Learn about the almond's health benefits

Learn about the almond’s health benefits

My mom always says that the key to health is eating a handful of almonds a day. I have always been skeptical, but as it turns out, she may be right. From weight loss to heart protection, these small, unassuming nuts can help you maintain your health and ward off disease.

Nutrients in almonds
Almonds are one of the most nutritious nuts around. They are dense in vitamins and minerals that help keep your body healthy. In addition to providing a hefty dose of protein and fiber, almonds also contain the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. They also contain vitamin E, zinc, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. While almonds do have fat in them, but it is monosaturated fat, which is the type that is great for your heart (also found in olive oil and salmon). 

Health benefits
The health benefits of eating almonds include the consumption of a certain form of vitamin E that is a very important antioxidant. This means it helps neutralize free radicals, which if unchecked, can result in disease and illness. The Almond Board of California says that most Americans do not get nearly enough vitamin E in their diet, and touts that ?just one ounce of almonds (about 23) contains 35% of the Daily Value for vitamin E.?

Almonds can also help you lose weight. Because they contain fiber, protein, and the good type of fat, they help keep you full, making them an ideal healthy snack. They are perfect for stashing in your desk at work! If you fill up on almonds, you won?t need to grab those potato chips or cookies.

Most importantly, almonds are very beneficial for heart health. They contain low levels of saturated fat and have no cholesterol. Eating them will not only help you avoid food that is unhealthy, but almonds themselves can actually help you maintain lower cholesterol levels, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Low cholesterol levels make you less likely to develop heart disease, which according to the Almond Board of California is the leading cause of men and women in the United States.

Almonds are low on the gylcemic index, which means they do not cause a large increase in blood glucose levels. It has been found that almonds help decrease rises in blood sugar after meals. When eaten with high-glycemic foods, eating almonds lowers the glycemic index of the entire meal. This can help prevent the development of diabetes.
How to eat almonds
Some people believe that there is a specific way to eat almonds in order to benefit most from them. Sure, you can eat almonds exactly as they come off the tree if you wish. However, for some people, the brown outer coating is difficult to digest.

To make almonds easier to digest, take raw almonds and grab a stainless steel or glass container. Put the almonds in the container and pour in enough purified water to cover them. Let them soak for 12 hours, then drain them. It is best to refrigerate them after this. Your almonds will now allow your digestive enzymes to work more effectively.

You don?t have to eat almonds plain or soaked; they can be a great addition to a variety of dishes! Slivered almonds are a fantastic topping for salads. Almonds are delicious when mixed in with green beans. You can coat fish or chicken in almonds. You can sprinkle them on top of desserts, add them to trail mix, and even eat almond butter sandwiches instead of peanut butter sandwiches. There are many ways to enjoy the health benefits of almonds! Almonds are available year-round, though mid-summer is when you will find them at their freshest.

How many almonds to eat
It turns out my mom was on the right track. The Almond Board of California actually recommends eating 23 almonds a day for maximum health benefits.