What are the health benefits of raw almonds?
Groaaannn…If it’s raw I don’t care…anything raaaaw taste bad. Are you forgetting fruits are also eaten raw and still taste good? Besides you could just add some almonds to other meals…and they taste just fine raw. Maybe I can convince you to start eating them after you’ve read this post and learn about the health benefits of eating raw almonds. But first a little education…The Almond is a seed of the “Almond tree” (Prunus amygdalus) and is native to the Middle East and South Asia. Today, most of the world’s production of almonds comes from the U.S. followed by Australia and a couple of other places.
Nutritional Content Here are the essential macro nutrients. In 100 g (579 calories) of raw almonds we have approximately:
Protein: 21.15 g
Fat: 49.9 g
Carbohydrates: 21.6 g
Total Dietary Fiber: 12.5 g
Sugar: 4.4 g
It’s also a good source of Vitamin B, E and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc.
Cardiovascular health Cholesterol in conjunction with inflammation is dangerous and can lead to heart problems when cholesterol becomes oxidized. Flavonoids in almonds have shown an ability to enhance oxidation resistance to LDL cholesterol when used together with vitamin C and E and also lower LDL cholesterol [1, 2, 3, 4].
Immune system Almonds contain zinc which is beneficial for maintenance of the nervous, reproductive and immune system. Zinc influences cell division, cell growth and wound healing and in high doses can be helpful in shortening the duration of a cold[5, 6, 7, 8]. So snack on some almonds to help with your daily zinc intake.
Prevents cancer There have been some association with almonds helping to prevent colon cancer. It must be noted that this particular study was conducted in rats . In other studies, the high intake of vitamin E, in a population of over 35,000 Iowa women (55-69 yrs), was correlated with a reduced risk of colon cancer .
Neurological benefits Almonds have a very high vitamin E content which is responsible for many of the benefits gained from their consumption. Treatment with vitamin E has been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in patients by increasing catecholamines (neurotransmitters) in the brain . In that particular study patients did not have severe cases of Alzheimer’s. More studies are needed to determine the effects on varying stages of the disease. Overall, there seems to be a link between consumption of vitamin E and reduced cognitive decline [11, 12].
Weight loss Off course we have to talk about weight loss, since it’s on everyone’s mind. Almonds do have a lot of dietary fiber, over half of the carbohydrates is dietary fiber which helps you to feel full and stave off hunger. I snack on a handful, in between meals, if I feel those dreaded hunger pangs. Believe me it helps. Try it and see if I’m right. Even though almonds have a high percentage of fats studies have shown that people were able to lose weight eating almonds regularly than those who didn’t. The exact reasons for this are inconclusive. However, it is speculated that the ability to make you feel full, results in eating less overall. This outweighs any negative impact of extra calories.
Rich in magnesium Why is that important? Well magnesium is needed for energy production and oxidative phosphorylation (helps reform ATP for energy). Magnesium plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, which is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and healthy heart rhythm. It also aids in the structural development of bone and is necessary for the production of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione .
Summary It’s pretty obvious that almonds have many health benefits. Not all of them are entirely conclusive, but at least the evidence thus far is encouraging. There is strong evidence for it’s impact on cardiovascular health and good indications for helping with weight management. If you don’t like eat them raw by themselves, add a handful to your daily smoothie (c’mon every drinks a smoothie these days). Make sure they are not blanched, a lot of their nutrients and healthful properties comes from the skin. This list of benefits will be updated as more evidence comes to light. If you know of a benefit and it’s missing, let me know and I will add it, as long as there is supporting research to go along with it.