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15 Proven Health Benefits Of Almonds: Nutrition, Side Effects, How To Eat And Other Details

Almonds, scientifically known as Prunus dulcis, are among healthy foods which are highly in demand due to their essential nutrients and health benefits beyond cholesterol reduction.

According to a study, almonds have a positive modulatory effect on body weight, cholesterol levels, blood glucose and uric acid levels and thus, can help prevent or manage diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart disease and many more. [1]

Almonds are mainly consumed after soaking or roasting, as they add to the nutritive composition of this dried fruit.

This article will take you to the proven health benefits of almonds and other details. Take a look.

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Nutrition In Almonds

100 g of almonds contain 4.41g of water and 579 kcal of energy, along with the following vital nutrients: [2]

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Health Benefits Of Almonds

1. Help in weight loss

Almonds are low in calories, and contain complex carbohydrates, proteins and fibre, which are known to reduce satiety, thus helping you lose weight easily. Soaked almonds promote faster weight loss compared to raw or roasted almonds as the outer skin is removed.

According to a study, almonds have a potential role in reducing the weight in obese individuals, along with reducing the waist circumference, total cholesterol and waist-to-hip circumference. [3]

2. Improve digestion

Roasted, soaked and chopped almonds are popular among healthy snack foods. Almonds have a rigid texture which makes them hard to break in the stomach during digestion. Studies say that when almonds are roasted, soaked and chopped, their hardness and particle size decreases, which increases their digestion and absorption in the small intestine and releases sufficient energy.

Also, consumption of different almonds forms impacts the gastrointestinal microbiome in different ways, and all the aforementioned forms benefit positively. [4]

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3. Improve brain function and memory

A study has shown that almonds have the potential to inhibit age-related brain dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases like cognitive decline, poor memory, Alzheimer's and dementia. Almonds are rich in folate, tocopherol, fatty acids and polyphenols which may help improve brain functions and enhance memory.

They can help improve memory retention within 28 days. [5] Another study says that almonds can improve cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults within six months. [6]

4. Good for pregnancy

Folic acid is essential nutrition during pregnancy to prevent abnormalities in both mother (such as anaemia) and the child (such as neural birth defects), along with helping in the offspring development.

Studies say expectant mothers must include soaked almonds in their diet, as they help provide the ultimate nourishment and energy to both, along with maintaining their good health even after the delivery. [7]

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5. Manage diabetes

Almonds are highly trusted for their nutritional value and the benefits they provide to people with diabetes. According to a study, daily consumption of almonds for 24 weeks can help manage glucose levels in diabetics, along with preventing diabetes-induced cardiovascular diseases.

The low calories, low fat, high fibre and high complex carbohydrates in almonds also help in controlling glucose levels to a great extent. [8]

6. Reduce cholesterol

A study has shown that around 50 per cent of almonds weight contain monounsaturated fatty acids, which are healthy fats and may help reduce LDL or bad cholesterol in the body. Soaked almonds are a better option to reduce cholesterol to a great extent.

Almonds also contain fibre, alpha-tocopherol, magnesium, copper and phenols which may contribute to lowering cholesterol in the body due to their potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. [9]

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7. Good for the heart

Oxidative stress and high cholesterol levels are the main causes of heart diseases like coronary heart disease. A study has shown that four weeks of almonds consumption can significantly lower cholesterol and oxidation parameters, thus causing positive effects on heart health.

Particularly, soaked almonds provide higher protein, potassium and magnesium, compared to raw ones and combat several fatal heart diseases. [10]

8. Improve blood pressure

Nuts like almonds are an important part of a Mediterranean and DASH diet that provide cardioprotective benefits. Almonds are packed with alpha-tocopherol, magnesium and monounsaturated fat, all required for good heart health and improving blood pressure, especially diastolic blood pressure.

The low sodium, low calorie, high folic acid and magnesium in almonds also help lower the risk of artery congestion which could lead to high blood pressure. [11]

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9. Treat male sexual problems

Nut consumption like raw almonds is related to improved sexual functions and fertility in males, says a study. According to the USDA, 100g of almonds contain 2.46g of arginine, which has potent neurovascular, non-cholinergic and noradrenergic activities.

These activities play a vital role in erectile action and may help improve erectile functions, reduce damage to semen due to free radicals and other sexual problems in men. [12]

10. Treat constipation

Almonds come under excellent nuts to improve bowel health, especially in hemodialysis patients. Constipation is a common issue in patients with last-stage kidney disease.

Almonds are high in fibre, potassium and phosphate levels, and can help improve constipation problems and ultimately, quality of life in those patients. Consuming soaked almonds can help treat chronic constipation more efficiently. [13]

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11. Strengthen the immune system

According to a study, soaked almonds have a prebiotic effect that can help boost the function of the immune system. Prebiotic is known to improve the growth of good bacteria in the human gut and good intestinal health is directly related to the health of the immune system.

Thus, by helping in maintaining good gastrointestinal health, almonds can help play an important role in strengthening the immune system. Almonds' potent antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects also help keep the immune system healthy. [14]

12. Prevent The Ageing Of Skin

Almond consumption can help reduce wrinkles severity in postmenopausal women, says a study. This great dried fruit has natural anti-ageing properties.

The rich quantity of fatty acids and antioxidants in almonds increase sebum production and improves skin elasticity, thus reducing the signs of ageing and related problems like dry and cracked skin. [15]

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13. Good for nerves and muscles

The presence of an abundance of vitamin E in almonds helps promote good nervous system health and makes muscles strong. In athletes, the consumption of almonds may help provide great endurance and enhance exercise performance by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.

Also, omega-3 and magnesium in almonds protect the nerves and improve the transmission of signals in the body. [16]

14. Prevent oedema

Oedema occurs when excess fluid gets accumulated in the body cells, causing them to swell and increase the pressure on blood vessels. Almonds are an excellent source of protein. The proteins in almonds help hold the salt and water in the vessels so that fluid does not leak and accumulate in the cells and cause oedema.

15. Has chemo-preventive property

Breast cancer is a common gynaecological cancer type worldwide. A study has shown the anticarcinogenic property of nuts like almonds, along with walnuts and peanuts.

The study says that high consumption of almonds can help reduce the risk of breast cancer by 2-3 times, compared to its low or null consumption. [17] The high amount of antioxidant vitamins and minerals in almonds is also responsible for its chemo-preventive property.

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Side Effects Of Eating Too Many Almonds

Though almonds are great for health, they could cause certain side effects when consumed in excess. The side effects are:

  • They can lead to constipation, instead of curing it due to high fibre intake.
  • Other gastrointestinal problems due to excess almonds include nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain.
  • They can prevent the absorption of certain vital minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium.
  • Some people may experience an almond allergy, considering the allergy is rare. [17]
  • Almonds in excess can increase weight instead of reducing it.
  • Almonds can interfere with certain medications such as diabetes and thyroid medications.
  • Too many bitter almonds can cause cyanide poisoning, leading a person to choke and a nervous breakdown. [18]
  • They can also lead to vitamin E toxicity and cause bleeding problems.
  • How To Eat Almonds

    Studies say that almond skin is rich in prebiotic fibre and polyphenols and is recognised as a potential functional food item. However, the excess of polyphenols, especially tannins in the skin of almonds can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients like calcium and iron.

    Therefore, the best way to eat almonds is by soaking them overnight or at least for 4-5 hours to lower the tannins content and allowing the skins to get soft to make the peeling and digestibility easier. Ayurveda says that eating raw almonds can also aggravate pitta in the body.

    Roasting almonds is also a good choice as it helps induce certain microstructural and chemical changes which improve their oxidative property. However, avoid too much roasting as it may destroy the vital antioxidants in almonds.

    How Many Almonds Should You Eat In A Day?

    The daily recommended intake of almonds should be 30-50 g as part of a healthy diet. [19]
    Some of the beneficial almond products available in the market include almond milk, almond oil, almond flour and almond butter.

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Ways To Include Almonds In Your Diet

  • Sprinkle almonds over a bowl of fruit salad.
  • Add chopped almonds while preparing meat products.
  • Roast almonds and consume them as a snack.
  • Soak almonds and consume early morning to lower glucose levels.
  • Consuming almonds between meals can help reduce satiety and help in weight loss. [20]
  • Almond milk can be added to tea or coffee, with no sugar.
  • Almond butter can make a great spread for butter or over fruits.
  • Almond flour is good for preparing healthy baked items like cake, pastries and muffins.
  • To Conclude

    Almonds can be an essential part of your diet and provide you with multiple health benefits when consumed in a recommended amount. Consult a medical expert or a dietician to know how you can get their additional benefits, depending on your medical condition and the benefits you desire.