9 Proven Health Benefits of Almonds
1. Help Prevent Heart Disease and Heart Attacks
Two of the star chemical compounds of almonds nutrition are healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants that support heart health and prevent factors of cardiovascular disease. Almonds specifically supply antioxidant flavonoids, plant-based compounds present in the skin of almonds that work with vitamin E to improve artery health and reduce inflammation.
Almonds nutrition also holds key nutrients to heart health, including arginine, magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium and potassium. Studies show almonds have a consistent “bad” LDL cholesterol-lowering effect, especially in individuals with high cholesterol and diabetes.
Almonds help prevent damage from forming within artery walls and protect against dangerous plaque buildup. Almonds nutrition benefits also make them a great food to support healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, in addition to fighting weight gain and obesity — three of the biggest risk factors associated with heart attacks and stroke.
2. Support Healthy Brain Function
Almonds are often considered one of the best brain foods. Almonds nutrition is somewhat unique in that almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, two key nutrients capable of positively affecting neurological activity and preventing cognitive decline. This is one reason why adults, especially the elderly, are encouraged to eat nuts several times per week — since they are associated with a reduction in the risk for inflammation that can cause brain disorders including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Maintain Skin Health
Almonds are a great source of vitamin E and other antioxidants that nourish the skin and reduce signs of aging. Research finds that almonds nutrition contains high concentrations of catechin, epicatechin and flavonol antioxidants, including quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin — compounds that fight skin cancer and damage by reversing oxidative stress from a poor diet, pollution and UV light exposure. (5) Almonds’ healthy fats, plus their ability to improve circulation, also help keep skin hydrated and better able to heal wounds.
4. Help Control Blood Sugar Levels and Prevent Diabetes
Almonds’ rich supply of MUFAs helps slow the rate at which glucose is released into the bloodstream. In addition to managing blood sugar and preventing insulin resistance, almonds nutrition benefits include the ability to lower other common diabetes risks: unhealthy body weight, inflammation and high levels of oxidative stress.
5. Help With Weight Loss and Prevent Overeating
Healthy fats and dietary fiber aid in weight loss because they help you feel full, which curbs overeating and unhealthy snacking.
6. Increase Nutrient Absorption
The body needs adequate amounts of fat in the diet in order to properly absorb “fat-soluble” nutrients, like vitamins A and D. Almonds are also considered one of the only nuts that help alkalize the digestive tract, reducing acid buildup and balancing the body’s pH. A healthy pH level is crucial for proper digestion, immunity and disease prevention. Additionally, the nutrients present in almonds may help regulate digestive enzymes that are involved in nutrient extraction, cholesterol synthesis and bile acid production.
7. Increase Digestive Health
Studies suggest that almonds and almond skins may lead to an improvement in the “intestinal microbiota profile,” meaning the intestine’s bacterial activities improve and promote numerous health benefits due to the presence of prebiotic properties, the precursors for probiotics.
8. Can Help Fight Cancer and Inflammation
Almonds contain gamma-tocopherol, a type of vitamin E that acts as a powerful antioxidant, fighting free radical damage and oxidative stress that are linked to cancer.
9. Help Maintain Dental and Bone Health
Almonds are a good source of trace minerals, including magnesium and phosphorus, which is a crucial nutrient for building and maintaining strong teeth and bones and muscles. Almonds nutrition benefits include the ability to help prevent tooth decay, fight cavities, lower the risk for bone fractures and fight osteoporosis.