There are many important ways almonds benefit our health! Tiny little powerhouses of nutrition, almonds are full of health-enhancing nutrients and benefits. An amount as small as 1/4 cup packs significant health benefits. Tasty and crunchy, almonds are easy to eat, fun to add to salads, granola, trail mix, and other foods, and portable. Tuck some in a small container and take them with you for a healthy snack!
According to the USDA Nutrient Database, ¼ cup, or 4 tablespoons of almonds, provides approximately:
- 207 calories
- 8 grams of protein (16% DV)
- 5 grams fiber (20% DV)
- 8 grams of carbohydrates (3% DV)
- 2 grams of sugar
- 9 milligrams vitamin E (43% DV)
- 97 milligrams magnesium (43% DV)
- 8 milligrams manganese (40% DV)
- 4 milligrams riboflavin (24% DV)
- 3 milligrams zinc (20% DV)
- 172 milligrams phosphorus (18% DV)
- 96 milligrams calcium (10% DV)
- 1.3 milligrams iron (7% DV)
- 3 grams niacin (6% DV)
- 262 milligrams potassium (5% DV)
- 16 micrograms of folate (4% DV)
Importantly, almonds are high in mono saturated fat, a heart-healthy fat also found in olive oil, and low in other fats, saturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Many scientific studies have been conducted regarding the health benefits of almonds, and almonds’ many health-promoting benefits are well-documented. Almonds are believed to positively effect our health in at least 10 general ways.
Almonds Benefit You: 10 Ways
But wait! First, you might want to jump right to trying this DIY Almond Butter recipe! Creamy, salty and delicious, it is easy to make and delicious to eat! No, wait. Read on. Then try the recipe!
1. Heart and cardiovascular health.
February is heart health month, and though we are at the end of the month (I barely squeaked in there, didn’t I?), it’s never too late to tweak your diet and lifestyle to support a healthy heart. Almonds can certainly help in that regard. According to research, almonds lower LDL cholesterol in both healthy people and in those with documented high cholesterol and diabetes. This same study found other cardioprotective nutrients unique to almonds, including α-tocopherol (a strong form of vitamin E), arginine, magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium, and potassium. In various studies, almonds have been shown to help reduce inflammation, prevent plaque buildup in artery walls, reduce blood serum cholesterol and blood pressure, and help you lose weight by keeping appetite controlled.
2. Aid in the prevention of diabetes.
Almonds benefit you in the fight again high blood sugar and diabetes. The high level of mono saturated fats in almonds helps control blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.
3. Increase healthy gut flora.
Almonds, rich in fiber and phytonutrients, provide prebiotics, the precursors to probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics act as a “fuel” and promote the growth and activity of probiotics. Because probiotics must have a certain amount of “food” to eat and thrive, almonds help provide some of this prebiotic material, and do it well. In fact, it has been found that almonds play a role in the maintenance of healthy and diverse gut microbiota. Since researchers believe that anywhere from 60%-80% of our immune system resides in our gut, it pays to have a health one! Almonds can help.
4. Help with weight loss.
Almonds play a role in weight loss and control. Almonds have 8 grams of fiber per quarter cup serving. That’s 20% of the recommended daily intake of fiber! Fiber plays an important role in weight loss and appetite control, making you feel full longer. Because almonds are also high in mono saturated fat, blood sugar levels are more easily controlled, avoiding the high surges and low crashes that wreak havoc on your appetite by increasing it. More fiber means you feel full longer and your blood sugar is more stable.
4. Improve nutrient absorption.
Because almonds contain healthy fats, and fats are necessary for the optimum absorption of many nutrients, including fats soluble vitamins like A, D, K and E, almonds benefit nutrient absorption in the body.
5. Improve brain health.
Almonds’ benefits extends to brain health. These tasty nuts have been shown to play a role in providing essential dietary nutrients which protect the brain from memory dysfunction associated with age, and from neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s. Almonds’ ability to reduce inflammation is a factor in their ability to support a healthy brain. Inflammation is at the root of cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer’s, and almonds help quell inflammation. Also, almonds contains several nutrients that are supportive of brain function and health, including tocopherol, folate, mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, zinc, and polyphenols. Zinc helps repair free radical damage, reducing damage to brain cells. And you know that post-lunch “fog” you can get? Science shows almonds can help with that, too!
6. Give you a healthy glow.
Almonds benefit your skin as well. The high levels of antioxidants in almonds, including vitamin E, nourish our skin and protect our cells from aging. This may be due to nutrients in almonds having a positive effect in reducing oxidation of cells in our body, as well as fighting free radical damage, which ages cells.
7. Fight cancer.
In addition to fighting damage free radicals can have on your skin, so, too, antioxidants fight free radical damage through the body. Because free radicals are known to be cancer-causing, consumption of antioxidants such as those in almonds combats the growth of free radicals, thus reducing cancer.
8. Bone and dental health.
Since almonds contain calcium and protein as well as magnesium and phosphate, they are believed to support bone health and those pearly whites! Calcium makes for stronger bones, lowering the risk for bone fractures and osteoporosis. Magnesium and phosphate are key factors in strong teeth and bones. Consequently, almonds benefit our bone and dental health!
9. Fight inflammation and cancer.
Not only is inflammation at the root of cardiovascular disease, brain dysfunction and disease, and other health conditions, inflammation is also at the root of many cancers. Almonds’ ability to aid in reduction of inflammation, as well as fight free radical damage and oxidative stress, means almonds can help in the fight against cancer and support a healthy, cancer-free lifestyle.
10. Reduce premenstrual symptoms and anxiety.
Almonds provide nearly half of our daily dietary need for magnesium. This vital macronutrient plays an important role in the reduction of premenstrual symptoms in women, including bloating, insomnia, and breast tenderness. In addition, magnesium deficiency has been shown to increase anxiety. Almonds can help you maintain sufficient levels of this important nutrient.
Almonds’ ability to promote health in these specific ways, as well as in numerous synergistic ways, make them a healthy and tasty addition to your diet. Try some today!
And here’s the DIY Almond Butter recipe. You’ll love it!