Benefits of Almonds – Why are they important?

Almonds have been known for their health benefits for a long period now. Almonds originated from shores of the Mediterranean, northern Africa and Indian peninsula. Passed on through several generations from ancient civilisations, almonds have now become famous worldwide for their nutritional benefits. In Indian, almonds are even believed to be good  for improving brain cognitive abilities, and longevity.

Even though almonds are not a ‘true nut’ in the scientific sense, but they are considered to be nuts in common parlance. Almonds are a wonderful source of dietary fibre, antioxidants, proteins, minerals like calcium and magnesium, and vitamins.

Benefits of Almonds

Lets have a brief look at the nutritional values of the almonds to highlight the mineral and vitamin content of the almonds. The table also provides an insight into what 100 grams can offer in terms of a percentage of the Recommended Dietary Allowances or RDA.

Nutritional facts of almonds per 100 grams or 3.5Oz(3)

                                                      Amount in almonds                                       

Energy                                                      576 Kcal 

Carbohydrates                                        21.69 g                          

Dietary fiber                                           12.2 g              

Fat                                                            49.42 g

           Saturated                                             3.731 g

           Monounsaturated                              30.889 g

           Polyunsaturated                                 12.070 g

Protein                                                    21.22 g

Minerals                                                                                     RDA (4)            % of RDA

            Calcium                                      264 mg                       1000                       26%

            Iron                                             3.72 mg                      13.7-15                    12-27%      

           Magnesium                                268 mg                       420                          65%

           Manganese                                2.285 mg                      2.3                          105%

           Phosphorus                               484 mg                         700                         69%

           Potassium                                  705 mg                        4700                        15%

           Sodium                                       1 mg                              1500                       0%

           Zinc                                             3.08 mg                          11                          32%

Vitamins

           Vitamin A                                 1 IU

           Thiamine (B1)                         0.211 mg                           1.2                          18%

           Riboflavin (B2)                       1.014 mg                           1.3                          78%

           Niacin (B3)                              3.385 mg                          16                           21%

           Pantothenic acid (B5)           0.469 mg                          5                             9%

           Vitamin B6                              0.143 mg                          1.3                           11%

           Folate (B9)                               50 μg                                400                        12.5%

          Choline                                      52.1 mg                            550                        11%

          Vitamin C                                  0 mg                                 90

          Vitamin D                                 0 μg                                   15

         Vitamin E                                  26.2 mg                            15                             175%

         Vitamin K                                  0.0 μg                               120

The RDA mentioned above is for a healthy 44 year old male.

Even a brief look at the table will give you an idea about the nutritional highlights of almonds. They are really good source of dietary fibre, calcium, magnesium, manganese and Vitamin E.

Almonds are good for heart

Almonds have a unique cocktail of ingredients which are good for heart. They have MUFAs or Mono-unsaturated fatty acids along with anti-oxidants like Vitamin E which are great for endothelial lining of blood vessels of heart. This reduces inflammation, which is a key event in development of fatty plaques inside the blood vessel walls. 

Almonds have been shown to reduce bad cholesterol, Low density lipoprotein(LDL).

Almonds being low in saturated fatty acids, and rich in unsaturated fatty acids provide help improve lipid profile benefitting the heart.  Almonds have certain other cardioprotective nutrients like α-tocopherol, arginine, magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium, and potassium. Mechanisms responsible for the LDL cholesterol reduction observed with almond consumption are likely associated with the nutrients almonds provide.(3)

Almonds also help in weight loss, better sugar control in diabetics and also help in blood pressure control.

Therefore, consumption of almonds instead of a carbohydrate snack is a simple strategy to achieve a healthy heart.



Almonds are good for reducing cholesterol

The cholesterol profile improving effects of almonds has been widely established. The lowering of bad cholesterol, Low density lipoprotein or LDL is because of the presence of heart favourable lipid content, high fibre, phytosterol and antioxidants. (4)  LDL cholesterol is highly affected by what you eat. Almonds have been shown to consistently reduce LDL in healthy individuals, and in individuals with high cholesterol and diabetes. These effects have been seen in both controlled and free-living settings.(3)

Almonds are rich source of antioxidants

Antioxidants as the name suggests, help fight oxidants and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an important factor in causing damage to inner lining of blood vessels, also known as endothelium causing risk to your heart. Besides cardiovascular diseases, oxidative stress has been postulated to be associated with development of cancer, diabetes, and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

Antioxidants are also believed to improve skin tone and reduce wrinkling.

Even though the role of antioxidant supplements in reducing risk of cancer and cardiovascular remains debatable, naturally occurring antioxidants like those in almonds are still recommended for their potential health benefits.

Almonds help improve sugar control in diabetics

The combination of healthy fats, high dietary fibres and low carbohydrates makes it a good food for improving glycemic control. High amounts of magnesium also help in improving sugar profile. Almonds reduce hunger and desire to eat, besides improving the post meal handling of increased blood glucose levels.

Almonds help fight obesity

Almonds have been shown to be beneficial in reducing weight and fighting obesity. This might be because of their high dietary fibre content and a favourable lipid composition. Studies have shown that participants on almond snack instead of a muffin snack had significant reduction in abdominal and leg adiposity, even when there was no difference in calorie intake. This was also substantiated with an objective decrease in waist circumference. (4)

Almonds reduce waist circumference

Almonds are good source of Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency has been shown to be associated with cardiovascular disease like coronary artery disease,hypertension, and cardiac rhythm abnormalities. It is also hypothesised to be related to occurrence of diabetes mellitus, liver cirrhosis and diseases of the thyroid and parathyroid glands.

The daily dietary intake of magnesium is however frequently found to be below that recommended in Western countries.(5) The same is perhaps true in rest of the world as well.

Almonds being a rich source of Magnesium, are good supplements for making up the magnesium deficiency in the regular diet.

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7 thoughts on “Benefits of Almonds – Why are they important?

  1. I am really surprised to see so many nutritional values of almonds. In almost all the indian families, as practice people do eat almonds in the morning and the elders say that its good for health.
    But the numbers presented above gives the proof to those nutritional values.
    Good article.

  2. I didn’t know that almonds were so important and that they have so many benefits on health. We should eat more almonds I guess.

  3. It is very good to note that almonds have all these nutritional benefits. They are delicious to eat on its own, plain salted, various spices or with chocolate.

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