Almond Goodness: Health Benefits - What Type of Almonds are Healthy? : Smoked, Roasted, Raw Almonds And Your Health
North Americans typically consume a diet high in processed foods and low in whole foods. Almonds are an excellent example of a whole food. They contain manganese, vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, copper, tryptophan, phosphorus, riboflavin and protein.
Almonds are particularly beneficial to your health when eaten raw with the skin. Studies show that when eaten together, vitamin E and antioxidant flavonoids are significantly increased in the body. The skin contains twenty powerful antioxidants found to be effective in disease prevention.
Almonds have been found effective in promoting weight loss. Research has found that when supplying the body with the necessary calorie intake to supply energy needs, enriching the diet with almonds helps shed the pounds. Almonds are high in healthy monounsaturated fat which studies show to be more effective in promoting weight loss than complex carbohydrates.
Many people avoid almonds because of the fear of weight gain but studies show that those that consume almonds at least twice a week are far less likely to gain weight than those who never eat almonds. In subjects tested it was discovered that almond consumption which resulted in an increase of several hundred calories per day only slightly increase total daily calorie intake because test subjects found the almonds so satisfying that they ate less of other foods than normal. Even the extra calorie intake was only partially absorbed because of the high fiber present.
Studies have shown that regular consumption of almonds lowers the amount of animal protein, trans fatty acids, sugars, sodium and cholesterol consumed. Eating highly nutritious foods satisfies much more than empty nutrition foods, eliminating cravings for unhealthy and unsatisfying foods high in sugars and unhealthy fats.
Other studies reveal that regular consumption of raw, unsalted almonds reduces LDL cholesterol. In one study it was found that eating two and a half ounces of almonds each day is more effective at lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol than a whole wheat muffin containing the same amount of fiber and fat. When almonds are consumed with other healthy foods such as whole grain, fruits and vegetables, studies show that LDL cholesterol levels drop significantly after only two weeks.
Almond consumption provides protection against heart disease. Studies show that when almonds are substituted for simple carbohydrates in the average diet, the result is a thirty percent reduction in the risk of heart disease. When almonds are substituted for meat and dairy products there is a forty five percent reduction in the risk of heart disease.
Eating foods that prevent blood sugar surges leading to cholesterol damaging free radicals is important in the prevention of diabetes and heart disease. Almonds appear to have the ability to help prevent these surges and to provide antioxidants to deal with the free radicals that do form during changes in blood sugar.
Adding almonds to your diet is a great way to help maintain good health long term and they taste great. They can be added to baked goods, used as garnishes in vegetable dishes or added to salads.