Almonds are found in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Israel. This highly nutritional nut is a rich source of vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. It also contains zinc, selenium, copper and niacin. Compared to all other nuts, almonds are the most packed with nutrients and beneficial components.
Both sweet and bitter almonds are readily available. Traditionally, sweet almonds are edible, while bitter almonds are used to make almond oil, a common oil that is used to add flavor to food. Almonds are usually eaten raw, but many people also add them as ingredients in salads, casseroles, and other dishes. Almond milk is also a delicious beverage, and an alternative to less nutritious cow’s milk.
You can eat almonds directly, preferably on an empty stomach to increase and speed up the absorption of their nutrients. You can soak them in water overnight so you can eat them the morning. Crushed almonds are also a wonderful garnish for a number of dishes.
Almonds are known to have great medicinal value, which, along with their good taste, is the main reason that so many people proactively add almonds to their diet. Some of the researched and verified benefits of almonds are given below.
Good for your brain:Almonds are a source of many nutrients which help in the development and health of the human brain. Almonds have been connected to a higher intellectual level and they have long been considered an essential food item for growing children. Almonds also contain two vital brain nutrients, riboflavin and L-carnitine, which have been shown to increase brain activity, resulting in new neural pathways and a decreased occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that almonds in the diet, as well as almond oil, is nutritive to the overall health and functioning of the nervous system.
Many mothers give almonds soaked in water to their children every morning. Two or three pieces of soaked almonds are enough, and you can also remove the outer shell if it causes allergic reactions, as the majority of the nutrients are not held in the shell.
Regulation of cholesterol: Regular consumption of almonds helps to increase the level of high density lipoproteins (HDL) and they reduce the level of low density lipoproteins (LDL). This balance is vital to a healthy cholesterol level, and a reduction of LDL (bad cholesterol) is always a good thing.
Good for your heart: The mono-unsaturated fats, protein and potassium contained in almonds are all instrumental in heart health. Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant and also reduces the risk of heart diseases, while the presence of magnesium in almonds can help avoid heart attacks. Almonds help reduce the presence and impact of C-reactive proteins which causes artery-damaging inflammation. Almonds are also a great source of folic acid. Therefore, they help to reduce the level of homocysteine, which causes fatty plaque buildup in arteries. Furthermore, the flavonoids in the skin of almonds combines with Vitamin E to form a powerful shield against artery wall damage.
Bone Health: Almonds are a fantastic source of many vitamins and minerals, and phosphorous is definitely counted among them! Phosphorous can have a considerable impact on the strength and durability of bones and teeth, while also preventing the onset of age-related conditions like osteoporosis.
Immune System Strength: Your body has many components that add to overall health, including the alkalinity of the systems. Almonds are great sources for alkali materials, and this is known to benefit the strength of the immune system, as well as increase the ability to stave off diseases and various health conditions. Along with almonds’ contribution to alkaline levels, it also has a high content of Vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. It seeks out all the damaging free radicals in the body and eliminates them, because they actually promote chronic diseases and can be horribly hazardous to the body’s organ systems. Antioxidants like the Vitamin E found in almonds affect all major diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Research has actually shown that people who ingest high levels of Vitamin E are actually 30-40% less likely to contract heart disease.
Skin care: The benefits of almonds in regards to skin health are well known, and almond oil massages are often recommended for newborn babies. Almond milk is also added to some soaps, because of almonds well-established reputation of improving the complexion of skin.
Anti-Inflammation: Many people think that the word “fat” means something negative, but in fact, certain fatty acids are essential, and can be very beneficial for overall health. The body can’t create its own fatty acids, which is why we need to get them from dietary sources. Almonds have two very important fatty acids, both linoleic and linolenic acids. Those fatty acids help to reduce inflammation all around the body, which is a general condition that many people suffer from. The fatty acids also help to reduce the levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL cholesterol), and they promote healthy skin and hair! All in all, almonds pack a powerful, healthy punch.
Regulation of blood pressure: The potassium present in almonds helps to regulates blood pressure, and almonds are very low in sodium, which helps to control fluctuating blood pressure. The other nutrients also keep the body balanced in terms of other essential needs, which can prevents any other deficiencies. Balanced vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy lifestyle, but if certain elements are neglected, the entire body can be affected, including anxiety, overall stress, and inevitably, increased blood pressure.
Prevention of cancer: Almonds improve the movement of food through the colon, thereby preventing build-up and subsequent colon cancer. The National Cancer Center has done extensive research on the link between high-fiber diets and a reduced risk of colon cancer.
Protection against diabetes: Almonds also help to reduce the reactionary rise in glucose and insulin levelsafter meals. This modulation offers protection from the dangerous spikes in blood sugar which diabetics often suffer from following a large meal, or a meal with an unexpectedly high level of sugar in it. Almonds help regulate the abrosption and processing of glucose, making the entire process much smoother, and subsequently safer.
Good for pregnancy: Almonds contain folic acid, which helps reduce the incidence of birth defects in newborn babies. It also stimulates healthy cell growth and tissue formation. Neural tube defects are conditions where the neural tube is either underdeveloped or is partially missing in the fetus. Doctors regularly prescribe folic acid supplements to pregnant women to ensure proper development of the tube, and almonds have enough folic acid to keep mothers and their babies healthy.
Weight loss: Unsweetened almond milk can be used if you are attempting to lose weight. The mono-unsaturated fat contained in almonds satisfies appetite and prevents over-eating. The dietary fiber in almonds also contributes to the sensation of being full, despite eating only a small amount. Studies have revealed that an almond-rich, low calorie diet is good for obese people to assist in shedding their excess weight. Studies have shown that those people who regularly consume almonds (at least twice a week) are far more likely to remain at their ideal weight, rather than those who rarely or never consume almonds and suffer from weight fluctuations. Finally, the fiber contributes to consistent bowel movements, which helps in weight loss and the general health of the body through the elimination of toxins.
Prevention of constipation: Almonds are rich in fiber, and like most other fiber-rich foods, almonds helpprevent constipation. However, it is also important to drink a significant amount of water when eating almonds to speed up the digestive process and beneficial effects of the nut. You don’t even need to eat an excessive amount, the amount of fiber in 4 or 5 almonds is enough to keep your digestion and bowel movements regular.
Boosts energy: The presence of manganese, copper and Riboflavin in almonds helps in energy production and metabolic rate. If you are on the go, a handful of almonds can get you through the day without filling you up with calories or fat.
People can even reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by consuming almonds, because they have been known to have such a positive effect on neural activity. Stimulating new neural passageways and connections can keep Alzheimer’s disease and neural degeneration from developing.
However, just like almost any other food, almonds have their downside. They do contain oxalates, and excessive oxalates can cause crystallization, which can lead to a host of different issues. People that have kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid eating almonds.
Source: Organic Facts