The fantastic and sweet benefits of almonds for your health
- Monounsaturated fats: Almonds are a good source of monounsaturated fats, which are a type of healthy fat that has been linked to reduced risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fats may help lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can contribute to the build-up of plaque in the arteries.
- Vitamin E: Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to protect cells from oxidative stress. Vitamin E has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to prevent the formation of blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
- Other antioxidants: In addition to vitamin E, almonds contain a range of other antioxidants that may help to protect the heart. For example, almonds are a good source of flavonoids, which are plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects and may help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Blood pressure control: The high levels of potassium in almonds may help to lower blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
- Fiber: Almonds are a good source of dietary fiber, with 3 grams per ounce. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not digestible, meaning it passes through the body largely unchanged. This can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied, which may help to reduce the risk of overeating and facilitate weight loss.
- Protein: Almonds are also a good source of protein, with 6 grams per ounce. Protein is an important nutrient that helps to build and repair tissues and can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied. High-protein foods have been shown to reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness, which may help with weight management.
- Portion control: Because almonds are high in calories, it is important to pay attention to portion sizes. Eating a handful (about 1 ounce) of almonds as a snack or adding a small amount to meals can be a healthy way to incorporate them into the diet, without overconsuming calories.
- Vitamin E: As mentioned previously, almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to protect cells from oxidative stress. Some research suggests that vitamin E may help to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
- Other nutrients: Almonds are also a good source of several other nutrients that may support brain health, including magnesium and riboflavin (vitamin B2). Magnesium is involved in numerous physiological processes in the body, including the regulation of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit signals in the brain. Riboflavin is involved in the metabolism of energy in the body and may help to reduce the risk of migraines, which have been linked to cognitive decline.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Almonds contain a range of plant compounds, including flavonoids, that have anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation has been linked to a range of health conditions, including cognitive decline. By reducing inflammation, almonds may help to protect brain health.
Blood sugar management
- Fiber: Almonds are a good source of dietary fiber, with 3 grams per ounce. Soluble fiber, in particular, has been shown to slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream and improve blood sugar control.
- Protein: Almonds are also a good source of protein, with 6 grams per ounce. Protein can help to slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream and may improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
- Low glycemic index (GI): The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Almonds have a low GI, which means they are less likely to cause rapid spikes in blood sugar.
- Polyphenols: Almonds contain a range of plant compounds called polyphenols, which have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.
- Almonds are not actually nuts – they are seeds! Specifically, they are the seeds of the almond tree, which is part of the stone fruit family (along with peaches, nectarines, and plums).
- Almonds are native to the Middle East and South Asia, but today, the United States is the world’s largest producer of almonds.
- Almonds are one of the oldest cultivated tree crops, with a history dating back to ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire.
Storage and food safety
- Almonds should be stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container to prevent them from becoming rancid.
- If stored properly, almonds can be kept for several months or even up to a year.
- To prevent the risk of foodborne illness, be sure to handle almonds (and all other foods) safely, including washing your hands before handling and properly storing leftovers.
How to prepare almonds
- One of the easiest ways to enjoy almonds is simply to eat them as a snack, either whole or chopped.
- Almonds can also be added to a variety of dishes to boost their nutrition and flavor. For example, you can use almond flour in baking recipes, or toss sliced almonds over a salad or stir-fry.
- Almond milk is another popular way to incorporate almonds into your diet. To make your own almond milk, blend almonds with water and strain the mixture to remove the solids.