Almonds are proof of the saying “Big things come in small packages.” Albeit small, almonds have numerous health benefits. It contains high amounts of vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper and niacin. It is also used for treating constipation, respiratory disorders, cough, hearth disorders, anemia, impotency, diabetes, psoriasis, dental problems and dandruff.
Below are additional health benefits of almonds:
- Reduced heart attack risk – According to the Loma Linda School of Public Health, people who eat almonds five times a week are 50% less likely to have a heart attack than those who do not eat almonds.
- Lower “bad” cholesterol – Studies show that almonds reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) by up to 10%.
- Protects artery walls from damage – According to research, almond skin has flavonoids which, when combined with vitamin E, shield artery walls from cholesterol-induced damage.
- Strong bones and teeth – The high amounts of phosphorous in almonds strengthen bones and teeth.
- Aids in weight loss – People who ate almonds at least twice a week reduced their probability of gaining weight by 31%.
- Helps control diabetes – When taken after meals, almonds prevent blood sugar increase.
- Sharpens the brain – The riboflavin and L-carnitine present in almonds rids the brain of toxins and impurities, as well as decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Healthier nervous system – Almonds protect the nervous system from free radicals (molecules responsible for aging and tissue damage).
- Maintains body alkalinity – Almonds are the only legume that can increase the body’s alkalinity. An acidic body is more prone to health problems like osteoporosis and cancer.
- Regulates blood pressure – Almonds have high levels of potassium and low levels of sodium, rendering them helpful in keeping blood pressure low. High blood pressure is the result of diets that are high in sodium and low in calcium and potassium.
- Prevents cancer – Almonds are rich in fiber, a natural detoxifier. The fiber in almonds acts as a “broom” that sweeps toxins and impurities out of the body, reducing a person’s risk of colon cancer as a result.
- Relieves constipation – The fiber in almonds facilitates better digestion by allowing food to go through the intestines more efficiently. To prevent constipation, eat four to five almonds daily.
- Boosts energy – Almonds contain energy-boosting nutrients (manganese, riboflavin and copper). So instead of snacking on fast food, go for almond energy bars.
- Prevents birth defects – Almonds are a good source of folic acid, a substance that has been proven to avert birth defects. Many birth defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly, are the results of folic acid deficiency.
Although almonds are a great snack on their own, there are many other ways of enjoying them. Below are some examples:
- Add almonds to salads, pancakes, ice cream, breads, cookies, muffins and cakes.
- Add almonds to yogurt, oatmeal or cereal for breakfast.
- Add some almonds and lemon juice to your favorite chicken dish. Cook until the almonds turn slightly brown.
- When making sandwiches, use almond butter instead of peanut butter or table butter. Almond butter will make your sandwiches tasty without the excess fat, calories and salt.
- Instead of using flour or bread crumbs as breading for chicken or fish, use ground almonds.
- Drink almond milk instead of cow’s milk. Almond milk is just as healthy as cow’s milk, minus the lactose and excess fat. Almond milk is therefore a good source of calcium for lactose-intolerant people.
- Add a few drops of almond oil to your nightly facial mask. Your skin will become clearer and more moisturized.
- Instead of using milk or commercial creamers for your coffee, use almond milk or almond extract. Almond milk or almond extract will make your coffee rich in omega-3 fatty acids (antioxidants that help prevent diabetes, heart diseases and cancer).
- Apply almond oil directly on your hair and scalp. Massage in a slow, circular motion for a few minutes and then rinse. Your hair will eventually become softer, smoother and thicker.
- Mix together a cup of finely-ground almonds and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Rub the mixture directly all over your body to exfoliate your skin.