Almonds are an extremely popular variety of nut, and it’s not very hard to see why!
Whether natural, blanched, or ground, they are incredibly tasty and incredibly versatile. Almonds can be eaten as a fun snack as well as an addition to sweet or savoury dishes. They can also be used to make oil, butter, flour and even milk. Is there no end to their talents?!
Almonds come from the fruit of the almond tree and although native to Iran, are mainly grown in California. Closely followed by traditional almond growers, Spain and Italy. The fruit, also known as a drupe, resembles a peach until it ripens and the outer covering, or hull, splits open, curls outward and releases the pit.
Almonds are often touted as one of the healthiest snacks and healthiest nuts, but how are they good for you? That’s the question we want to answer today, as we take you through the top health benefits of almonds - Let’s go nuts!
High in Minerals & Nutrients
The first thing you need to know is that almonds are an excellent source of nutrients and minerals.
In a 28 gram serving (which is roughly equivalent to a handful) they contain the following -
- Fibre: 3.5 g of Fibre
- Protein: 6 g of Protein
- Fat: 14 g (9g of which are monounsaturated)
- Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI
- Manganese: 32% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 20% of the RDI
They also hold a decent amount of copper, calcium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus. Not bad for such a little nut!
May Improve Gut Health
Several studies have revealed that almonds may possess powerful probiotic properties, which suggests that consuming them can be beneficial for the gut. Almonds act as prebiotics which are non-digestible plant fibres that feed the good bacteria already existing within the gut.
Another study discovered that eating moderate amounts of almonds, or almond butter, not only improved the diet value in both adults and children, but also altered the composition of the gut microbiome. This is possibly, in part, because of their immense fibre content.
Loaded With Antioxidants
Almonds are a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants aid in protecting against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in your cells and contribute to inflammation, aging and diseases such as cancer.
In fact, almonds are one of the best sources for vitamin E in the world. Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble antioxidants. These antioxidants tend to build up in cell membranes in your body, defending your cells from oxidative damage. Several studies have associated a higher vitamin E absorption with lesser rates of heart disease and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Can Help Blood Management
There has been some evidence to suggest that including almonds in your diet may help in managing blood sugar levels. Studies found that consuming almonds was associated with lower levels of fasting glucose along with fasting insulin.
In addition to this, almonds are high in magnesium, which is known to be important for blood sugar control. Scientists have proposed that there could also be a link between magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance. This means a higher magnesium intake may offer considerable improvements for metabolic syndrome and people with type 2 diabetes.
May Aid Weight Loss
If you’re looking to lose some weight, then almonds could perhaps help you shift those unwanted pounds. A study done in 2015 found that eating almonds as a mid-morning snack can leave a person feeling satiated for some time.
Almonds are low in carbohydrates but high in protein, healthy fats, and fibre. Protein, along with fibre are both well known to increase the feelings of fullness. This in turn can help you eat fewer calories as you will be less tempted to snack or overeat.
In conclusion, we’d say it’s a resounding YES - almonds are indeed good for you! No wonder they are so often recommended as a delicious, healthy snack and are an easy addition to your diet.
They have many great health benefits, including being packed full of important nutrients, minerals and antioxidants. As with most foods, we still recommend eating them in moderation and to avoid them altogether if you have a nut allergy.