Eating almonds in moderation promotes lower cholesterol levels, prevents heart disease and can help with weight loss.
Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, with 25g providing 70 percent of the recommended daily allowance. They also have good amounts of magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fibre and are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat. They contain more calcium than any other nut which makes them great for vegetarians who do not eat any dairy products.
They also contain amygdalin, also known as laetrile or vitamin B17, the controversial anti-cancer nutrient.
Almonds contain several phytochemicals including beta-sisterol stigmasterol and campesterol which is thought to contribute to a healthy heart. A handful of almonds a day helps 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. Nearly every research study shows those who eat a traditional Mediterranean diet not only have a lower risk of heart disease and cancer, they also live longer.
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.
One study comparing two groups of dieters eating the same amount of calories found the group eating 500 of their calories from almonds lost more weight. One theory is that almond cell walls may limit the amount of dietary fat available for digestion, or for absorption. Therefore, it is a possibility that a small portion of the calories from almonds may not be completely absorbed by the body. Either way, replacing a given amount of calories in the diet with almonds will not equal the same in weight gain.
High Protein Source
As almonds are 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, 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.