It’s important to consume a moderated amount of nuts and seeds as a part of your diet to stay healthy. Almonds, being one of the most commonly found and popular ones, are consumed in abundance in India and around the world.
With newer vegan trends, almond milk, butter and a variety of other almond treats are gaining popularity as well. But, how healthy and beneficial are almonds for you?
We decode some of the health benefits and tell you the best ways to have them for good skin, body and overall health!
Why are almonds such a preferred snack?
Almonds come in a lot of shapes, sizes, variety and make for a wholesome punch.
In fact, a lot of people consider almonds to be the clear winner- in both the taste and health benefit category, of all nuts.
Experts say that one of the reasons why almonds outrank all other nuts and seeds is its rich and impressive nutrient profile.
A handful of almonds (roughly 28 grams) contains:
Fibre: 3.5 grams
Protein: 6 grams
Carbs: 2.5 grams
Fat: 14 grams
37% recommended Vitamin E
32% recommended Magnesium
Here are some other benefits of having almonds regularly:
They can lower your blood cholesterol
One of the best benefits of having almonds regularly is that they can help control and lower your cholesterol levels, therefore, it is beneficial for people with high BP.
According to studies, almonds lower the level of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body and fill you up with Vitamin E, magnesium and potassium which further cut on toxins and promote uncoagulated blood flow through the arteries and veins. Good blood flow paves way for a healthier heart!
Good for your bones
It’s a big tall myth that vegans are deprived of essential calcium by avoiding dairy. Depending on natural almond milk can help too.
The next time you want to fill up on the calcium dosage, chomp on some almonds. If you must know, almonds contain upto 1/4th calcium levels as milk and strengthen bones, reduce your risk of developing fractures, injuries and tears.
There’s also an added benefit to this- the high level of phosphorus present in almonds can support your skeletal health well.
Rich in antioxidants
Almonds score extremely high on antioxidants- which prevent inflammation, reduce levels of oxidative stress, keep you happy, prevent the risk of grave problems like cancer and slow down ageing as well. Vitamin E rich antioxidants help promote the growth of cell linings and newer cells in the body.
Consumption of almonds has also been linked to lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well.
It should be noted that the high antioxidant profile is highly present in the brown skin of the almonds.
Good for diabetic patients
There are few nuts and seeds which are best suited for patients with high blood sugar levels, and almonds are one of them.
Since almonds are fairly low on carbs and have good fibre, they assist people with unmanaged blood sugar readings to maintain good glucose readings. Another benefit is the high concentration of magnesium in it, which helps promote better blood sugar control, improve insulin function since a lot of diabetic patients are also deficient in magnesium.
Smaller studies over the years have also observed that consumption of almonds can prevent problems like Type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and related illnesses.
Reduces hunger and calorie intake
Almonds also make for a preferred snacking option for weight watchers. Reason being, the low carb and calories count it has.
Since almonds are also relatively high on protein and fibre, it helps promote satiety in the body, makes you crave less and ultimately, may have an effect on your hunger levels.
Feeling full and achieving satiety in a lower than usual calorie intake is one of the key factors for weight loss and management.
In one study, it was observed that having a low-calorie diet, supplemented by 80 grams of almonds increased weight loss by upto 62%, as compared to a diet containing complex carbohydrates.
Plus, since it’s an easy snacking option, it cuts down the need for one to have junk, calorie-laden options.
Relieves stress levels
If you are looking for a good dietary fix which can reduce your stress levels and make you feel at ease, start increasing your intake of almonds.
Selenium, which is yet another important trace mineral present in almonds, along with the fatty acids help fight depression, anxiety, strengthen immunity and encourage your body to rest, relieving aggression levels.
In fact, several experts claim that the therapeutic, stress-relieving benefits provided by almonds make it a good fertility booster. From boosting libido, promoting a healthy sex drive and hormonal production, it can be amazing for your reproductive health!
How many almonds can you have in a day?
Despite the number of benefits, do remember that excess of anything, or having too many almonds may be detrimental for your health.
According to diet experts, having 8-10 almonds a day is ideal for a healthy body, promote weight loss, build muscles and even speed up hair growth.
Do remember, eating too many almonds can lead to ill-effects. Not only do almonds contain a relatively higher fat percentage, but over-consumption of almonds can also lead to breathing difficulties, induce toxicity, choking and other digestive problems.
Hence, it would be best to stick to eating a handful of almonds a day for good health.
Soaked or raw almonds: What’s better for you?
Whether you eat it raw or soaked is all up to you and your taste bud. However, when it comes to your health, you must go for soaked almonds. Soaking the almond not only makes it easier to take off the peel but also allows the nuts to release all the nutrients easily.
While raw almonds are layered by the brown skin that contains tannin which hinders nutrient absorption, soaked almonds make it easier to take off the peel, hence allowing the nut to release the nutrients easily.
For regular consumption, soak a handful of almonds in a bowl of warm water and let it rest for six-seven hours, or overnight. Once done, peel off the skin, eat fresh or store them for later use.