A handful of Almonds

photoIt is absolutely amazing that one tiny handful can provide so many health benefits. Take a look and see for yourself all that almonds can do.

Almonds are a wonderful source of many essential vitamins and minerals, and they are packed with healthy goodness. They offer a great source of vitamin E, with 25g providing 70 percent of the recommended daily allowance. They offer a good source of magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fibre and are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat. Almonds contain more calcium than any other nut which makes them great for vegetarians who do not eat any dairy products.

Heart-healthy

Almonds contain several phytochemicals including beta-sisterol stigmasterol and campesterol which is considered to contribute to a healthy heart. A daily handful of almonds help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL or ‘bad’ blood cholesterol by as much as ten percent.

Their high monounsaturated fat content, a key fat found in many Mediterranean diets, gives them much greater benefits than simply being cholesterol-lowering. Research studies shows that those who follow a typical Mediterranean diet not only lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, they also live longer.  Almonds also contain amygdaline, also known as laetrile or vitamin B17 is the controversial anti-cancer nutrient.

Weight Loss Aid

For many years almonds were considered ‘fattening’. However, studies, including the Nurses’ Health Study and the Physicians’ Follow-up Study showed those who ate the most nuts tended to have lower body mass indexes. Although almonds are high in fat and calories, eating them in moderation can actually help with weight loss.

Some of the same nutrients listed above can assist with weight loss. Protein and fiber keep you full longer, leading to less food that is consumed overall and therefore potential weight loss by fewer calories.

High Protein Source

As almonds are extremely high in protein, around 18 percent, and contain virtually no carbohydrates, they are ideal for diabetics, pre-diabetics or anyone with blood sugar issues.

Anti-inflammatory and Anti-spasmodic

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, almonds are considered anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and emollient and are also used as a tonic. They are also known as brain and bone food, probably due to their high calcium content. They help with alkalinizing the blood and relieve chi stagnation in the liver.  In Ayurvedic medicine almonds are used to strengthen ojas and are said to nurture self control and calmness of the mind and nerves.

Other Health Benefits

  • Pregnancy – Almonds contain folic acid, proven to prevent neural birth defects in infants in the womb.
  • Constipation- known as digestion-regulator. Fiber in almonds allows for the prevention of constipation and regulates digestion. The added bonus is that small servings of almonds contain the right amount of needed.
  • Low in sodium – balances blood pressure, almonds are a very low sodium snack, as they do not cause an increase in blood pressure.
  • Healthy looking skin – The omega-6 fatty acid and vitamin E help improve skin complexion.