You might not think so, but almonds (scientifically termed Prunus dulcis) are actually the hard seed from the center of an almond fruit. Almonds are must be extracted through a process called “shelling” before being eaten. But it’s worth all the effort to uncover the seed.
are full of good fats and a wide range of macro and micro nutrients
balance your body’s pH levels and blood sugar
support healthy skin
Almonds health benefits come from the wide range of nutrients the nut offers, including essential macronutrients (lipids, proteins and complex carbohydrates) and micronutrients (a good amount of dietary fiber, vitamin E, B vitamins [B1,2,3,5,6,9 and Choline], and minerals [calcium, iron, magnensium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc]). Due to its complex carbs, dietary fiber, Phytosterols, and balanced lipid profile, it is a good nutritional form of control and regulation for tryglicerides, LDL cholesterol. Consumed on a daily basis, they may also prevent several factors that contribute to heart-associated diseases such as high blood pressure, homocystein, high blood glucose, etc. Read on for more of almonds health benefits!
1. Nuts, including almonds, have a bad rap for being “fattening,” but your body needs adequate amounts of fat!
Fat keeps you satiated, gives you energy to live, and is critical for your body to properly absorb “fat-soluble” nutrients, such as vitamins A and D. Did you know your brain is 60 percent fat?! You need to eat fat to live. This is a whole chapter in my book, SuperLife, “The Protein-Fat Myths: Too Much of One Good Thing, Not Enough of Another.” Dieters or people trying to lose weight will avoid almonds when they only look at the fat and calorie content. But the nutritional value of a food comes from everything it offers all together. While almonds do have 15 grams of fat per serving, the 15 grams of fat is mainly monounsaturated fat. That’s a heart-healthy fat that increases your body’s HDL or good cholesterol. Plus, the almonds come packed with fiber and protein along with the fat, creating a nutrient-dense boost for your body that actually promotes weight loss because the healthy fat, protein and fiber all together increase satiety and promote a lower overall calorie intake. When participants in a 2003 study ate 300 calories worth of almonds in a day, they had a greater drop in both overall weight and blood pressure than participants who ate the same 300 calories in complex carbohydrates. You just have to measure your portions when looking for weight loss.
2. Almonds help balance your body’s pH
A healthy pH level is crucial for proper digestion, immunity, and disease prevention, which is why alkalization is the fourth life force I write about in SuperLife. The nutrients present in almonds may help regulate digestive enzymes that are involved in nutrient extraction, cholesterol synthesis and bile acid production.
3. Almonds Help Control Blood Sugar Levels
Almonds help manage your body’s blood sugar levels by offering a high level of monounsaturated fatty acids. They slow how quickly glucose (sugar) gets released into your body’s bloodstream and prevent insulin resistance. Because they regulate how sugar is released, it keeps your blood sugar more stable and eliminated a roller coaster of energy and hunger signals
4. Almonds Prevent Overeating
Feeling satiated, or full, helps prevent extra snacking or overeating. Almonds’ healthy fats, dietary fiber, and calories help keep you feeling full, which curbs overeating and unhealthy snacking.
5. Almonds Promote Skin Health
Ancient Indian medicine uses almonds to promote healthy skin and hair – with good reason. Almonds nourishes your skin and hair with high levels of vitamin E and antioxidants. Other nutrients, catechin, epicatechin and flavonol antioxidants (which includes quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin) fight skin cancer and damage. They actually help reverse the damage your skin experiences from stressers such as toxins, pharmaceutical chemicals, unhealthy diet choices, pollution, and UV light exposure. Almonds’ healthy fats can keep your skin more hydrated in general and also help wounds to heal.
Just make sure you are eating raw almonds that have been soaked. Find out why you should soak your almonds (and how) here.
Note: It is hare to find truly raw almonds as they are currently required to be pasteurized before sale. A 2007 bill mandated that all raw almonds in North America be pasteurized. Challenges to the bill have been rejected. This is because of two separate outbreaks of salmonella (one in Canada in 2001 and in Oregon in 2004). Despite the fact that contamination in almonds is rare, the measures remain in place to prevent any other occurrences. Large commercial companies will use propylene oxide—a toxic, flammable chemical compound that is not GRAS (generally recognized as safe for human ingestion). Try to search for small, local growers and call to verify their procedures. When good, organic practices are used during growing, pasteurization is not needed to make the nuts safe to eat.
At a minimum, choose almonds that are organic (no unwanted pesticides) and unheated (not roasted). When nuts are heated during commercial processing or roasting the temperatures are generally too high, and the fats in the nut are damaged and become unhealthy for your body.
I personally eat raw, unpasteurized almonds:
Raw Unpasteurized Organic Almonds (Sproutable)
These 100% organic raw almonds are imported from Spain, where pasteurizing is not a requirement. Fresh, crunchy, rich, and sproutable, they are perfect for making delicious almond milk. According to the company, its unpasteurized almonds “are truly raw and alive and are never treated by irradiation, ultra high heat, steam or chemically sterilized as required for all domestically grown almonds, even those labeled as “raw.” Our unpasteurized almonds are still a whole, complete food with their fats, enzymes and beneficial microbes all intact.”
THE SHORT VERSION: When consumed on a daily basis, almonds provide your body with many health benefits! Look past the bad rap of high calories and fat to see an amazing nutritional source for a SuperLife!