15 Health Benefits of Almonds According to Science
Almonds have an amazing profile of antioxidant and nutritional benefits, making them a great candidate for fighting disease. They can improve brain function, hinder the onset of cancer, and much, much more. Pound for pound, fresh nuts might seem expensive – not when you consider the many health benefits.
1. Almonds can benefit your intestinal health
Regular consumption of almonds can benefit the production of helpful bacteria in the intestines.
Stool samples were collected from study groups after consuming almonds regularly for a period of time. There were notable increases in Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus spp.
These changes were noted with daily doses of as low as 56 grams of almonds – or ten grams of almond skins. The bacteria in question are responsible for a number of health factors. Promoting their growth can help prevent dangerous intestinal diseases, and promote the development of healthy tissues and metabolism.
Almonds – even just the skin – can modify the efficacy of intestinal flora, leading to better health.
2. Almonds can lower LDL cholesterol, limiting heart disease
Despite having a relatively high-fat content, almonds are known to eliminate cholesterol from the body. The fat content of almonds is largely monounsaturated – the ‘good’ type of fat that helps lower the risk of heart disease.
When substituting almonds in a high-carb diet, researchers found that the risk of heart disease was decreased by up to 30 percent. The benefits stack when almonds are included with other healthy foods, as well. If they’re included in a diet plan that includes foods from all groups, the decrease in cholesterol and heart disease can be increased.
Almonds are high in potassium. Potassium is a mineral that’s responsible for opening up veins and arteries, allowing for more efficient blood flow. This helps clear the cardiovascular system of cholesterol and further reduces the risk of coronary disease.
Magnesium – another mineral that almonds are full of – is also responsible for maintaining a proper blood flow. The content of these two minerals, along with almonds having a high antioxidant content, ensures that they can effectively fight off cholesterol and heart disease. They’re also useful in fighting off recurring or chronic diseases.
The combination of antioxidants, minerals, and monounsaturated fats make almonds a powerful fighter against heart disease.
3. Almonds are powerful fighters against diabetes
Almonds are shown to decrease spikes in blood sugar. Blood sugar spikes are linked to damaging cholesterol, which leads to the creation of free radicals.
A free radical is an atom missing an electron in its outer shell. To compensate, it will steal an electron from its neighbor atom, creating another free radical. This creates a destructive chain that can result in cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
A study done on fifteen participants involved feeding them five meals and monitoring blood sugar before and after. The statistics taken after the meals containing almonds showed a moderate blood pressure and an increase in antioxidants. The statistics taken after subjects consumed meals with bread (high in carbohydrates) showed a decrease in antioxidant density.
Almonds can help alleviate and potentially even prevent diabetes.
4. Almonds can help keep your skin young and healthy
Almonds contain a range of antioxidants and nutrients that can be useful in combating aging skin. These benefits are most obvious when almonds are extracted and used as an oil.
Of particular note, almonds are very high in vitamin E. There are other skin-benefiting antioxidants in almonds, but vitamin E is very good for the skin. It fights off free radicals that can affect that dermis, leading to cancer or prematurely aging skin. Vitamin e also acts as an anti-inflammatory which can prevent inflammation-related skin issues.
5. Almonds help regulate blood sugar in healthy individuals
Studies have shown that almonds are amazing at maintaining a healthy glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure that can show a person’s blood sugar level.
During a study in which subjects were given white bread (filled with empty carbohydrates – high on the glycemic index)
The effects seem to start with consumption of two or more ounces of almonds. Eating one ounce of almonds along with the bread showed no decrease in the glycemic index. However, eating two or more showed decreases in the G.I. directly proportional to a number of almonds consumed.
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