Almonds: Overview, Nutritional Profile, Types, Health Benefits, and Risks

Almonds

Almonds have nutrients that can help stop cancer, make bones stronger, and keep the heart healthy. But almonds might not be good for everyone and might not be good for everyone. People can eat it raw, roasted, or add them to sweet and salty dishes. You can also find them sliced, flaked, slivered, as flour, oil, butter, or almond milk. Even though people call almonds a nut, they are actually seeds. Almond trees might have been some of the first trees people grew on purpose. In Jordan, archaeologists found proof that people grew almond trees about 5,000 years ago. For more research you can also visit Wikipedia. 

What are Almonds?

Almonds are not actually nuts. They are seeds from the fruit of an almond tree. Like cherries, plums, peaches, they are stone fruits. These fruits have a fleshy outer part and a hard pit inside. But for cooking and eating most people think of it as nuts.

What is the Nutritional Profile of Almonds?

They are a calorie-dense food but also packed with nutrients. Most of their fat is monounsaturated, which is considered a healthy type of fat. One ounce of it provides approximately:

  • Calories: 165
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams (with about 80% monounsaturated, 15% polyunsaturated, and 5% saturated)  
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams

This nutrient profile makes it a healthy and satisfying snack.

What are the Types of Almonds?

Here are different types of it. Such as:

  • Aldrich 
  • All in one 
  • Butte 
  • Carmel 
  • Casselman 
  • Ferraduel 
  • Ferragnes 
  • Fritz 
  • Green 
  • Lonestar 
  • Mamra 
  • Jordan 
  • Mission 
  • Ne plus ultra 
  • Nikita 
  • Nonpareil 
  • Peerless 
  • Ruby 
  • Ruby-cabernet 
  • Sonora 
  • Texas mission 
  • Tuono 
  • California 
  • Gurbandi 
  • Sweet 
  • Ferradual 
  • Marcona 
  • Mollar 

What are the Health Benefits of Almonds?

Here are some health benefits of it. Such as:

Almonds Deliver a Massive Amount of Nutrients:

They are the edible seeds of the almond tree, scientifically known as Prunus dulcis. Originally from the Middle East, the United States of America is now the largest producer of almonds. In stores, almonds are usually sold without their shells, either raw or roasted. They are also made into almond milk, oil, butter, flour, pasta, or marzipan. Almonds are very nutritious. A 1-ounce (28 grams) serving of almonds contains:

  • Fiber: 3.5 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams (9 grams are monounsaturated fat)
  • Vitamins E: 48% of the daily value
  • Manganese: 27% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 18% of the DV
  • Plus, a good amount of copper, vitamin B2, (riboflavin), and phosphorus

This small handful of it has 164 calories and 6 grams of carbohydrates, including 3.5 grams of fiber. However, your body does not absorb about 6% of the fats in almonds because they are not accessible to digestive enzymes. They are also high in phytic acid, which binds to certain minerals and prevents them from being absorbed. While phytic acid is a healthy antioxidant, it slightly reduces the amount of iron, zinc, and calcium your body gets from it.

Almonds are Loaded with Antioxidants:

They are an excellent source of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect against oxidative stress, which can harm your cells and lead to inflammation, aging, and disease like cancer. Most of the powerful antioxidants in almonds are found in the brown skin. Because of this, blanched almonds (with the skin removed) have fewer antioxidants and may not reduce inflammation as well. A 2022 analysis of 16 clinical trials with over 800 participants found that eating up to 60 grams (about 2.25 ounces) of almonds per day lowered two markers of inflammation in the body. Another study showed that eating 2 ounces (56 grams) of almonds daily for 12 weeks reduced inflammation markers in a group of over 200 participants aged 16 to 25.

Almonds are High in Vitamin E:

Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble antioxidants. These antioxidants are found in cell membranes in your body, protecting your cells from oxidative damage. They are one of the best sources of vitamin E. Just 1 ounce provides 48% of the daily value. Several studies have linked higher vitamin E intake with lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. However, more research is needed to fully confirm these benefits.

Almonds can Assist with Blood Sugar Control:

Nuts are low in carbs but high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber, making them a great choice for people with diabetes. They are especially good because they have a lot of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that helps with over 300 processes in the body, including blood sugar control. The daily value for magnesium is 420 milligram (mg), and 2 ounces of it provide almost half of that amount, with 153 mg. Interestingly, at least a quarter of people with type 2 diabetes lack enough magnesium. Getting enough magnesium is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and better blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Magnesium may also help reduce insulin resistance in people with and without diabetes. This suggests that food high in magnesium, like it, might help prevent metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, which are serious health issues.

Magnesium Also Benefit Blood Pressure Levels:

The magnesium in almonds may also help lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attack, strokes, and kidney failure. Not having enough magnesium is strongly linked to high blood pressure. Several studies have shown that taking magnesium supplements can significantly lower blood pressure in people with and without high blood pressure, as well as those with chronic diseases. Adding one to two servings of almonds to your diet can help you get enough magnesium, which may improve your health.

Almonds Can Lower Cholesterol Levels:

High levels of low density lipoproteins (LDLs), often called “bad” cholesterol, increase the risk of heart disease. Your diet plays a significant role in LDL levels. Studies suggest that it may help lower LDL cholesterol. In a 6-week study with 107 participants at high risk of cardiovascular disease, a diet containing 20% of calories from it reduced LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 9.7 milligrams (mg) per deciliter (mg/dL). Another study showed that consuming 1.5 ounces (42 grams) of it daily lowered LDL cholesterol by 5.3 mg/dL while maintaining high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), or “good” cholesterol. Participants also experienced a reduction in belly fat.

Almonds Prevent Harmful Oxidation of LDL Cholesterol:

They offer more than just lowering LDL levels in your blood. They also protect LDL from oxidation, which is a critical step in the development of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the narrowing of arteries due to a buildup of fatty plaque on the artery walls, increasing the risk of heart disease. The skin of almonds is rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which have been shown in studies with test tubes and animals to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. This effect may be enhanced when combined with other antioxidants like vitamin E. In a human study with 27 participants, snacking on almonds for one month reduced levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol by 14%. This suggests almonds could potentially lower the risk of heart disease over time, but more research including larger studies involving humans, is needed to confirm this.

Eating Almonds Reduces Hunger:

They are rich in protein and fiber. Both protein and fiber are known to make you feel fuller, which can help prevent overeating. In a 4-week study involving 137 participants, eating a daily serving of 1.5 ounces (43 grams) of it noticeably reduced feelings of hunger and the urge to eat. Many other studies also confirm that nuts, including it, can help curb appetite.

Almonds May Be Effective for Weight Loss:

Nuts contain essential nutrients that are not fully absorbed by your body during digestion, resulting in about 6% of their calories going unabsorbed. There’s also some evidence suggesting that nuts can slightly increase metabolism. Because nuts are filling, they’re a beneficial addition to a weight loss diet. This is supported by solid research. A review of 64 clinical trials and 14 meta-analyses found that almonds were the only nut to show a small but significant reduction in body weight and fat mass. Another study with 100 overweight women showed that those who ate it lost more weight compared to those on a nut-free diet. They also saw improvements in waist size and other health measures. Both studies required participants to follow low-calories diets in addition to consuming it. Despite being high in fat, they are considered a weight loss friendly food. However, almonds and other nuts are calorie-dense, so it’s important to snack on them mindfully. As with any food, moderation is key to maintaining a balanced diet.

Almonds and Cancers:

A study conducted in 2015 examined the relationship between nut consumption and the risk of cancer. Researchers found that individuals who ate higher amounts of peanuts, walnuts, and walnuts had a two to three times lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who consumed fewer nuts. Based on their findings, the authors suggest that peanuts, walnuts, and it may provide protection against the development of breast cancer.

Almonds Boost Bone Health:

They are rich in several essential nutrients for maintaining strong bones. These include calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, vitamin K, protein, and zinc. Each of these nutrients plays a crucial role in bone health. Experts recommended incorporating it into your diet to benefit from these nutrients and support overall bone health.

What are the Risks of Almonds?

There are potential risks associated with the consumption of it, as noted by health experts.

Allergy:

People who have nut allergies should avoid consuming it. If someone experiences symptoms like hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing after eating it, they should seek immediate medical attention. An allergic reaction can escalate rapidly into a life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis. It’s crucial for those with nut allergies to carefully check the packaging of prepackaged foods and to ensure that dishes at restaurants do not contain nuts. Many foods such as cakes, candies, savory dishes, and others potentially contain nuts, posing a risk to those with allergies.

Cooking and Aspiration:

Young children, some older individuals, and anyone who has difficulty swallowing should refrain from consuming whole nuts due to the potential risk of choking. Nuts, especially when eaten whole, can be challenging to chew thoroughly and may pose a choking hazard, particularly for those who have trouble swallowing or for young children whose airways are smaller and less developed. Additionally, individuals with conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or reduced mobility may face a higher risk of aspiration. Aspiration occurs when food or liquid enters the airways instead of the digestive tract. This can happen during swallowing difficulties or when coordination of swallowing muscles is impaired. Aspiration can lead to serious health issues such as pneumonia, as the food or liquid in the lungs can cause infection or inflammation. Therefore, it is important for caregivers and individuals with these conditions to be cautious and consider alternative forms of nuts, such as nut butters or finely chopped nuts, which may be safer to consume.

FAQs:

How many almonds can I eat in a day?

During an event on it, Ritika Samaddar, the Regional Head of Dietetics at Max Healthcare, addressed the question of how many almonds to eat daily. She suggested that for adults, consuming 20-25 almonds a day is a healthy amount. For children, a limit or around 10 almonds a day is a good approach.

Are roasted almonds healthy?

While both roasted and flavored it can be a tasty and healthy snack, it’s important to remember that they can contain unhealthy oils, added salt, and sugar. These additives can increase blood sugar levels, blood pressure, inflammation, and even cholesterol due to the added oils.

How to use almonds?

Because of their sweet but mild flavor, they can be used in a wide range of desserts, from brownies to ice cream. You can add them in various forms, such as chopped it, slivered, almonds, almonds milk, and almond sauce. Since they are a nutritious snack, you can enjoy them guilt-free.

Are almonds good for skin?

Two B vitamins found in it help maintain healthy skin. They provide 25% of the daily value for riboflavin and 6% of the daily value for niacin. They are also a good source of copper, which contributes to skin and hair pigmentation. Additionally, linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid in almonds, helps prevent skin dryness.

Can I eat raw almonds?

Nutritionally, you get more benefits from eating it untoasted or raw. Some people prefer soaking them, while others enjoy them raw with the skins on. The fats in almonds are healthy, including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Does almonds increase memory?

They help improve memory, pistachios nut oils help preserve fatty acids and prevent inflammation, and macadamias contribute to normal brain function. However, the top nut award definitely goes to the walnuts.

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Pistachios: Health Benefits, Nutritional Value, and Effects

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