Almonds are brownish nutrient-dense nuts consumed globally which is quite popular. They supply our bodies with fair amounts of antioxidants, protein, and fiber. Most vegetarians or individuals who only consume plant-based diets lack some dietary components of vitamin B, choline, or proteins. Vegans can easily supplement these missing dietary needs with almond consumption regularly.
What Is the History of Almonds?
Almond trees have a history of being one of the earliest trees people cultivated worldwide. In Jordan, the tracing by archaeologists has led to evidence that domesticated almond trees were as ancient as up to 5,000 years old. Current research shows that even a handful of almonds, i.e., approximately that weighs a single ounce, would supply our body with nearly 1/8th of an individual's daily protein needs. Also, the common assumption of almonds is that they are true nuts, but they are actually seeds and not exactly classified as tree nuts.
Almonds have always been a part of traditional food and cuisine amongst the nut family. To date, they remain a popular and nutritious source best known for the amounts of unsaturated fat it contains. This is a fact deemed by dieticians and nutritionists that unsaturated fats cannot increase the risk of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol and is always safe to consume even on a daily basis. People can include almonds as part of daily snacks in either their raw nut form or they can be toasted for adding them to sweet or savory dishes. They are also available commercially in the market as sliced, flaked, slivered, flour, oil, almond butter, or almond milk.
What Is the Nutritional Content of Almonds?
The dietary needs recommendations by dietitians and nutritionists will vary depending on the individual's age, sex, body mass index, systemic status, etc. The enlisted nutritional content, given below, is for a single ounce of almonds as given in a 2015 to 2020 dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Total calories: 164 to 165.
Protein: 6 grams.
Carbohydrates: 6.1 grams
Fiber: 3.5 grams
Magnesium: 76 to 77 milligrams.
Phosphorus: 135 milligrams.
Potassium: 208 milligrams.
Zinc: 0.8 to 0.9 milligrams.
Copper: 0.3 milligrams.
Manganese: 0.6 milligrams.
Iron: 1 to 1.1 milligrams.
Calcium: 76.3 milligrams.
What Are the Systemic Health Benefits of Almonds?
1) Modulation Of Blood Cholesterol:
According to facts stated by the American Heart Association (AHA), consuming unsaturated fats in moderation also helps modulate or regularize a person's blood cholesterol status. Additionally, almonds have no cholesterol at all. Research over the last decade suggests that consuming almonds helps in improved vitamin E levels both in the plasma and red blood cells.
2) Breast Cancer Prevention:
Most research authors have also identified the link with reduced breast cancer risk by nearly two to three times that is lowered in individuals who consumed higher quantities of nuts like almonds, peanuts, walnuts, etc., compared with those who did not consume them regularly.
Almond consumption may be beneficial in improving lipid profile and healthy fat maintenance in the blood, which would indirectly be beneficial to heart health. Clinical research shows that almonds can significantly increase the antioxidant levels in the blood, which aids in reduced blood pressure and stimulates better or improved blood flow.
4) Rich Antioxidant Source and Immune Boosting Potential:
Because of the relatively high content of vitamin E, which is an essential source of antioxidants, such as tocopherol, research shows that it is an essential part of a person's daily dietary requirement. This is also because vitamin E is majorly responsible for preventing oxidative damage or stress accumulated due to free radicals formation in our body. Though the human immune system is capable of eliminating most toxins, a dietary source of antioxidants like vitamin E helps reduce high levels of free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Hence almonds would be very beneficial in preventing immune diseases and chronic systemic diseases.
5) Use In Prediabetic and Diabetic Patients:
Research shows that type 2 diabetes is linked with low magnesium levels. This may be because magnesium deficiency is also linked to insulin resistance, according to the latest clinical research studies. A few grams of almond consumption can provide up to 76.5 mg of magnesium, which is approximately 18 to 24 percent of an adult's daily magnesium requirement and can indirectly be beneficial in prediabetic individuals or diabetic patients.
6) Bone Health:
Almonds also are known to boost bone health because of the presence of calcium, proteins, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, etc.
What Are the Advantages of Snacking on Almonds?
Almonds are usually very low in terms of carbohydrates, which makes them a great food for various diets and also gives the feeling of fullness. Due to its highly proteinaceous nature, healthy fats, and high fiber content, it is recommended by most nutritionists as part of various dietary modifications. When almonds are included in mid-morning snacks, they can make the person feel full for some time which is very useful in terms of motivating people to lose weight because they will be less tempted to seek more snacks that way.
Why Should Almonds Be Avoided for Nut Allergies?
When a person with a potential or past history of nut allergy consumes almonds, they might experience hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing. So people with nut allergies should definitely avoid almonds. Then one should seek immediate medical help or attention in an emergency.
To conclude, almonds are healthful sources of a wide range of essential nutrients, fiber, and protein, especially for people who regularly follow a plant-based or vegan diet. Because of the versatility of use and ease of consumption of even raw almonds, they are popular nuts of good health.