Health Benefits of Almonds
Not many people know about the health benefits of almonds. In fact, fewer people know about the existence of a nut called almond. Almonds have long been considered some of the healthiest of the nuts. The almond is native to mineral-rich West-Asian mountain ranges and now being cultivated throughout the world. In this article, I will be giving you some of the nutritional facts as well as health benefits of almonds.
Almond Nutrition Value
The nutritional value mentioned here are per ¼ cup of almonds. Almonds are rich in various nutrients essential for human body. They are rich sources of energy, proteins, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Almonds are good sources of carbohydrates and energy. A cup of almonds provide 575 Kcal of energy, which constitutes about 29% of the daily requirement. It contains approximately 21.67 g of carbohydrates which constitutes 16% of the RDA (required daily allowance).
Protein, Fat and Fiber
Almonds are considered excellent sources of proteins. They contain 21.22 g of protein per cup (38% of RDA). While almonds are rich in fats, these are good fats. Almonds are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids such as palmitoleic and oleic acids. These help in reducing the harmful LDL or bad cholesterol in the body while increasing HDL or good cholesterol. The total fat content in a cup of almonds is 49.42 g which is 165% of the RDA, while it has no cholesterol. Almonds are also rich in dietary fiber, containing 30% (12.2 g per cup) of daily requirement.
While almonds are good sources of most vitamins, they are excellent sources of Vitamin E and Riboflavin (vitamin B2). They contain about 26 g of Vitamin E per 100 g (173% of RDA) and 1.014 mg of riboflavin (78% of RDA). It contains other vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, folates, pantothenic acid and pyridoxine. Almonds are however not great sources of Vitamin A or C.
Almonds are again great sources of minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. It contains electrolytes such as potassium. It also contains zero sodium (which is good for health since our body requires extremely low amounts of sodium to keep it healthy). Each of these minerals is absolutely essential for the body for its proper functioning, a lack of which can cause various defects and health problems.
The table here gives the in depth analysis of nutrients contained in almonds.
Health Benefits of almonds
Due to the rich composition of nutrients, almonds provide various health benefits. Following are some of them.
- The rich composition of monounsaturated fatty acids helps in reducing risks of heart diseases such as coronary artery disease and stroke. Almond oil is recommended in cooking for promoting healthy blood lipid profile and reducing heart diseases. Almonds are also super foods that help in reducing weight faster and in a healthy way.
- Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant. It maintains cell membrane integrity of skin and mucus membranes by removing the harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- Almonds are gluten-free and hence can be used in gluten-free food formulas. These food are healthy alternatives for people with wheat food allergy and celiac disease.
- The Vitamin B-complex groups of vitamins in almonds work as co-factors for enzymes during cellular substrate metabolism.
- Almond oil is used as an emollient (or moisturizer). Hence, it can be used to keep skin well protected from dryness. Add almond oil/milk to your skin regime and it can help keep your skin soft and supple. The moisturizing property also promotes its usage as hair oil to keep scalp moist, thus preventing dry scalp and hair fall.
- Almond oil is also used as base oil in traditional medicines in cosmetic industries, pharmaceuticals and aromatherapy.
- Almonds can actually reduce your consumption of coffee and energy drinks due to its rich energy content.
- Due to their high potassium and low sodium content, almonds can help regulate blood pressure.
Now that you know the health benefits of almonds, when will you start including them in your diet? While you are reading this, I am off to munch on some almonds.