Almond is one of the most popular tree nut. It has an unique sweetness and crunch. It is gaining much adoration these days. This is because of its versatility and nutritional value. Let’s discuss each and every secret of raw almonds health benefits that you probably missed these years.
In earlier days Romans showered newlyweds with almond as a fertility charm.
Almond is not a true nut. Basically it is a seed from a tree called Prunus dulci. This tree is native to Iran, neighbouring countries and central Asia. But these days California is top most in production of almonds. Here around 10 lac acres of land is used for almond cultivation.
The fruit of almond is otherwise called as drupe. Drupe has an outer hard shell with seed inside.
Shell is removed by a process called ‘shelling’ to reveal seed i.e almond.
Seeds are available in 2 forms in market, namely Blanched and Unblanched. Unblanched seeds have a brown coloured seed coat. When we boil these in water to remove the seed coat it is called blanched.
Unblanched seeds are healthful.
There are around 30 sorts of almonds. Predominantly almonds are sweet in taste. A few trees produce bitter almonds too.
ALMOND IN CULINARY
- We can eat almonds as whole or shredded or chopped.
- Also it can be taken raw or roasted.
- Plus we can extract oil, milk and butter from almonds too.
- Besides we use almonds in cookies, biscuits and cakes.
- Further we prepare pastry and other desserts from almond paste.
- Smoked and salted almonds are healthy snacks as such.
- Notably Mughlai curry has almond as its ingredient.
- People prepare a drink from almonds and milk for ceremonies.
- Almond coffee is also famous in few countries.
- Additionally almonds are used to prepare badam halwa,sherbet-e-badam and barfi.
RAW ALMONDS HEALTH BENEFITS
There are numerous raw almonds health benefits, which are listed below.
Almond is ample in nutrients. It is rich in proteins, fibres, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. Following are the nutrients that are present in abundance in almonds ( USFDA ). Every One-ounce serving or 28 grams (about 23 almonds) provides :
- Calories- 161
- Protein – 6 grams
- Carbohydrate- 12 grams
- Fibre- 4 grams
- Fat- 14 grams
- Vitamin E (35 percent DV [daily value])
- Riboflavin (20 percent DV)
- Magnesium (20 percent DV)
- Manganese (32 percent DV)
- Calcium (8 percent DV)
- Potassium (6 percent DV)
Following are 10 raw almonds health benefits.
1. ALMOND AND ANTIOXIDANTS
Almonds especially unblanched ones are abundant in antioxidants .Outer brown coat in unblanched almond is plentiful in flavonoids. On the other hand inner white portion in vitamin E. Both are effective antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances that safeguards body from oxidative stress. It intercepts damage to cells from free radicals.
2. ALMONDS AND DIABETES
Almond is a low glycemic index food. In the sense it releases calories steadily. That is why it maintains a constant level of appropriate blood sugar in body for a sustained period.
It is profuse in magnesium. So it’s helpful in reducing insulin resistance . As a result, it controls blood sugar level.
Almond is copious in protein and fibre. Both are considered healthy for diabetes. Among the carbohydrate present in almond, a large proportion in indigestible. So it does not append to extra calories.
3. ALMONDS AND HYPERTENSION
Almonds are loaded with healthy fats, and less in cholesterol. It lowers LDL levels in blood. Hence it prevents high blood pressure.
Almond also increases level of HDL cholesterol otherwise called as good ‘cholesterol’. It has adequate magnesium level. So, it helps in blood pressure control.
4. ALMONDS AND HEART HEALTH
- Almond is plenteous in monounsaturated fatty acid instead of saturated fatty acids.
- It effectively reduces LDL levels in blood. LDL is otherwise called ‘Bad cholesterol’.
- In addition almond halts ‘oxidation of LDL cholesterol’, a process that leads to athero-schlerosis and ultimately heart attack.
- Increasing HDL levels in blood has a shielding effect on heart.
5. ALMONDS AND WEIGHT LOSS
A handful of almonds a day slims down weight as well as lessens belly fat. As it has modest carbohydrate but plentiful of protein and fiber , when it is consumed it gives a sense of fullness in stomach.
It has a satiety effect. Around 10-15 % of carbohydrates are indigestible. Hence it does not add to extra calories
ALSO READ : Weight loss friendly foods ; are you eating right ?
6. ALMONDS AND GUT HEALTH
There are some beneficial bacteria in human intestine , such as Saccharomyces, Bifidobacterium .Together these are called gut flora. Almonds act as a prebiotics for gut flora , hence helps in maintaining healthy bacteria inside intestine. It prevents against pathogenic bacteria infections.
7. ALMONDS AND CONSTIPATION
As almond is bountiful in fiber content , that increase the gastrointestinal motility and prevents constipation
8. ALMONDS AND MEMORY
Most of us were advised by our mothers or grandmothers to eat soaked almonds daily to improve memory power. In fact they were right.
Studies have proved that almond improves memory as well as cognitive functioning of brain.
Omega 3 fatty acid, Vitamin B6, Zinc, Protein and vitamin E in almonds maintain neurons in a good health.
Almond elevates level of a neurotransmitter called as Acetylcholine (Ach) in brain. This is vital for memory functions. Hence it prevents Alzheimer’s disease.
The bottom line is, if you take around 8-10 number of soaked almond a day it will empower your brain with good memory.
9. ALMONDS AND BEAUTY
Almond is a rich source of antioxidants like vitamin E and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Therefore it nourishes skin and hair.
Ancient queen Cleopatra was said to have included almonds in her diet and beauty regime for an acne free soft skin.
- Applying almond milk on skin, screens from sunlight.
- We can use almonds as scrub.
- Almond oil and milk is useful as natural makeup remover.
- It further diminishes dark circles and puffy eyes.
- Almond oil favours growth of long and healthy hair.
- It also brings down flakes and dandruff.
Eating almond daily strengthens hair, as almond is rich in nutrients like magnesium.
ALSO READ : Foods with omega 3 fatty acids and skin health
10. ALMONDS AND CANCER AND AGEING
During the process of metabolism in our body certain harmful substances like ROS or Reactive Oxygen species are produced. These are highly unstable compounds. These have a tendency to undergo chain reactions with various cellular components. Consequently it leads to Ageing and Cancer.
Antioxidants like vitamin E and flavonoids present in almond neutralise ROS and halt the process.
Evidently, antioxidants present in almond decrease biomarkers of oxidative stress in human body. Thusly almond have and anticancer and anti-ageing effect.
These health benefits make it a ‘superfood’. This is why it is a must have in your diet if you want to stay young, healthy and beautiful.
Do you want to share any other health related benefits of almonds? Comment below.
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Almonds are a good source of nutrients that are important for brain health, including vitamin E, folate and unsaturated fatty acids, as well as l-carnitine which is known for its neuroprotective benefits. More research is required, but recent animal studies have shown that almond consumption may well boost memory function .