Nutritional Benefits of Almond

almonds (Wikimedia Image)Almond nut is one of the most popular edible nuts that we know. We see and taste it in ice cream, marzipan, nougat, cookies, pastries, cakes, chocolate bars, and other sweets and desserts. What we like about almond is its crunchiness and tastiness that we could not resist. Nothing can beat roasted almonds during movie time, recess time, and office breaks. Chocolate ice cream with almonds is a perfect summer treat. Kids love to bake and eat cookies with almond nuts. Almond has a unique taste and aroma that everyone will surely enjoy.

Would you believe that almond is not actually a nut but the seed of a drupe? A drupe is a fruit consisting of an outer hull and a hard shell with the seed (“nut”) inside. This makes almond not related to peanuts and legumes. It is instead related to the Rosaceae or Rose family in which apricot, peach, and cherry belong. The almond tree, Prunus dulcis, is a deciduous tree that grows between 4 and 10 meters high.

Almond is a native to the Mediterranean region but now cultivated in many parts of the world including the USA, China, Spain, and North Africa. It has been cultivated since early Bronze Age (3000-2000 BC).

Almond is not only an ordinary delicious snack but also a very healthy snack. It is one of nature’s most nutritious edible seeds. Many studies have found that almond provides numerous health benefits to our body. Almond is rich in phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals that help our body fight diseases. Continue reading to learn the amazing nutritional benefits of almonds.

Nutritional Benefits of Almonds

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Good Source of Antioxidants

Almond contains flavonoids and Vitamin E. These are among the many antioxidants that help our body fight cancer, heart disease, inflammation, and other diseases. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals, highly reactive atoms the damage cells and cause disease.

Almonds Fight Cancer

Cancer is one of the leading causes of human mortality worldwide. It is believed that cancer is caused by DNA damage. DNA is the genetic material that tells cells what to do. When it is damaged, cells would behave abnormally such as the development of tumors or cancers. With the help of almond’s antioxidants, free radicals are neutralized before they damage DNA and cause cancer.

Good to the Heart

Almond is high in fat but still healthy. How is that possible? Fats are supposed to be bad to our health.

Actually, not all fats are bad to our health because there are fats that are good to our heart. Almond is high in monounsaturated fats, the same health-promoting fats found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Epidemiological studies show that consumption of foods rich in monounsaturated fats is linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

Kick Out the Bad Cholesterols

Almond consumption can help reduce the level of LDL cholesterols in our blood. LDL cholesterols are termed as the bad cholesterols because they are directly linked to clogging of arteries – a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Both the monounsaturated fats and Vitamin E contribute to the cholesterol-lowering effect of almond.

Almond cannot only lower LDL cholesterol level in the blood but can also increase HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is what nutritionists call as the good cholesterol. It keeps our cardiovascular system healthy.

Protection against Diabetes

Studies show that almond consumption may help lessen after-meal surges in blood sugar. This will help prevent not only diabetes but also cardiovascular diseases. Researchers found out that eating almonds along with high sugar meal could lessen the rise in blood sugar after meal.

Magnesium for the Heart

We can get 99 mg of magnesium in a quarter-cup of almonds. That is already 24.7% of the daily value for the important mineral. Magnesium is not an ordinary mineral; it is our body’s calcium channel blocker. It relaxes arteries and veins to lessen resistance and improve the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout our body. If blood vessels are relaxed, there is little burden to the heart to pump blood because there is little resistance.

Potassium for the Body

Almond is rich in potassium (728mg/100g of almonds), an important electrolyte involved in nerve transmission and contraction of muscles including the heart. We need adequate amount of potassium to maintain normal blood pressure and heart function. However, too much potassium is not healthy so we should control our intake of foods with high potassium content

Almonds for Weight Loss

Studies show that an almond-enriched low calorie diet can contribute to weight loss. It is better than low calorie diet high in complex carbohydrates.

Eating nuts like almonds may lower risk of weight gain. Studies show that people who ate nuts at least twice a week were much less likely to gain weight than those who almost never ate nuts like almonds.

Almonds for Energy Production

Almond is a good source of copper and manganese, two trace minerals involved in energy production in the mitochondrion. These minerals are essential cofactors of superoxide dismutase, an oxidative enzyme involved in energy production inside the mitochondrion. One quarter of almonds provides 20.0% of the daily value for copper and 45.0% of the daily value for manganese.

Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is also found in almonds. Seventeen percent of the daily value for this vitamin can be obtained from almonds.  Like manganese and copper, riboflavin is involved in oxygen-based energy production. This vitamin is also involved in the recycling of glutathione in the mitochondrion. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that protects the mitochondrion from damage.

Proteins for the Body

Almond is rich in proteins too. One hundred grams of almonds contain 22 grams of proteins. Proteins are important to our body because they play many important roles.

Conclusion

Regular consumption of almonds is a great way to keep your body healthy and strong. Buy almonds now and enjoy the many health benefits that these nuts could offer.[ad#afterpost]