Almonds are one of my favorite foods. I love the taste, the feel, and the texture of this super-food. But until recently I had no idea how good almonds really were for you. I found out that they are one of the most powerful foods that you can find.
I wanted to discover the full extent of the health benefits of almonds, so I decided to locate relevant research and studies done on this amazing food to see exactly how it can improve your health.
If you want to know why this crunchy piece of goodness should be a part of your regular diet, read this article through…
Lower Bad Cholesterol and Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
One of the main health benefits of almonds is that they reduce bad cholesterol levels (LDL-cholesterol) in both healthy individual and those that already show signs of a high level of cholesterol . They are also great for your cardiovascular health.
This may seem surprising as almonds are high in fat. However, it is the good monounsaturated fats which have been shown to promote better heart health. In fact, almonds are considered one of the best sources for healthy fats, the kind your body needs to preserve the health of your brain, to digest vitamins, and for various other functions.
In one study, researchers looked at how diets enriched by monounsaturated fats from almonds, olive oil, or nuts improved markers showing the relative risk of cardiovascular disease. The subjects in the study were divided into 3 groups, each with its own enriched diet by one of the three foods in question .
LDL-Cholesterol, one of main markers studied, was reduced by all three foods. However, the subjects who were on an almonds enriched diet showed the greatest decrease. So, while the health benefits of nuts and olive oil was confirmed, it seems that almonds had an even greater beneficial effect on cardiovascular disease risk markers.
Another study looked at how almonds affect cardiovascular risk in pre-diabetes adults . Just to make it clear, these are adults who do not have diabetes yet, but are more likely to develop it in the future and are already showing some signs of heading in that direction.
The study in question examined 65 subjects with pre-diabetes and divided them into two groups: a control group and a second group who got 20% of their calorie intake from almonds (84 grams each day).
At the end of the 16 week study, the group who ate an almond enriched diet showed significant improvement in insulin sensitivity. This shows how almonds may improve the health of pre-diabetes patients and perhaps those with diabetes as well.
Almonds Help You Lose Weight
In a previous post, I talked about why you should eat nuts to lose weight and much of what I said there also applies to almonds. However, I wanted to bring before you a study which is specific to almonds. I found one which compared almonds to complex carbs in a low calorie diet . The goal of this study was simple: to see which diet produced a greater decrease in weight.
In this study, over 60 overweight and obese people were divided into two groups: the first ate an almond rich diet and the second had their pick of complex carbs. The two diets had similar calorie and protein quantities .
After the 24 weeks of the study were over, all the subjects were tested to examine any changes in their weight and width. The study showed that the people who ate an almond rich diet lost more weight and reduced the width of their waist by a significantly greater amount than those who ate a diet rich with complex carbs. This is why almonds, despite being high in fat and calories, are one of the foods I recommend to have on a diet.
Almonds Are a Treasure Trove of Nutrients
Almonds contain a variety of healthy nutrients, including:
1. Copper – Helps preserve the health of your bones, helps your body properly use iron, is good for the nervous system and for your complexion.
2. Vitamin B2 – Important for cellular health.
3. Manganese – Excellent for your bones, aids the digestion of fats, protects your cells from free radicals, regulates blood sugar levels, and helps to preserve the health of your nerves.
4. Vitamin E – Reduces risk of certain cancers and Alzheimer’s Disease, protects your cells from free radicals, and protects your skin.
Almonds are one of the best foods that you can eat. Whether you want to lose weight or not, almonds are a super-food you should include in your diet. I often eat them with my morning oatmeal, but you can just grab a few as a snack.
It should be noted that almonds are rich in calories so don’t overeat on them. I usually have about 10 each day. It gives me the benefits without me consuming too many calories.
So, there you go. I hope I convinced you why almonds need to be a regular part of your eating routine. Do you like almonds too? Leave me a comment below and let me know.
1. Effects of almond consumption on the reduction of LDL-cholesterol: a discussion of potential mechanisms and future research directions. Berryman CE, Preston AG, Karmally W, Deckelbaum RJ, Kris-Etherton PM. Nutr Rev. 2011 Apr;69(4):171-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00383.x.
2. Crossover study of diets enriched with virgin olive oil, walnuts or almonds. Effects on lipids and other cardiovascular risk markers. Damasceno NR, Pérez-Heras A, Serra M, Cofán M. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011 Jun;21 Suppl 1:S14-20. Epub 2011 Mar 21.
3. Almond consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in adults with prediabetes. Wien M, Bleich D, Raghuwanshi M. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Jun;29(3):189-97.
4. Almonds vs complex carbohydrates in a weight reduction program. Wien MA, Sabaté JM, Iklé DN, Cole SE, Kandeel FR. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Nov;27(11):1365-72.