Almonds are the powerhouse of nutrients. Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and fibers, almonds are recognized as a superfood with a variety of nutritional benefits.
Almonds belong to the same family as cherries and peaches.
From reducing the wrinkles in the skin to its provisions for a healthy heart, almonds are popular around the world.
1. Lower Inflammation
The antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fats in almonds do wonders for inflammation in your body.
Chronic inflammation happens when your body thinks it’s under a constant state of attack. This can be triggered by many things, but a poor diet is one of the biggest culprits.
Higher inflammation means your risk factors for cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, leaky gut syndrome, and even mental illness all increase.
Since the main fat in almonds comes from oleic acid, which is the same type of fatty acid you’ll find in inflammation-lowering olive oil, almonds make a great anti-inflammatory food.
They reduce oxidative stress in your body and protect it from further damage to help lower inflammation systemwide.
2. Excellent Dietary Source of Vitamin E
Vitamin E may not be on your radar, but this fat-soluble vitamin is also a powerful antioxidant.
Antioxidants protect your cells from free radical damage caused by things like a poor diet, smoking, and environmental pollutants.
The more oxidative damage your cells have to battle, the greater your risk for developing chronic diseases and cancer.
As one of the best natural dietary sources, a 1 oz. serving of almonds takes care of 37% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin E to build up the antioxidant army in your cell membranes.
That may be why researchers noticed a connection between higher vitamin E intake and lower rates of heart disease, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.
3. Protection From Cognitive Decline and Neurological Disorders
Studies show supplementing with vitamin E may prevent cognitive decline or slow it down if it’s already occurring.
Experts from one trial successfully used a form of vitamin E to treat participants with moderately severe impairment and help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Additionally, a serving of almonds also contains 17% of your daily riboflavin, which boasts neuroprotective benefits for a wide range of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s.
4. Reduced Cancer Risk
Research shows people who eat higher quantities of almonds (and other nuts like walnuts) reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to three times more than those who seldom snack on them.
Higher vitamin E intake has been associated with lower risks of developing colon cancer, especially if you’re under 65.
Vitamin E has also been connected with significantly reduced prostate cancer rates and lower oxidative stress as well.
Note: You’ll find most of these awesome antioxidants in the brown outer layer of almond skin. You won’t get these same benefits with blanched or raw almonds with their skins already removed.
5. Better Cholesterol Levels
If you have high cholesterol, you may be avoiding foods with high fat content like almonds, but research shows this is a bad move.
Eating almonds regularly helps your body increase high-density lipoproteins (HDL cholesterol levels) while lowering low-density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol levels).
This is important because having more LDL cholesterol may put you at a greater risk for heart disease while having higher HDL decreases that risk.
Participants in one trial learned eating 1.5 oz. of almonds each day lowered their cholesterol an average of 5.3 mg/dL — while still maintaining “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
In another study, researchers learned that when 20% of daily calories came from almonds, LDL cholesterol lowered by a “clinically significant” average of 12.4 mg/dL after 16 weeks.
That’s a major drop in a short time.
In a different trial, scientists wanted to see whether fatty almonds or a carb-filled whole wheat muffin were better for lowering cholesterol. They split up 27 people with high cholesterol and gave them different snacks to eat for a month each.
Each snack counted for 20% of their daily calories and consisted of either a full dose of whole almonds, a low-saturated fat whole-wheat muffin, or half a dose of almonds plus half a muffin.
Eating the full-dose almonds showed the greatest reduction in total cholesterol numbers, but even the half-dose improved LDL cholesterol levels.
However, the full-dose almonds alone lowered oxidized cholesterol levels by 14%.
This is excellent news since getting your cholesterol to healthy levels lowers your cardiovascular risks and may even lower your blood pressure.
6. Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the main reasons people have strokes and heart attacks.
Almonds can be a lifesaver here since men between the ages of 20 and 70 were able to improve blood flow in their arteries and significantly lower their systolic blood pressure by simply eating 50g almonds per day for just four weeks.
This may be because almonds contain almost 20% of your RDI of magnesium.
In one study, researchers discovered that people with high blood pressure were also deficient in magnesium, and magnesium deficiencies can lead to high blood pressure.
When they started supplementing with magnesium, participants significantly lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
7. Heart Disease Prevention
Evidence shows that people consuming the highest levels of vitamin E are also 30-40% less likely to have heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide.
Since almonds are one of the best dietary sources of vitamin E, you may be able to join the healthy heart club by eating a serving every day.
One study showed that eating almonds with meals lowered oxidative protein damage in participant’s bodies, which could help reduce heart disease risk.
When researchers swapped the high-carb snacks of 48 participants with a serving of almonds, they not only lowered their LDL cholesterol, they lost visceral fat around their tummies.
This isn’t just a cosmetic upgrade; visceral fat, or the kind sitting around your midsection, may put you at a greater risk of having a heart attack.
Shrinking this type of belly fat is priority number one because the more you have, the greater your chances of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
8. Increased Insulin Sensitivity
Did you know magnesium also plays a role in blood sugar control?
So maybe it isn’t surprising that many people with type 2 diabetes are also deficient in magnesium.
Adding more magnesium to your diet may lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity so it works better for those suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Even those without diabetes see less insulin resistance when they up their magnesium intake.
Again, a serving of almonds gives you close to 20% of your magnesium intake for the day so they may be an ideal snack for those trying to increase insulin sensitivity.
This is just one of the benefits of almonds for those struggling with blood sugar problems.
9. Helps People With Type 2 Diabetes
Experts have seen almonds prevent blood sugar spikes after meals. So you may be able to minimize how much your blood sugar levels rise by including them in yours.
In one study, 65 overweight and obese adults were either given a formula-based low-carb diet with the addition of 84g/day of almonds or a diet including the same amount of calories and protein but in the form of complex carbohydrates.
Those eating almonds lost weight, improved biomarkers of metabolic syndrome (such as BMI and waist circumference), and lowered their blood pressure, which is super impressive on its own.
But even better is 96% of those with type 2 diabetes lowered their diabetes medications just by adding almonds to their diet.
Almonds may be good for blood sugar regulation thanks to their healthy fiber content.
10. More Fiber, Less Digestive Upset
If you’re experiencing constipation or diarrhea on a low-carb or ketogenic diet, you likely need to add more fiber to your menu — and more water.
Extra insoluble and soluble fiber will prevent constipation and diarrhea and ensure smooth digestion and elimination.
Since almonds have 3g of fiber per serving, they can help bulk up your stools and move the process along.
The fiber in almonds will also feed the healthy bacteria in your gut to help you achieve better gut flora balance.
11. Healthy Gut Balance
One study showed eating almonds may increase the populations of bifidobacteria and Eubacterium rectale bacteria while also upping butyrate concentrations.
Buyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, may help your gut work better and prevent colon cancer.
Another study showed that women who ate 56g of almonds each day for eight weeks experienced significant increases in healthy bacteria populations of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.
A healthy gut also goes miles for your overall immunity.
12. Immunity Booster
Did you know 70% of your body’s immune system lives in your gut?
That’s why your diet is so crucial; if you eat food which creates an imbalance of unhealthy bacteria, your body will have a harder time fighting off colds and viruses when you encounter them.
Good thing studies show almonds and almond oil are anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting.
Researchers in one experiment even connected natural almond skins with a greater line of antiviral defense. In infected cells, almond skins stopped a virus from multiplying and triggered a stronger immune system response.
13. Muscle-Building and Fat-Burning
Lean muscle mass is what makes you look toned and svelte. But muscle also burns more calories at rest than fat does on your body.
The secret to torching fat is adding more muscle mass, which you can do by working out and feeding your muscles protein.
Unlike low-carb nuts like macadamias, almonds have a whopping 6g of protein in every 1 oz. serving, which is about the same amount you’ll find in one egg or a 1 oz. serving of cheese.
And since foods high in protein and fiber keep you full and satiated, almonds make the perfect snack between meals too.