Almonds: Properties and Benefits

Almonds

Almonds are a fruit consumed all over the world thanks to their excellent nutritional properties. Scientific research confirms their benefits on health and on the heart in particular


The  almonds, fruits of many properties, are the edible seed of the almond tree. Its scientific name is  Prunus dulcis  and belongs to the same family as the peach tree, that of the Rosaceae. The plant is about 10 meters high and its seeds, precisely almonds, are enclosed in a woody shell which is in turn contained in a stone.

Almonds: properties and benefits
Almonds: properties and benefits

Almonds usually are consumed dry throughout the year and are found only in fresh spring.

Until the beginning of the last century, Agrigento was the first almond producer in the world. In its province more than 700 species were cultivated. Unfortunately, today things have changed and the cultivation areas have drastically decreased. Many varieties of this plant have gradually disappeared.

Index

Today the nutritional benefits of almonds are known throughout the world and, one of the most appreciated properties of these fruits, is the reduction of cholesterol. There are a lot of them in the medical world appreciated for the presence of monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Let us now look at their chemical composition in detail .

Chemical Composition

Chemical composition for 100 grams of almonds 
Water g 4,7
Carbohydrates g 21,7
Protein g 21,2
Fat g 49.4
Fiber g 12,2
Sugars g 3,9
Starch g 0,7
Ashes g 3
Minerals
Calcium mg 264
Iron mg 3.7
Magnesium mg 268
Phosphorus mg 484
Potassium mg 705
Sodium mg 1
Zinc mg 3,1
Copper mg 1
Manganese mg 2,3
Selenium mcg 2,5
Vitamins
Vitamin A IU 1
B1 mg 0,2
B2 mg 1
B3 mg 3,4
B5 mg 0,5
B6 mg 0,1
Vitamin E mg 26,2
Vitamin J mg 52,1
Folate mcg 50

Source: Nutritiondata

Amino acids: aspartic acid and glutamic acid, alanine, arginine, cystine, glycine, phenylalanine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, proline, methionine, serine, tyrosine, tryptophan and valine.

A small amount of laetrile is also present in the seed, considered a substance with anticancer properties.

Calories

100 grams of almonds have a caloric intake of 575 kcal.

Almonds: Properties and Benefits

High Protein Rate

Only one handful of these fruits can contain an eighth of our daily protein requirement. The almonds can be considered a complete food. They are less fatty nuts, but they have more properties stimulating and healing. For this reason they are recommended in case of malnutrition.

Laxative

In addition to being a highly energetic food, they are also attributed laxative properties. This characteristic is due to the good percentage of dietary fiber present in the fruit that helps the body to prevent constipation. To accelerate the digestive process and their beneficial effects it is necessary to accompany them with lots of water.

Energizers

The presence of copper, manganese and riboflavin, helps the body to produce energy and improves the metabolic rate.

Besides being a highly nutritious food, almonds are also a very balanced food. Their use is recommended at certain times when the body particularly needs energy.

Pregnancies, convalescences, sports activities, physical and intellectual overwork. This property is due in particular to the good percentage of manganese, copper and riboflavin.

They Protect the Heart

An important property of almonds is the role of vitamin E which brings decisive benefits in mitigating the risk of heart attacks. Together with unsaturated fats it helps reduce the growth of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries.

The monounsaturated fats then, together with antioxidant compounds, efficiently support heart health  and prevent cardiovascular diseases

A review of studies in 2018 argues that adding these fruits to the diet not only reduces LDL cholesterol levels but keeps good HDL cholesterol levels constant. ( 1 )

Another very recent study confirms that the addition of almonds to the diet is a safe nutritional choice to manage dyslipidemia. ( 2 )

A 2015 study of patients with coronary heart disease showed that these fruits have the ability to improve cardiovascular health. The researchers claim that almonds, if regularly consumed, reduce cardiovascular risk also through the reduction of cholesterol. ( 3 )

Free Radicals

They are an excellent source of vitamin E, a powerful  liposoluble antioxidant that counteracts the activity of free radicals. It thus protects the integrity of the mucous membrane and skin cell membrane.

Almonds: properties and benefits

Lower Cholesterol

According to a study conducted by Health Research and Studies Center, regularly consume a small amount of almonds help to lower the levels of cholesterol bad LDL in the blood.

This characteristic is due to the presence in the seed of monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid and palmitoleic acid. These substances not only reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels but increase the good HDL level. ( 4 )

The same result was reached in a 2017 study conducted on non-smokers between the ages of 20 and 39. ( 5 )

They are Good for the Brain

The almonds contain many nutrients that help in the health and development of the brain. They also contain 2 vital nutrients for the brain, riboflavin and L-cartinina. These 2 compounds have been shown to increase brain activity with the formation of new neural pathways. Their properties also include reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

There are several studies that show how almonds and even their oil play an active role in the proper functioning of the nervous system. A 2016 study conducted on rats showed how the consumption of this nut benefits the age-related memory dysfunction. ( 6 )

They do not Contain Gluten

They are gluten – free and are often used in the preparation of foods produced specifically for people suffering from celiac disease.

Blood Pressure

The good potassium content, together with a low sodium content, makes almonds a useful food to keep blood pressure under control. There are thus benefits for the apparatus cardiovascular.

Protection Against Diabetes

Contribute and reduce glycemic spikes after meals. They offer protection to people suffering from diabetes. ( 7 )

A 2017 study suggests that introducing these fruits into one’s diet for 24 weeks helps improve weeks helps improve glycemic parameters. ( 8 ) This property is confirmed by another 2011 study where 20 patients who received almonds for 12 weeks saw improve their glycemic control. ( 9 )

Anticancer

According to a study by the University of California Department of Nutrition, their consumption can reduce the risk of colon cancer.

They contain gamma-tocopherol, a powerful antioxidant that counteracts the activity of free radicals and the oxidative stress associated with tumors. There are several studies that link the consumption of this type of fruit with a reduced risk of developing colon, colon and breast cancer. ( 10 )

Immune System

They are a great source of alkaline compounds that are known to bring benefits to the immune system. In particular, they increase its effectiveness against agent attacks pathogens. If the immune system is strengthened and functions well, we will fall ill less and gain health.

Skin Benefits

The properties and benefits of this fruit against the skin are well known. Almond oil massages are often recommended for newborns. The milk of almonds instead often appears as an ingredient in some soaps when it improves skin complexion.

Vitamin E, along with other antioxidant compounds, nourishes the skin and reduces the signs of aging. The research confirms that these fruits contain high concentrations of catechin, quercetin, kaempferol which fight skin cancer and other damage to pollution and UVA rays. ( 11 )

Anti Inflammatory

The good content of essential fatty acids makes almonds a valid aid against inflammation. Our body  is not able to create the essential fatty acids for which it needs to take them through nutrition .

The almonds contain two fatty acids very important, linoleic acid and linolenic acid. The properties of these 2 compounds are a valid aid to reduce inflammation but not only. They help reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels and are good for the skin and hair.

A 2013 study confirmed that their regular consumption can improve inflammation and oxidative stress. ( 12 ) Another 2016 study examined the effect of nut consumption, including almonds, on inflammation. The results confirmed their beneficial effects by reducing inflammatory markers. ( 13 )

Pregnancy

The almonds contain folic acid which helps to reduce the risk of birth defects in newborns. This compound also stimulates healthy cell growth and tissue formation. Its intake can also prevent defects of the neural tube in infants.

Energy Production

The presence of manganese, copper and riboflavin promotes energy production. When you are outside the home a handful of this dried fruit provides energy without too many calories and fat.

Weight Loss

For weight loss you can use almond milk without sugar. The monounsaturated fats present in these fruits increase the sense of satiety and prevent overeating. Even the fiber has a high satiating power although small amounts are eaten.

Studies have revealed that a diet low in calories and rich in nuts is useful to obese people to start losing weight. ( 14 )

Almond Oil

Oil of sweet almond is rich in vitamin E. It is an excellent emollient, nourishing and soothing. Suitable for all skin types, it fights against aging and is used above all for dry skin.

It is useful in the case of measles or chicken pox, where its emollient effect attenuates itching.

Oil of almonds is also useful in case of stretch marks during pregnancy or as a result of a strict diet. In addition to these characteristics, perhaps not everyone is aware of the fact that oil can be used to restore vigor and shine to dull hair.

To get all the benefits, an oil pack is recommended, lasting about 20 minutes, before washing the hair.

Almond Milk

The almond milk is a highly energy drink, is made with almond sweet, some bitter and sugar. It is a food with a great caloric intake. So be careful not to overdo the doses (also considering its pleasant taste), in fact a glass of this  milk has the same calories as half a pound of banana.

The milk has  properties antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, refreshing and balancing mood.

Its intake is useful for calming the cough and providing an excellent tonic food for the elderly and children.

Precautions and Contraindications

Due to the high energy and nutritional power, it is better not to consume more than a dozen in one day. Strictly avoid the consumption of bitter ones in excessive amounts, as they can be extremely toxic.

The almonds contain oxalates which, if taken excessively, can result in crystallization and create various types of problems. For this reason, people who have kidney and gall bladder problems should refrain from consuming them.

The allergy to these fruits is quite widespread, make sure you do not suffer from them before consuming almonds or foods that contain them.

Curiosity

California is currently the largest almond producing country  in the world with around 80% of world production.

The bitter almonds are not suitable for human consumption. They contain a toxic substance, amygdalin, which is deactivated only with prolonged cooking. The more bitter an almond the more toxic it is.

If provided with a shell, they can be stored in a cool, dry environment even for a few months. If shelled, the storage period is greatly reduced and must be kept in a tightly closed jar.

The sweet almond oil can be safely used instead of the classic soap. In addition to having excellent moisturizing properties, it eliminates impurities and does not alter the normal balance of the skin.

Since ancient times almond milk  was considered an excellent refreshing remedy for the intestine and bladder.

Maybe Not Everyone Knows That

In India and Pakistan these fruits, known as badams, have been an integral part of the population’s diet for centuries. Their consumption dates back to 4000 b.C .

In the Bible there are many references to these shelled fruits that are described as objects of value and a symbol of hope .

Not recommended for those who are predisposed to herpes. In fact, almonds contain a particular substance, arginine, which is able to stimulate the activation of the virus.

The almonds, according to Ayurveda medicine, contribute to longevity and to raising the intellectual level.

Almonds: Properties and Benefits

Italian language version

Disclaimer:

This is not a medical newspaper, the information provided by this site is for informational purposes only and is of a general nature, it cannot in any way replace the prescriptions of a doctor or other health professionals authorized by law. The notions of dosage, medical procedures and product descriptions on this site have an illustrative purpose and do not allow to acquire the necessary experience and manual skills for their practice or their use. If you have been prescribed medical care I urge you not to interrupt or modify them, because all the suggestions you find on www.mr-loto.it  must always and in any case be compared with the opinion of your doctor.

Back to top button