically not nuts, but the seeds of the almond tree that are contained within the fruits. They are native to the Middle-East and are considered to be among the earliest domesticated nuts. The taste, flavor, and the health benefits of almonds have motivated humans to cultivate them through centuries.
Wild almonds are bitter in taste, and are deadly, as their kernels produce prussic acid (cyanide) when chewed or crushed. It is believed that humans, through a gradual process of selection and elimination, managed to identify the sweet variety which is non-toxic and is now cultivated in many parts of the world.
Almonds provide many health benefits. They help in regulating blood sugar levels, they lower bad cholesterol (LDL), reduce food cravings and aid in weight loss, boost energy levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease. They are also good brain food.
The Five Main Health Benefits of Almonds
Almonds are rich in nutrients and are beneficial in many ways. Either taken as food or used in other forms such as almond oil (which is used for skin massages), almonds help improve your health and keep you looking good. Here are some of the key health benefits of including almonds in your diet.
Almonds Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease
Almonds contain fats, but they are monounsaturated fats that are beneficent and lower the risk of heart disease.
Studies like The Nurses Health Study and The Physicians Health Study have revealed a link between the consumption of nuts and a reduction in the risk of heart disease.
Almonds are a good source of Vitamin E, which is a good antioxidant, and the monounsaturated fats in almonds also aid in reducing the risks of heart disease. They increase the production of HDL, which is good cholesterol, while reducing LDL levels, which is bad cholesterol.
Besides this, the magnesium contained in almonds reduces occurrences of blocks in blood vessels and promotes smooth blood circulation.
Almonds Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
One research study on a group of fifteen healthy people tested different meals and their effects on the subjects. The members were given five different meals – three test meals and two control meals. Blood samples were taken from the subjects before the meals and four hours after the meals.
One of the test meals consisted of almonds. It was found that there was an increase in the level of antioxidants and a decrease in blood sugar levels after the almond meal.
This study helped in showcasing a key health benefit – the role of almonds in maintaining blood sugar levels. Excessive blood sugar can cause diabetes, a chronic disease that systematically impairs the organs that are vital for human survival.
Almonds Help Prevent Birth Defects
Folic acid is a B-Vitamin that helps in the growth of cells and ensures the healthy growth of the fetus. Taking folic acid tablets during the early stages of pregnancy has been found to be effective in reducing the chances of the baby being born with a serious neural tube disease.
Almonds are a good source of folic acid, and a more tasty package for the vitamin than tablets.
Almonds Are Good For The Skin
Almonds contain antioxidants that prevent damage to cells, including skin cells. Antioxidants play an important role in eliminating toxins from the body.
Almonds are also rich in Vitamin E, which is a skin nourishing vitamin.
Almonds Increase Brain Power
Consuming almonds boosts brain power and reduces the risks of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Almonds contain phenylalanine, which helps prevent Parkinson’s and also increases the production of brain chemicals such as Dopamine and Adrenaline. These chemicals, also called neurotransmitters, are vital for attention and memory, and improving your problem solving skills.
Other Health Benefits Of Almonds
The magnesium content in almonds, the monounsaturated fats, and other nutrients help in preventing the buildup of plaque along the blood vessels. They aid in smooth blood circulation, control blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart attacks.
The rich nutrient content in almonds makes them good substitutes that can satisfy hunger pangs and regulate food cravings. The copper, manganese, and riboflavin content in almonds aids in energy production, so a few almonds can give you a good energy boost, especially while exercising.
Almond are rich in fibre, and fibrous food items promote the easy passage of food through the digestive system and help prevent constipation. Another important fact is that such fibrous foods reduce the risk of colon cancer in people.
Almonds are tasty, and can be consumed in many different ways – raw or blanched, roasted or ground, and even as a flour. They can be used in sweets and savouries, and can be used to prepare desserts too. Almond oil can be used to add flavor to meals or (externally) nourish the skin.
Versatile and delicious, almonds are one of the best nuts that you can enjoy eating. The health benefits of almonds also make them a great choice as a dietary option that can keep you fit.