The nutty almond has quite a fan following. But did you know they could help power up your brain, protect you from cardiovascular disease, and even possibly help with weight loss? These nuts, loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants, have plenty of reason to be part of your daily diet.1 Here are the health benefits of almonds.
1. Slows Down Brain Damage
Almonds are considered brain food with good reason. For the elderly, almond intake could help slow cognitive decline thanks to the high levels of vitamin E in them. Some research also suggests that that the antioxidant vitamin offers the brain protection from neurodegenerative diseases.2 Separate studies have also shown that consuming alpha-tocopherol (a type of vitamin E) – equivalent to about 2000 IU of vitamin E – daily could
2. Boosts The Body’s Natural Antioxidants
Almonds contain antioxidants that can help fight oxidative stress in your body. In one study, consuming the tree nut with meals was found to cause less oxidative protein damage in the body.4 In the case of smokers whose bodies showed oxidative stress-linked damage, consuming 84 gm of almonds (approximately 3 oz) daily helped lower biomarkers of oxidative stress by as much as 23 to 24 percent over the course of a 4-week test. Almond intake also helped boost
3. Fights Inflammation
The antioxidants in almonds can also help fight inflammation in the body. As researchers explain, oxidative stress often triggers inflammation in our bodies. And because nuts like almonds give the body antioxidant protection against oxidative stress, they can help reduce inflammation too.6
The fatty acids in almonds may also help fight inflammation. One study found that taking 68 gm of the nuts helped reduce some inflammatory markers, indicating a potential role against inflammatory conditions.7
id="lowers-cardiovascular-disease-risk">4. Lowers Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Simply swapping your regular carb-laden snack for a handful of almonds could do wonders for your cardiovascular health. It could also help ward off cardiometabolic diseases. As one piece of research found, almond consumption helped reduce LDL cholesterol as well as abdominal obesity – both considered risk factors for cardiometabolic dysfunction. HDL cholesterol, often referred to as “good” cholesterol, remained steady. Just 1.5 oz of almonds a day can make a difference if you have them in lieu of a carbohydrate-heavy snack.8
Almonds skin also contain antioxidants or polyphenolic compounds that can help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.9 This is something that is critical when it comes to heart disease.
5. Improves Lipid Profile And Glucose Control In Diabetics
If you have type 2 diabetes, having almonds can help improve lipid profile and bring about better glycemic control. In one study, 20 percent of the daily intake of calories was swapped for almonds (about 60 gm) for 4 weeks. The patients saw a drop in their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels dropped and the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol became more favorable.10
Almonds are, among other things, a good source of magnesium. A study found that for diabetics with low magnesium levels, restoring the levels of the mineral through oral supplements could help improve insulin sensitivity as well as metabolic control.11 It also helped non-diabetics with hypomagnesemia see improved insulin sensitivity.12
6. Helps With Weight Loss
Almonds could even help with weight loss and belly fat loss. The study that required test subjects to consume almonds instead of high-carb snacks found that, besides helping drop levels of total non-HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, they reduced fat accumulation around the midriff or belly.13
Almonds help weight loss by offering satiety too. After having some almonds as a snack, you are likely to
7. Lowers Blood Pressure
Insufficient dietary intake of magnesium can bring on blood pressure problems. And as research now tells us, the average American certainly isn’t getting enough of it. This low intake of magnesium if corrected could also help set blood pressure levels right.17 One study found that taking oral magnesium could help significantly bring down both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in diabetic patients who had hypertension and were deficient in magnesium.18 With about 270 mg of magnesium in every 100 gm, almonds are definitely a source of magnesium you can bank on.19
8. Fortifies Bone And Teeth Health
Your bones as well as teeth need phosphorus and calcium to stay strong, healthy, and durable.20 21 Not getting enough can cause osteoporosis and bone loss. Almonds contain 481 mg of phosphorus and 269 mg of calcium in a 100 gm serving, making them a great source of these nutrients.22
9. Eases Constipation And Aids Digestion
Studies have found that increasing fiber intake can ease constipation by helping increase stool frequency for most people.23 With 12.5 gm of fiber in each 100 gm serving, almonds can make a world of difference to someone with constipation.24 The combination of soluble and insoluble fiber helps bulk up your stools. However, be sure to balance this increased fiber intake with adequate water intake to ease constipation.
Almonds may also have more far-reaching benefits for your gut health. They may have prebiotic properties that can help favorably alter the balance of gut flora. In one study, it was found that consuming almonds helped stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the gut.25
10. Wards Off Cancer
Almonds may also be a formidable ally when it comes to cancer prevention and immune system strengthening. Antioxidants found in almonds can help reduce the risk of cancer by protecting you against free radical damage. They also defend you against damage from reactive oxygen molecules. Research has found that taking vitamin E, especially if you are under 65 years old, could reduce your risk of colon cancer.26 Another study found that taking alpha-tocopherol could significantly cut the risk of prostate cancer incidence as well mortality among male smokers.27
11. Prevents Damage To Nerves
The vitamin B12 in almonds is a great way to get in your daily recommended level of the nutrient. Cobalamin or B12 is required by the body to maintain a healthy network of nerve cells.28 A deficiency of B12 can actually cause white matter in your central nervous system to degenerate. Getting adequate levels of this vitamin as well as folate, another vitamin found in almonds, can help prevent a number of disorders of the central nervous system. It can also lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, dementias, and vascular dementia in the elderly.29
12. Builds Muscles
Your body needs adequate protein levels to build muscle. Getting in that little extra can go a long way in helping enhance your muscle strength.30Almonds are a great source of protein and an easy way to consume good amounts of the macronutrient without too much fuss. Each 100 gm serving contains a generous 21 gm of protein.31 Simply toss a few into your smoothie or post-workout drink and you’re good to go.
13. Helps Muscles Function Well
The best part about almonds? They don’t just help you build muscles but also help keep them in good working order thanks to their magnesium content. About 100 gm of almonds contain 270 mg of the mineral.32 Your muscles require electrolytes including magnesium to be present in the right amounts – when your body doesn’t get enough you may experience tremors or muscle weakness or feel confused or lethargic.33 And as it turns out, almonds contain nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and calcium in the right nutritional density or ratios.34
14. Boosts Energy
Almonds are an energy-dense food that can help provide you with healthy calories for your body to burn and to fuel it. Just 1 almond gives you 7 Cal to work with, making it a quick and easy way to pack in calories without feeling like you’ve eaten a lot.35 Just a handful can power you up or even help with post-workout recovery.
15. Strengthens Immunity And Fights Fever
Historically, almonds have been used in some cultures to fight fevers. It is believed they help purge a fever as opposed to just cooling it down.36 More recently, researchers have said that almond skin has immune-boosting effects on the body. In one study, immune markers all improved after exposure to digested natural almond skins. They concluded that almond skin may have strong antiviral properties, helping stimulate your body’s immune defense system.37
16. Improves Male Sexual Health
Almonds contain monounsaturated fats that your body needs to produce testosterone, the male sex hormone needed to keep the reproductive system and sex drive working well. In one study where animal test subjects were given a herbal medication containing almonds, researchers found that improvement in testosterone levels as well as sperm count.38
Arginine, an amino acid found in almonds, is known to act as a vasodilator, relaxing your blood vessels, easing pressure, and helping improve blood circulation.39 This is important for anyone who has erectile dysfunction linked to impaired blood flow to the penis or high blood pressure problems.40
17. Can Treat PCOS
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that causes periods to go awry and brings imbalance in levels of male and female sex hormones in the body. Consuming almonds could help bring a favorable change to androgens in women and, thereby, ease the problem.41
It doesn’t stop there! Myo-inositol (MI) is a component of vitamin B complex and your body produces it using glucose. MI helps regulate hormones, insulin levels, and ovarian function. Almonds are a rich natural dietary source of a free form of MI (phytic acid) and can help with PCOS-related issues like metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.42
18. Provides Essential Nutrition During Pregnancy
Almonds have about 44 mcg of folate per 100 gm of the nuts,43 which meets about 7.3% of a pregnant woman’s folate requirement. Folate is a vital nutrient during pregnancy and is needed to prevent birth defects, including neural tube defects that can manifest shortly after conception. Research suggests that taking a folic acid supplement even before you conceive as well as through the first trimester can help significantly cut the risk of neural tube defects. It could also reduce the risk of miscarriage and even of autism.44 Some almond power could be just what the doctor ordered if you are pregnant!
19. Moisturizes Skin And Protects From Sun Damage
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun has been implicated in photoaging of the skin. Researchers have tried to see if pre-treatment or application of certain natural products has a protective effect against this radiation. One study on animal test subjects found that the topical application of almond oil to the skin was able to slow down the photoaging process and even prevent some of the structural damage that UV radiation causes to the skin.45 Separate studies have found that the alpha-tocopherol and polyphenols in almonds have photoprotective effects. They could help you combat the inflammation, oxidative stress, and superficial reddening of the skin known as erythema caused by exposure to UV radiation.46
Almond oil itself has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 5.47 This isn’t that high so it cannot be a substitute for your standard sunscreens. But almond oil can help moisturize dry, sun-damaged skin and add a layer of additional protection for it before sun exposure.To use almond oil as an emollient, simply apply to your skin to keep it moisturized and hydrated. Finish up with a good sunscreen for protection.
Using Almond Oil To Fight Stretch Marks: Pros And Cons
Stretch marks are a common problem afflicting anyone who’s gained and lost a lot of weight – including women after pregnancy and childbirth. Keeping your skin well-hydrated and moisturized is a popular alternative approach to battling the problem. Almond oil is one such oil that’s been tried as a remedy thanks to its emollient properties. However, while some swear by it, other researchers say that there are not enough scientific tests to prove its effectiveness.48 Also, there are some concerns that using almond oil regularly during pregnancy may be linked to preterm births – another claim that needs to be proven definitively. However, given the nature of the side effect, play it safe and avoid using it unless your doctor clears it first.49
20. Wards Off Acne, Blackheads, Whiteheads
Make your own almond scrub
- Blend together 1/2 cup almonds, 2 tbsps lemon juice, and 1 tbsp honey
- Dilute with water as needed.
- Or blend almonds with milk or cream and apply.
- Apply and massage your skin in small, circular motion. Wash once dry.
An almond face scrub made from crushed soaked almonds and cream or honey can be a wonderful all-natural way to cleanse your skin and scrub away dead skin and impurities. A natural exfoliant, they can help absorb excess sebum and clear buildup associated with acne and reduce the problem of both blackheads and whiteheads.50 Since it is gentle and soothing, it shouldn’t leave your skin feeling raw or irritated unlike with a harsher scrub.51
21. Nourishes Hair, Inside And Out
Make your own almond hair conditioner
- Mash soaked almonds with a generous amount of olive oil.
- Apply it to the hair.
- Leave in a for a few minutes before washing away with a mild shampoo.
Almonds can be great for the hair inside and out. Rich in vitamin E, the nut can help protect your hair against oxidative stress, free radical damage, graying, and sun damage.52 Taking the nutrient as a supplement has even helped improve hair growth in people experiencing hair loss due to alopecia.53 A 100 gm of almonds contain about 25.6 mg of vitamin E.54
Have 1 Oz Or 23 Almonds A Day
Almonds should be fine for you to consume daily unless you have a cholesterol problem. In this case, however, you should first consult your doctor to check how much is okay for you to have. Having a few of these nutrient-dense nuts daily seems to have more beneficial effects, so you can have them in controlled amounts. Just be wary of binging on them. They are high in calories, with 100 gm packing a whopping 579 Calories! They also contain a lot of fat even if it is the good kind – every 100 gm contain 50 gm.55 Restrict your serving to just one a day. That’s just about a handful – an ounce, a quarter cup, or about 23 nuts.
Have Roasted Almonds
Raw versus roasted, skin on or off? Everyone has their own way of eating almonds. But the nutrients you get from the nut differ depending on what form you have them in. Ayurveda suggests soaking almonds and removing the skin before eating to make them easier to digest and to enable easier access to the nutrients it contains.
However, other research has found that much of the antioxidant power of almonds lies in its skin. So when you blanch them or remove the brown skin, you are also stripping it of a considerable amount of its goodness. If you’re buying almonds that have been processed, it is best to stick to roasted ones. As one study found, roasted almonds had the best antioxidant profile compared to those blanched and dried and those freeze-dried.56
Also if you’re aiming for gut health or lipid lowering effects from almond intake, it is better eaten with the skin on because that’s where the beneficial flavonoids are.57
Ideas For How To Eat Almonds
Here are some easy ways to include almonds in your diet, if you don’t fancy eating them plain.
- Grind them up into a powder (almond meal) to use as a flour substitute to bake delicious cakes and puddings.
- Shred or sliver them to add crunch to a salad.
- Whizz a few into a smoothie with milk or yogurt and dates or a banana and honey.
- Make almond milk using almonds soaked overnight whizzed up with water, instead of dairy.
- Toss almonds into your next savory stew or casserole.
- Add some to a batch of brownies or liven up fudge with almond bits.
- Make homemade granola with almonds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, and oats.
|↑1, ↑19, ↑22, ↑43, ↑55||Nuts, almonds. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.|
|↑2||Morris, Martha Clare, Denis A. Evans, Julia L. Bienias, Christine C. Tangney, and Robert S. Wilson. “Vitamin E and cognitive decline in older persons.” Archives of neurology 59, no. 7 (2002): 1125-1132.|
|↑3||Sano, Mary, Christopher Ernesto, Ronald G. Thomas, Melville R. Klauber, Kimberly Schafer, Michael Grundman, Peter Woodbury et al. “A controlled trial of selegiline, alpha-tocopherol, or both as treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.” New England Journal of Medicine 336, no. 17 (1997): 1216-1222.|
|↑4||Jenkins, David JA, Cyril WC Kendall, Andrea R. Josse, Sara Salvatore, Furio Brighenti, Livia SA Augustin, Peter R. Ellis, Edward Vidgen, and A. Venket Rao. “Almonds decrease postprandial glycemia, insulinemia, and oxidative damage in healthy individuals.” The Journal of nutrition 136, no. 12 (2006): 2987-2992.|
|↑5||Li, Ning, Xudong Jia, C-Y. Oliver Chen, Jeffrey B. Blumberg, Yan Song, Wenzhong Zhang, Xiaopeng Zhang, Guansheng Ma, and Junshi Chen. “Almond consumption reduces oxidative DNA damage and lipid peroxidation in male smokers.” The Journal of nutrition 137, no. 12 (2007): 2717-2722.|
|↑6||Blomhoff, Rune, Monica H. Carlsen, Lene Frost Andersen, and David R. Jacobs. “Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants.” British Journal of Nutrition 96, no. S2 (2006): S52-S60.|
|↑7||Rajaram, Sujatha, Kristianne M. Connell, and Joan Sabaté. “Effect of almond-enriched high-monounsaturated fat diet on selected markers of inflammation: a randomised, controlled, crossover study.” British Journal of Nutrition 103, no. 06 (2010): 907-912.|
|↑8, ↑13||Berryman, Claire E., Sheila G. West, Jennifer A. Fleming, Peter L. Bordi, and Penny M. Kris‐Etherton. “Effects of daily almond consumption on cardiometabolic risk and abdominal adiposity in healthy adults with elevated LDL‐cholesterol: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of the American Heart Association 4, no. 1 (2015): e000993.|
|↑9||Chen, Chung-Yen, Paul E. Milbury, Shin-Kyo Chung, and Jeffrey Blumberg. “Effect of almond skin polyphenolics and quercetin on human LDL and apolipoprotein B-100 oxidation and conformation.” The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 18,
|↑10||Li, Sing-Chung, Yen-Hua Liu, Jen-Fang Liu, Wen-Hsin Chang, Chiao-Ming Chen, and C-Y. Oliver Chen. “Almond consumption improved glycemic control and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.” Metabolism 60, no. 4 (2011): 474-479.|
|↑11||Rodríguez-Morán, Martha, and Fernando Guerrero-Romero. “Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity and metabolic control
|↑12||Guerrero-Romero, F., H. E. Tamez-Perez, G. eal González-González, A. M. Salinas-Martinez, J. Montes-Villarreal, J. H. Trevino-Ortiz, and M. Rodriguez-Moran. “Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic subjects with insulin resistance. A double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial.” Diabetes & metabolism 30, no. 3 (2004): 253-258.|
|↑14||Chambers, Lucy, Keri McCrickerd, and Martin R. Yeomans. “Optimising foods for satiety.” Trends in Food Science & Technology 41, no. 2 (2015): 149-160.|
|↑15||Tan, Sze Yen, and R. D. Mattes. “Appetitive, dietary and health effects of almonds consumed with meals or as snacks: a randomized, controlled trial.” European journal of clinical nutrition 67, no. 11 (2013): 1205-1214.|
|↑16||Wien, M. A., J. M. Sabate, D. N. Ikle, S. E. Cole, and F. R.
|↑17||Magnesium.University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑18||Guerrero-Romero, F., and M. Rodriguez-Moran. “The effect of lowering blood pressure by magnesium supplementation in diabetic hypertensive adults with low serum magnesium levels: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Journal of human hypertension 23, no. 4 (2009): 245-251.|
|↑20||Phosphorus. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑21||Calcium. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑23||Yang, Jing, Hai-Peng Wang, Li Zhou, and Chun-Fang Xu. “Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: a meta analysis.” World J Gastroenterol 18, no. 48 (2012): 7378-83.|
|↑24||Nuts, almonds.United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.|
|↑25||Mandalari, G., C. Nueno-Palop, G. Bisignano, M. S. J. Wickham, and A. Narbad. “Potential prebiotic properties of almond (Amygdalus communis L.) seeds.” Applied and environmental microbiology 74, no. 14 (2008): 4264-4270.|
|↑26||Bostick, Roberd M., John D. Potter, David R. McKenzie, Thomas A. Sellers, Lawrence H. Kushi, Kristi A. Steinmetz, and Aaron R. Folsom. “Reduced risk of colon cancer with high intake of vitamin E: the Iowa Women’s Health Study.” Cancer research 53, no. 18 (1993): 4230-4237.|
|↑27||Heinonen, Olli P., Leopold Koss, Demetrius Albanes, Philip R. Taylor, Anne M. Hartman, Brenda K. Edwards, Jarmo Virtamo et al. “Prostate cancer and supplementation with α-tocopherol and β-carotene: incidence and mortality in a controlled trial.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 90, no. 6 (1998): 440-446.|
|↑28||Vitamin B12. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑29||Reynolds, Edward. “Vitamin B12, folic acid, and the nervous system.” The lancet neurology 5, no. 11 (2006): 949-960.|
|↑30||Bosse, John D., and Brian M. Dixon. “Dietary protein to maximize resistance training: a review and examination of protein spread and change theories.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 9, no. 1 (2012): 42.|
|↑31, ↑32, ↑35, ↑54||Nuts, almonds. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.|
|↑33||Astle, Sonia M. “Restoring electrolyte balance.” (2005).|
|↑34||Ros, Emilio. “Health benefits of nut consumption.” Nutrients 2, no. 7 (2010): 652-682.|
|↑36||Albala, Ken. “Almonds along the silk road: the exchange and adaptation of ideas from West to East.” Petits Propos Culinaires 88 (2009): 19-34.|
|↑37||Greg Arnold, D. C. “Almond Skins May Help with Immunity.”|
|↑38||Mangalagiri Mandal, Guntur Dt. “Therapeutic Applications of Almonds (Prunus amygdalus L): A Review.” (2012).|
|↑39||Brufau, Gemma, Josep Boatella, and Magda Rafecas. “Nuts: source of energy and macronutrients.” British Journal of Nutrition 96, no. S2 (2006): S24-S28.|
|↑40||Causes of erectile dysfunction. National Health Service.|
|↑41||Kalgaonkar, S., R. U. Almario, D. Gurusinghe, E. M. Garamendi, W. Buchan, Kyoungmi Kim, and Siddika E. Karakas. “Differential effects of walnuts vs almonds on improving metabolic and endocrine parameters in PCOS.” European journal of clinical nutrition 65, no. 3 (2011): 386-393.|
|↑42||Porcaro, Giusi, Mariano Bizzarri, Giovanni Monastra, Piero Filati, and Vittorio Unfer. “Strategies for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) women: the role of myoinositol (MI) and d-chiro-inositol (DCI) between diet and therapy.” Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): clinical aspects, potential complications and dietary management. Hauppauge, NY: Nova science publishers (2016).|
|↑44||Vitamin B9 Folic Acid. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑45||Sultana, Yasmin, Kanchan Kohli, M. Athar, R. K. Khar, and M. Aqil. “Effect of pre‐treatment of almond oil on ultraviolet B–induced cutaneous photoaging in mice.” Journal of cosmetic dermatology 6, no. 1 (2007):14-19.|
|↑46||Evans-Johnson, Julie A., Jonathan A. Garlick, Elizabeth J. Johnson, Xiang-Dong Wang, and C-Y. Oliver Chen. “A pilot study of the photoprotective effect of almond phytochemicals in a 3D human skin equivalent.” Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology 126 (2013): 17-25.|
|↑47||Kaur, Chanchal Deep, and Swarnlata Saraf. “In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics.” Pharmacognosy research 2, no. 1 (2010): 22.|
|↑48||Elsaie, Mohamed L., Leslie S. Baumann, and Lotfy T. Elsaaiee. “Striae distensae (stretch marks) and different modalities of therapy: an update.” Dermatologic Surgery 35, no. 4 (2009): 563-573.|
|↑49||Facchinetti, F., G. Pedrielli, G. Benoni, M. Joppi, G. Verlato, G. Dante, S. Balduzzi, and L. Cuzzolin. “Herbal supplements in pregnancy: unexpected results from a multicentre study.” Human reproduction 27, no. 11 (2012): 3161-3167.|
|↑50||Acne: Who gets and causes.American Academy of Dermatology.|
|↑51||Lees, Mark. Skin care: beyond the basics. Cengage Learning, 2013.|
|↑52||Trueb, Ralph M. “Oxidative stress in ageing of hair.” International journal of trichology 1, no. 1 (2009): 6.|
|↑53||Beoy, Lim Ai, Wong Jia Woei, and Yuen Kah Hay. “Effects of tocotrienol supplementation on hair growth in human volunteers.” Tropical life sciences research 21, no. 2 (2010): 91.|
|↑56||Garrido, I., M. Monagas, C. Gómez‐Cordovés, and B. Bartolomé. “Polyphenols and antioxidant properties of almond skins: influence of industrial processing.” Journal of Food Science 73, no. 2 (2008): C106-C115.|
|↑57||Chung-Yen, Chen, Paul E. Milbury, Karen Lapsley, and Jeffrey B. Blumberg. “Flavonoids from Almond Skins Are Bioavailable and Act Synergistically with Vitamins C and E to Enhance Hamster and Human LDL Resistance to Oxidation1, 2.” The Journal of Nutrition 135, no. 6 (2005): 1366.|