5 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Almonds

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1. Defense against Diabetes & Cardiovascular disease

Almonds can prove very effective in reducing the risk of diabetes by decreasing after meal rises in blood sugar and the free radicals damage that follows. Glycaemic index is a measure of the ability of a food to raise the level of glucose in blood sugar. Combining almonds with foods with high glycemic index reduces the food’s index and therefore, lessens the rise in blood sugar. 

15 healthy individuals were subjected to 5 meals providing different amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The test meals included almonds and bread, mashed potatoes and parboiled rice; there were also two bread control meals. When blood samples were taken before each meal and after 4 subsequent hours, the levels of protective antioxidants: 

  • Increased after the almond meal  
  • Decreased after every other meal 

 2. Improves Blood Fats Levels 

There is no need for people with a blood fat problem to shy away from high-fat snacks especially almonds. As described earlier, almonds contain monounsaturated fats that are good for the body. Researchers at the University of Toronto have successfully shown that 2.5 ounces of almonds every day can perform a better job at lowering LDL & raising HDL than a whole snack of wheat muffin that has the same amount of fiber and fats. It was also found that antioxidants in the body could be increased by compounds like phytonutrients, found in almonds and are believed to have special health promoting effects.  

It is an established standard in the medical community that eating whole foods is the best way to combat illnesses and promote healthiness, and same is the case with almonds. Almonds should be consumed along with their skins as they contain flavonoids that bundle up with vitamin E found in the rest of the almond to deliver double the amount of antioxidants that are otherwise delivered. This study was published in the Journal of Nutrition where twenty potent antioxidant flavonoids were found to be residing in almond skins. Most of these were already recognized in the medical community for their benefits like catechins in green tea and naringenen in grapefruit. The team first tested the effects of flavonoids found in almond skin alone and then tested them in combination with vitamin E extracted from almond flesh. In case of flavonoids alone, the LDL’s resistance to oxidation was enhanced by 18% but along with vitamin E, the LDL’s resistance to oxidation was extended to 52.5%! This showed that whole foods were undoubtedly the best combination when it came to delivering a higher payload of the same benefit. 

3. Weight Loss

Obesity is one of the biggest chronic problems humanity is facing right now; people have become more and more indulged in artificial activities and prefer foods with high level of processing rather than healthy, natural ones. In this time of need almonds, which are already known for their nutritious properties have been discovered as a food item that works to help lose the body extra weight. A research was carried out on 65 overweight and obese adults with an almond-enriched calorie diet that concluded that the monounsaturated fats indeed helped the participants shed pounds more effectively when compared to a complex carbohydrate diet. The group that was on the almond-enriched diet consumed 39% of their share of calories from fat, 25% of which was categorized as monounsaturated. Overall, both the diets supplied equal amounts of calories as well as proteins. After 6 months, those on the almond-enriched diet underwent greater reductions in weight, body fat, waistlines, body water and systolic blood pressure. The results can be stated as:  

  • 62% greater loss in BMI.  
  • 50% greater reduction in waist length.
  • 56% more loss in body fat. 

4. Normalizes Eating Habits 

If you’re still one of those who are reluctant to make almonds a part of their diet on grounds of high calorie count, a study in the British Journal of Nutrition might be the final nail in the coffin that would convince you to unlearn this myth. In the research, normal eating habits of 43 men and 38 women were studied for about 6 months. The participants were instructed to consume just about 2 ounces or a quarter cup of almonds on a daily basis along with no pressure to change any other part of their diet. At the end of the sixth month a number of changes were observed; the participants’ intake of:  

• Monounsaturated fatty acids increased by 42%.  
• Polyunsaturated fatty acids increased by 24%.  
• Fiber increased by 12%.  
• Vegetable protein increased by 19%.  
• Vitamin E increased by 66%.  
• Copper increased by 15%.  
• Magnesium increased by 23%.  

While on the other hand, the intake of:  

• Trans fatty acids decreased by 14%.  
• Animal protein decreased by 9%.  
• Sodium decreased by 21%.  
• Cholesterol decreased by 17%.  
• Sugars decreased by 13%. 

5. Live Longer 

Nature has provided cures to almost every disease but mortality is something not even technology can provide a fix to. At the maximum you can prolong your life for years to come but that’s it; one such natural food that helps a person live longer is almond. 

A very large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people who ate a handful of nuts every day lived longer than those who didn’t. The study included scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute & the Harvard School of Public Health who collected data of about 120,000 people over a span of 30 years. The analysis stated many of the revelations found out by smaller studies such as regular nut eaters tend to be slimmer than those who don’t eat nuts, etc. The senior author of the study, Professor Charles S. Fuchs said that the most obvious benefit of nuts was a 29% reduction in deaths from heart disease and 11% decrease from the risk of cancer. In the study, scientists first examined data from 1980 to 2010 collected from 76,464 women who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study; 42,498 men soon followed whose data ranged from 1986 to 2010 and took part in the Health Professional’s Follow-up Study. Each participant also filled detailed questionnaires every 2-4 years along with questions about their lifestyle and health in general. The questionnaire asked the participant to estimate the length of time before he/she had a 28g serving of nuts and to ensure fair results, the researchers used sophisticated statistical tools to rule out additional factors that may have a positive effect on the participant’s health.