Almonds, like most nuts, are an excellent food to snack on, cook with, and sprinkle on virtually any dish for a crunchy, good flavor. You can even ground up almonds to make almond milk or press them for almond oil, and the health benefits are many.
Almonds protect from heart disease, stroke, diabetes and, arguably, even cancer. As an added benefit, they may even help trim your waistline. Below is a look at a fraction of what makes almonds so special.
Inside the Almond
Nuts are a natural source of healthy HDL fats, and almonds are no different; almonds contain mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the good kind) and only a fraction of saturated fats (the bad kind), which is great news.
Almonds have very high amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, zinc and certain B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin and niacin). Almonds are also a good source of dietary fiber, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, protein and vitamin B6. Lower on its list of vitamins are pantothenic acid (B6) and folate (B9).
What’s So Great About Almonds?
Cuts Heart Disease and Stroke Risk – Because of the high ratio of HDL fats to LDL fats, almonds contribute greatly to curbing cholesterol and blood pressure levels that are responsible for clogged arteries. As a result of lowered cholesterol, the heart functions better and the risks for heart attack or stroke take a nosedive.
These are the types of food you should go after if you have a history of heart problems personally or in your family line – foods that provide good fats. The more good fats are introduced, they take over the bad ones and regulate several things in the body, including the heart, blood pressure, weight, appetite, energy level, etc. The high amount of antioxidants in almonds also comes into play here. They fight off heart disease and other harmful substances in the body, as well as keep arteries strong.
Protects Against Diabetes and Blood Sugar Spikes – Diabetics know all too well what it means to watch their sugar intake, because the slightest slipup can send blood sugar soaring. Eating almonds is a great way to balance every meal and protect against those foods that may contain hidden sugar.
Almonds keep blood sugar regulated even when combined with high-glycemic foods, so diabetics could really benefit from eating almonds more often for this added protection. Now, that’s no free pass to eat a lot of sugar; it’s just a precautionary measure that can keep things under control when occasional slipups occur.
Aids in Weight Loss and Maintenance – Studies have shown that regularly eating almonds is associated with less weight gain and can actually help you lose weight, despite their high fat content. This is probably due to the fact that almonds have a lot of dietary fiber, which gives a feeling of fullness so that you don’t get hungry as quickly after eating them and helps food to pass through the digestive tract to get eliminated quickly from the body.