Now that fats are no longer considered the ‘enemy’ by most people, we bring you one of the healthiest fat sources you can have: almonds.
When most people think of nuts, they do tend to think of almonds – or peanuts. Peanuts, however, are not actually a nut, but a legume, however, they do have a very similar nutritional profile to nuts, so we’ll leave that for now.
Getting back to almonds, not only are almonds liked by most people as they have a very mild taste, but they can do your body a world of good.
Almonds are readily available at any time of the year and can be found in just about every supermarket. As such, there’s no excuse for not getting in your daily dose of almonds.
So what’s so great about almonds? Why eat them? Why should they be included in your regular menu planning?
Let’s go over all this information and more.
The Nutritional Profile Of Almonds
Before we talk benefits, let’s square away the nutritional stats for this nut. The great thing about almonds is that they contain a beautiful mix of dietary fiber, healthy fats and a bit of protein as well.
While you shouldn’t really consider almonds a major source of protein as they’re still quite comparatively low compared to other protein-rich foods out there, when you’re struggling to meet your intake, every little bit helps and almonds can provide that extra dose you may be looking for.
If you eat one ounce of almonds, you are going to take in:
· 6.1 grams of carbohydrates, of which 3.4 grams is fiber
· 161 calories total
· 5.9 grams of protein
· 13.8 grams of dietary fat
· 37% of your total vitamin E requirements
· 32% of your total manganese requirements
· 19% of your magnesium requirements
· 17% of your riboflavin requirements
· 14% of your copper and phosphorus requirements
· 6% of your iron requirements
· 7% of your calcium requirements
· 6% of your potassium requirements
· 6% of your zinc requirements
So as you can see, almonds are loaded with stand-out nutrition. When we look at the macronutrients from a percentage point, they will be 14.6% protein content, 77.1% dietary fat content, and 8.3% carbohydrate content.
Because over half the carbohydrates found in almonds are dietary fiber carbohydrates, the net carbohydrate content will be even lower, closer to 4% making this a really good food for just about any low carb diet – the ketogenic diet included.
While you will still need to watch how many you eat on the keto diet (as every carb counts on that diet plan!), it’s a perfectly acceptable food to include, especially given the fat to protein ratio it contains.
What’s more is that some scientists report that when you eat almonds, you don’t always actually net the total amount of calories you should from them. Meaning, despite eating 161 calories, this may not actually translate to 161 calories taken into the body. It appears some may be ‘lost’ through the process of digestion and simply excreted rather than absorbed.
This is more the case with those who are eating a higher number of servings per day however, so do keep that in mind.
Now let’s get to the benefits.
Reduced Risk Of Heart Disease
Perhaps one of the most powerful benefits that almonds have to offer is the fact they will help dramatically lower your risk of heart disease. They do this in a couple of different ways.
First, because they contain a good dose of dietary fiber, this can help lower cholesterol levels. Second, given the fact they have a good dose of potassium in them, this can also help lower blood pressure levels, which is another contributing factor to heart disease.
Almonds also provide the amino acid arginine, which can help with the dilation of blood vessels and further help lower your heart disease risk.
Finally, one last major benefit almonds provide is providing a strong dose of antioxidants to the body, which can help to enhance the health of the arteries and also lower your overall inflammation levels1, which is a leading contributor to heart disease.
If you’re currently suffering from heart disease, you’ll want to consider adding almonds more regularly.
Better Brain Health
Another clear benefit you’ll have when you add almonds to your diet plan is superior brain health. This is thanks to the two compounds they contain called riboflavin and L-Carnitine, both of which help to improve the levels of brain activity taking place while also helping to lower your risk factor for cognitive decline.
Almonds are able to help boost brain capacity by helping to ward off oxidative stress that happens over time and may cause cognitive deterioration to occur.
In addition to that, these compounds may also help to improve your memory2, so if you’re someone who often finds yourself struggling to remember even the most basic of tasks, consider the boost you may get by adding more almonds to your plan.
Almonds are especially great as you get older as cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are all more common and eating these may help to prevent those conditions.
Help Boost Skin Health
If there is one thing you can count on almonds to do for you it improves your skin’s health. Vitamin E is a vitamin and a miracle worker more or less when it comes to improving your skin. It’ll help to add extra moisture to the skin, resolving any dryness issues you may have and may also be good for treating skin related problems such as eczema.
Almonds are also a good source of flavonol antioxidants, which can help to fend off skin cancer and help to lower the damage that your skin undergoes due to UV exposure.
It’s very well known that low-fat diets have a tendency to leave the skin looking rather lackluster and dried out, so because almonds are such a rich source of healthy fats, they will help combat this as well. You’ll find that you notice a much more radiant complexion when you add almonds to your diet plan.
Another food that’s terrific for this benefit as well is avocados, which are also high in vitamin E and healthy fats.
May Help With Weight Loss
Most people today are out there looking to find the magical solution to their weight loss woes. While there is no one magical pill you can take that will just rid your body of all excess body fat, there are certain foods that can certainly give you a leg up and make it that much easier.
Almonds being one of them. The reason almonds are very powerful in the fight against excess body fat is because they contain the fat-fiber combination. Dietary fat is known to release very slowly in the bloodstream, thus slowing down the release of any sugar that may be present.
It’s the spike (and then resulting crash) of blood glucose levels that typically triggers strong hunger in individuals and drives them to eat. This coupled with dietary fiber, which also slows down the passage of food through the body, is what ensures that you stay on an even keel for the hours ahead.
The additional protein also helps keep you satisfied after you eat them, as protein is a highly satiating nutrient.
One thing to note though with almonds is that they will not fill you up immediately upon eating them as carbohydrates will. Carbohydrates tend to be more instantly satisfying because they spike blood glucose levels and this turns off the hunger signal.
Almonds will keep you more satisfied however in the long run. They just take longer to induce that feeling of satiety. So your best bet to take advantage of this is to either eat the almonds before you reach the point of being ravenous so that they have time to digest and break down, giving you the feeling of fullness, or eat them with a mixed meal with some carbohydrates as well so you do get that initial satiation and then have the almonds to carry you on from there.
By eating almonds, you may give yourself better control over your future food intake, thus making it easier to maintain your reduced calorie diet plan.
Improved Nutrient Absorption
Another key benefit that almonds help out with is that they can help you with the absorption of the important fat-soluble vitamins.
The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. These are essential vitamins necessary for good health but unfortunately, vitamins that many people fall short in.
One reason you may fall short is if you don’t take in enough of them, but also if you aren’t taking them in with quality fat sources. These vitamins, being fat-soluble, require the presence of dietary fat to be absorbed. So while they may be in certain foods, if that food is low fat and you don’t eat it with fat, you won’t necessarily get those nutrition benefits.
With almonds, the great news is that they are already in there packaged with dietary fat, so you don’t have to worry.
It’s also great to consider adding some slivered almonds to any salads you’re eating as well as this is a perfect example of other foods (vegetables) that may be rich in vitamin A, D, E, and K, but has very little dietary fat. Unless you are using an oil-based salad dressing, it’s highly likely that you won’t absorb those nutrients.
One other interesting benefit of almonds that many people don’t know about is that almonds are actually a terrific source of prebiotics. What are these?
Prebiotics are essentially the food that probiotics feed on. They help keep your probiotic numbers up, which is essential to supporting a strong immune system and all around health.
If you currently aren’t getting in probiotics through eating different foods rich in these healthy bacteria, it’s also highly recommended that you supplement with a probiotic product such as P3-OM, which will quickly help replenish your levels and get you back on track to superior health.
Now by eating almonds, you will help to provide food for those healthy bacteria, ensuring that your numbers continue to thrive.
When you are maintaining good gut health, you’ll not only be able to fend off illness better thanks to a stronger immune system, but you’ll also help to improve your production of digestive enzymes, sustain a healthier pH level in the digestive tract, and help to improve regularity as well.
Finally, thanks to the fact that almonds do provide a good dose of calcium, this can also help you maintain stronger bones and teeth3. Calcium is an integral part of these structural tissues and without sufficient levels, your body can slowly begin to erode away at the density of the bones and teeth, leaving you at risk for stress fractures, breaks, and osteoporosis.
While almonds are not the absolute best source of calcium (they don’t have as much calcium as milk does, for example), they are still a good source and if you are someone who is lactose intolerant or who just don’t consume dairy, every little bit will help.
So there you have the main reasons why you should consider including almonds in your daily diet plan. The great news is that almonds are highly versatile. You can eat them on their own as a quick snack on the go, serve them as part of a trail mix, add them to muffins or squares you are preparing, using them in salads, top them over main dishes, or choose almond butter instead and use it in all the same ways you would use peanut butter. Fitting almond butter into your diet is even easier because it doesn’t have quite the strong taste that peanut butter does so works well with just about any food.
Once you start including almonds into your diet and notice how great you feel with them and the benefits they provide you, you’ll definitely want them to be a part of your plan going forward.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many almonds should you eat a day?
The number you eat will vary based on your calorie requirements and activity level. To reap benefits, most people should aim to eat 10-15 almonds, which is close to about one ounce. You can certainly eat more, but do remember that they are quite calorie dense and this may mean you could risk weight gain if you are not accounting for these calories.
What do almonds do your body?
Almonds offer many great benefits to your body including improving heart health, strengthening your bones, helping assist with weight loss, and boosting brain health. Almost everyone can benefit from including almonds as part of their daily diet.
Is it bad to eat a lot of almonds?
While it’s not bad per se, do keep in mind a balanced diet is key. If you derive too many of your calories from one type of food, you could risk falling deficient in nutrients because of your lack of variety.
Some people may also find that if they eat too many almonds, they also suffer from diarrhea due to the levels of fiber and dietary fat found in the almonds.
Are almonds dangerous?
When almonds are properly prepared and purchased in the grocery store, they should not be dangerous to eat, in moderation. Bitter almonds, however, especially if picked right off a tree do yield hydrogen cyanide and this can become very dangerous very quickly so caution should be taken about eating this variety.
Do almonds help you lose belly fat?
Because almonds may help reduce your appetite and get your blood glucose levels under control, they can be an effective way to help manage your weight and lose body fat.
This said, they are quite calorie dense, so care must be taken to ensure you are not eating too many as those calories will add up quite quickly and eventually lead to the opposite results you hope to achieve.
Are roasted almonds healthy?
Yes! As long as they are prepared properly from traditional sweet almonds, roasted almonds contain all the same nutrients that regular almonds contain and are a good food to add to your diet plan.
1. Liu, Yanan, et al. “The effects of daily intake timing of almond on the body composition and blood lipid profile of healthy adults.” Nutrition research and practice 11.6 (2017): 479-486.
2. Batool, Zehra, et al. “Repeated administration of almonds increases brain acetylcholine levels and enhances memory function in healthy rats while attenuates memory deficits in animal model of amnesia.” Brain research bulletin 120 (2016): 63-74.
3. Palacios, Cristina. “The role of nutrients in bone health, from A to Z.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 46.8 (2006): 621-628.