Almonds are packed with some amazing health benefits. Much maligned as a high-fat treat; research has shown that these little nuts are nutrition powerhouses that should be added to everyone’s diet. They contain vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants, and the best part is that they taste great. How easy would it be to incorporate Almonds into your diet? They are common and a serving size is only 23 Almonds! You can buy them almost anywhere.
Almonds and Fat
Almonds are high in fat, but the kind of fat is monounsaturated, which is heart healthy. Switching to foods low in saturated fat is linked to a reduction in heart disease by reducing LDL cholesterol. Almonds have been shown to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol as much as some popular statin drugs. In 2003 the FDA released a statement saying that consuming almonds MAY reduce the risk of heart disease. Almonds have been shown to reduce cholesterol between 5-7 percent, and they also lower a C-reactive protein, which is also a risk factor for heart disease. Almonds are also high in vitamin E, a power antioxidant that helps to scavenge free radicals that cause cell damage.
Almonds and Magnesium
Almonds also contain 99 mg of magnesium in a serving. Magnesium deficiency is rare, but levels can be lower than optimum, and problems that occur from this deficiency are not always obvious. Our soil has been depleted of magnesium, and it is becoming more and more important to make sure that magnesium levels are kept at optimum levels. There are several kinds of magnesium supplements available to reach optimal levels; however, getting the nutrient from food helps to ensure that you get the kind of magnesium that the body can readily use.
Magnesium has been shown to help prevent heart disease, help with fibromyalgia symptoms and can even help with diabetes by helping in the production of insulin. It helps blood clotting, and is also instrumental in regulating heart rhythm by controlling blood vessel contractions. Magnesium also helps to lower blood pressure via this mechanism. In addition, magnesium helps to balance potassium and sodium levels in the blood which is necessary to keep blood pressure under control.
Almonds and Potassium
Speaking of potassium, almonds are a good source of potassium. Potassium is very abundant in the body and follows only calcium and phosphorous. It is necessary for many cell functions, and to keep fluids in balance. In addition, it helps to change glucose into glycogen. Glycogen is the fuel the body uses for energy. Recent research shows that the balance of potassium and sodium is very important in maintaining normal blood pressure.
Almonds and Blood Sugar
Eating almonds can help to reduce the rise in blood-sugar levels. Just a handful of almonds is enough to gain all of the health benefits of almonds. You can also try almond butter on toast or celery, or try toasted almonds in salads or in vegetable side dishes. Asian cuisine is famous for combining almonds, ginger and garlic to make tasty and healthy dishes. Roasting almonds with ginger is a tasty way to add both healthy ingredients to your diet. Almonds may seem high in calories, but in fact, people who add almonds to their diet twice a week were much less likely to gain weight than those who did not regularly eat nuts. So you should not be afraid to add nuts to your diet.
Almonds and Oxalates
Almond benefits are numerous and almonds are by far some of the most nutritious nuts that you can eat, but they do have some caveats. Almonds are high in oxalates. Oxalates are found in many foods and combined with calcium can form stones. Oxalates are usually not a problem, but those that suffer from kidney stones or gallstones should speak to their doctor about oxalates in their diet. While it is not fully proven that certain foods can cause stones to crystallize, it is better to err on the side of caution.
Just some food for thought: Almonds are a rich source of protein and fiber. They provide 35% of your daily value for Vitamin E and 20% for magnesium, and are a good source for iron and calcium. Write this one down as something you really should think about incorporating into your diet! They are also high in antioxidants including quercetin and kaempferol — these nuts have some major health benefits and are among some wonderful healthy foods to eat. They can aid in weight loss, especially for women; they are good for heart health, and can even help in preventing Alzheimer’s and colon cancer.
So, go out and get your Almonds! We all knew they were good for us, we maybe just did not know how good!