13 Nutrition-Based Health Benefits of Almonds

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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Almonds have many amazing health benefits including lowering blood pressure and controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They are rich in fat, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E, and also give relief from heart and brain disorders, constipation, respiratory disorders, coughs, anemia, and impotence. Almonds are also great for hair, skin (psoriasis), and dental care.

What are Almonds?

An almond, despite being classified as a nut by most people, is actually the seed from the fruit of an almond tree. The scientific name of these dry fruits is Prunus dulcis and they are native to the Middle East, India, and North Africa. The almonds that we eat are actually the pits of these fruits, and once they are cracked open, the delicious meat of the nut can be eaten! This partially explains why there are so many nutrients found in these nuts; they are the core nutrients needed for a new plant to grow.

Almonds are now found in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and Israel as well. The taste of almonds ranges from sweet to bitter and both are readily available in markets. Sweet almonds are edible, while bitter ones are used for making oil, a common oil that is used to add flavor to the food.

Can almonds be eaten raw?

You can absolutely eat raw almonds, and you will enjoy all the health benefits of this delicious nut (which is actually a seed). Many people prefer to toast their almonds, however, believing that this brings out a nicer flavor, and releases some of the natural oils. This also makes the nuts slightly crunchier and gives them their signature color. That being said, there is no harm in eating them raw.

Many people also add them as ingredients in salads, casseroles, and other dishes. You can eat almonds directly, preferably on an empty stomach to increase and speed up the absorption of their nutrients. You can also soak them in water overnight so you can eat them the next morning.

Watch Video: 9 Powerful Benefits Of Almonds

How to eat almonds?

Almonds can be consumed in a number of ways, including the following:

  • Almond milk is a delicious beverage and is an alternative to cow’s milk
  • Topping off your yogurt or oatmeal with these healthy nuts
  • Grind them into delicious almond butter, add salt, and bake them to be a replacement for junk food
  • Include them in your protein or vegetable shakes
  • Top a salad with these nuts
  • Crushed almonds are also a wonderful garnish for a number of dishes
  • Sprinkle them on top of your pizza
Nutrition Facts

Nuts, almonds
Serving Size :
Water [g]4.41
Energy [kcal]579
Protein [g]21.15
Total lipid (fat) [g]49.93
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]21.55
Fiber, total dietary [g]12.5
Sugars, total [g]4.35
Calcium, Ca [mg]269
Iron, Fe [mg]3.71
Magnesium, Mg [mg]270
Phosphorus, P [mg]481
Potassium, K [mg]733
Sodium, Na [mg]1
Zinc, Zn [mg]3.12
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]0
Thiamin [mg]0.21
Riboflavin [mg]1.14
Niacin [mg]3.62
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.14
Folate, DFE [µg]44
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]0
Vitamin A, IU [IU]2
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]25.63
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]0
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]3.8
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]31.55
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]12.33
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0.02
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Almonds Nutrition

Almond is a highly nutritional nut and according to the USDA Nutrient Database, it is a rich source of fiber, protein, vitamin E, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron. It contains zinc, thiamin, and niacin. It also provides vitamins such as folate, riboflavin, and vitamin B-6. Compared to all other nuts, almonds are richer in nutrients and beneficial components.

Calories in Almonds: There are 529 calories in a cup of almonds, but we don’t necessarily suggest eating that many in one sitting! That’s about 25% of your suggested calorie intake for the day! However, to put it in simpler terms, there are about 130 calories in one ounce of almonds, which equates to roughly 23 almonds. A healthy dose can help increase your good monounsaturated fat levels, and they contain tons of great minerals too!

Carbs in Almonds: There are only 5 grams of carbohydrates in a cup of almonds, which represents only 2% of your suggested daily requirement for carbs. Many people see this as a good thing, as low-carb diets are very popular right now. They give people a chance to boost their mineral and fat intake without adding too many empty carbohydrates. This makes them an excellent food to eat on the go or between meals!

Fats & Proteins in Almonds: A single cup of almonds has approximately 11.5 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein. Almonds contain a high level of fat. However, more than 50% of those fats are in the form of monounsaturated fats, which are good for heart health and are essential for organ function. However, they also contain bad fats, so it is important not to overdo it. A handful or two at a time is a great choice, and will give you a nice boost!

Benefits of Almonds

Almonds have a number of important health benefits, including the ability to protect heart health, thanks to the high concentration of beneficial monounsaturated fats. They increase circulation, strengthen the bones, protect the skin, aid in digestion, and help control blood sugar levels. They have also been connected to boosting cognitive performance and reducing oxidative stress in the body!

Antioxidant & Vitamin E Rich

Your body has many components that add to overall health, including the alkalinity of the systems. Almonds are great sources of alkali materials, and this is known to benefit the strength of the immune system, as well as increase the ability to stave off diseases and various health conditions.

Along with almonds’ contribution to alkaline levels, they also have a high content of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. It seeks out all the damaging free radicals in the body and eliminates them since they promote chronic diseases and can be hazardous to the body’s organs.

Antioxidants like the vitamin E found in almonds affect all major diseases, including cancer and heart diseases. Research has actually shown that people who ingest high levels of vitamin E are actually 30-40% less likely to contract heart diseases.

Another research conducted at the Salisbury General Hospital, “almonds and almond oil have many properties including anti-inflammatory, immunity-boosting, and anti-hepatotoxicity effects”.

A bowl of almonds placed on a wooden table

Control Blood Sugar Levels

According to research, almonds also help to reduce the reactionary rise in glucose and insulin levels after meals. This modulation offers protection from the dangerous spikes in blood sugar which diabetics often suffer from following a large meal, or a meal with an unexpectedly high level of sugar in it.

They help regulate the absorption and processing of glucose, making the entire process much smoother, and subsequently safer.

Regulate Blood Pressure

A research conducted by a team of doctors, including David J.A. Jenkins and Cyril W.C. Kendall, reveals that the potassium and sodium present in almonds helps regulate blood pressure.

The other nutrients also keep the body balanced in terms of essential needs, which can prevent many deficiencies. Balanced vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy lifestyle, but if certain elements are neglected, the entire body is affected, resulting in anxiety, stress, and increased blood pressure.

A research conducted by Houston M from the Hypertension Institute, Nashville, says, “The protein source is an important factor in the BP effect; animal protein being less effective than non-animal or plant protein, especially almond”.

Regulate Cholesterol Level

Regular consumption of almonds helps to increase the high-density lipoproteins i.e. HDL cholesterol levels and they reduce the low-density lipoproteins i.e. LDL cholesterol levels.

According to a research done by the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, “Almonds reduced non‐HDL‐C, LDL‐C, and central adiposity, important risk factors for cardiometabolic dysfunction, while maintaining HDL‐C concentrations“. This balance is vital to a healthy cholesterol level, and a reduction of LDL cholesterol is always a good thing.

Weight Loss

Unsweetened almond milk can be used if you are attempting to lose weight. The mono-unsaturated fat contained in almonds satisfies the appetite and prevents over-eating. The dietary fiber in almonds also contributes to the sensation of feeling full, despite eating only a small amount.

Studies have revealed that an almond-rich, low-calorie diet is good for obese people to assist in shedding their excess weight.

Studies have also shown that people who regularly consume them (at least twice a week) are far more likely to remain at their ideal weight, rather than those who rarely or never consume almonds and suffer from weight fluctuations.

Finally, the fiber contributes to consistent bowel movements, which helps in weight loss and the general health of the body through the elimination of toxins.

Prevent Cancer

They improve the movement of food through the colon, thereby preventing build-up and subsequent colon cancer. The National Cancer Center has done extensive research on the link between high-fiber diets and a reduced risk of colon cancer.

A research presented in the University of Colima, Colima, Mexico reveals “the protective effect of peanut, walnut, and almond consumption on the development of breast cancer”. Results from the study said, “almonds significantly reduced the risk for breast cancer by 2-3 times’. 

A systematic review led by L. Wu, Mayo Clinic, et al. suggests that nuts like almond have anticancer properties and may help lower cancer risk. However, more scientific evidence and research is needed.

Health benefits of almonds - infographic

Prevent Heart Diseases

The mono-unsaturated fats, protein, and potassium contained in almonds are instrumental in protecting the heart health. Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant and also reduces the risk of heart diseases, while the presence of magnesium in them can help avoid heart attacks.

They help reduce the presence and impact of C-reactive proteins (CRP) which causes artery-damaging inflammation. They are also a great source of folic acid. Therefore, they help to reduce the level of homocysteine, which causes fatty plaque buildup in arteries.

Furthermore, the flavonoids in the skin of almonds combine with vitamin E to form a powerful shield against artery wall damage. A research done by Aston University suggests that a short-term almond-enriched diet may improve vascular function in asymptomatic healthy men aged between 20 and 70 years without any effect on markers of oxidative stress.

Boost Brain Health

Almonds are a rich source of many nutrients which help in the development and health of the human brain. They have been connected to a higher intellectual level and they have long been considered an essential food item for growing children.

These dry fruits also contain two vital brain nutrients, riboflavin, and L-carnitine, which have been shown to increase brain activity, resulting in new neural pathways and a decreased occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that almond, as well as almond oil, is nutritive to the overall health and functioning of the nervous system.

Many mothers give water-soaked almonds to their children every morning. Two or three seeds are enough, and you can also remove the outer layer if it causes allergic reactions, as the majority of the nutrients are not held in it.

Improve Bone Health

Almonds are a fantastic source of many vitamins and minerals, and phosphorus is definitely counted among them! Phosphorus can have a considerable impact on the strength and durability of bones and teeth, while also preventing the onset of age-related conditions like osteoporosis.

According to research conducted in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, “Consumption of almonds has been associated with increased bone mineral density”.

Skin Care

The benefits of almonds with regards to skin health are well known, and almond oil massages are often recommended for newborn babies. Almond milk is also added to some soaps, because of their well-established reputation for improving the complexion of skin.

Research also links to almond oils benefits in cases of hand dermatitis and other skin diseases.

Reduce Inflammation

Many people think that the word “fat” means something negative, but in fact, certain fatty acids are essential and can be very beneficial for overall health. The body can’t create its own fatty acids, which is why we need to get them from dietary sources.

They have two very important fatty acids, both linoleic and linolenic acids. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation all around the body, which is a general condition that many people suffer from. Fatty acids also help reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol, and they promote healthy skin and hair! All in all, these nuts pack a powerful, healthy punch.

Boost Energy Production

The presence of manganese, copper, and riboflavin in almonds helps in energy production and metabolic rate. A research done at Purdue University reveals that if you are on the go, a handful of almonds can get you through the day without filling you up with calories or fat.

Good for Pregnancy

Almonds contain folic acid, which helps reduce the incidence of birth defects in newborn babies. It also stimulates healthy cell growth and tissue formation. Neural tube defects are conditions where the neural tube is either underdeveloped or is partially missing in the fetus.

Doctors regularly prescribe folic acid supplements to pregnant women to ensure proper development of the tube, and they have enough folic acid to keep mothers and their babies healthy.

Prevent Constipation

According to Medline Plus, almonds are rich in fiber, and like most other fiber-rich foods, almonds help prevent constipation. However, it is also important to drink a significant amount of water when eating almonds to speed up the digestive process and beneficial effects of the nut.

You don’t even need to eat an excessive amount, the amount of fiber in 4 or 5 almonds is enough to keep your digestion and bowel movements regular.

Side Effects of Almonds

Just like any other food, these nuts have their downside too. They contain oxalates, and excessive oxalates can cause crystallization, which can lead to a host of different issues. People having kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid eating almonds.

Raw almonds are very good for you, but as with everything else, moderation is the key. The mineral content is impressive and can help you with everything from osteoporosis to cognitive function. Similarly, the fat content may be high, but much of that is in the form of “good” fats. That being said, eating too many of these nutty fruits can increase “bad” fat levels, and the high-calorie count is also something you should be wary of.  Bitter almonds also contain cyanide and one should avoid eating too many of them.

About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve is a health and wellness enthusiast and started working on Organic Facts since 2012 and is currently responsible for managing it. She follows naturopathy and believes in healing with foods. She is currently pursuing Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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