Almonds are a rich source of heart- and gut-friendly nutrients like fiber, protein, and monounsaturated fats.

Add them to your salads or turn them into nut butter. Almonds are a staple for meals and snacks, and they’re more than just a tasty source of satisfying crunch. Almonds are an excellent source of many nutrients, including fiber, protein, healthy fats, magnesium, and vitamin E. Although they are often categorized as healthy fats, almonds are a surprising source of protein and fiber. That’s good news for vegans and vegetarians looking for plant-based sources of protein, as well as the 95% of Europeans who don’t get the recommended amount of fiber.

There are dozens of varieties of almonds, belonging to two main categories: sweet or bitter. But perhaps more nutritionally important is how they are prepared and flavored. You’ll probably find salted almonds and fun-tasting almonds on supermarket shelves, but raw, unsalted almonds are your best shot at avoiding added sugars and sodium.

From almond milk to almond flour, there are plenty of ways to reap the potential benefits of this versatile nut. You can also do the same by keeping it simple and grabbing a handful of raw almonds the next time you feel like snacking.

Here are seven possible benefits of almonds that you can enjoy

1. Almonds Are Rich in Muscle Protein and Heart-Healthy Fiber

You’ve probably heard that a handful of raw almonds makes a nutritious snack, and it’s true: the nutritional profile of almonds is impressive. Thanks to their protein and fiber content, almonds are filling between meals. 28g of almonds contains just over 6 grams (g) of protein and about 4g of fibre.

Protein is the building blocks of the body, and it is essential for muscle growth. Protein is also good for weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight because this macronutrient (the other two being carbs and fat) helps keep you full.

While protein gets a lot of attention, let’s not forget about the fiber in almonds. A nutrient that most adults don’t get enough of, only getting about half of what they need. It’s no secret that fiber is an essential nutrient for heart and gut health. Diets high in fiber can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Fiber also helps regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk of colon cancer, and may facilitate weight loss. Almonds are a naturally high fiber food that can help men and women reach their goals of 38 and 25 grams of fiber per day, respectively.

2. Rich in monounsaturated fats, almonds help raise “good” cholesterol levels.

Although they are high in complex carbohydrates and contain health-promoting fiber and protein, almonds are best known for being a rich source of healthy fats. They are particularly high in monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are a type of healthy fat commonly found in nuts that have beneficial effects on heart health.

The monounsaturated fats in almonds increase “good” HDL cholesterol. Incorporating almonds high in monounsaturated fatty acids into the diet or regularly replacing a snack high in refined carbohydrates with almonds may be enough to raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.

Heart health aside, healthy fats are an essential part of a balanced diet. Healthy fats are needed to support cellular function and energy levels. However, excess fat can lead to weight gain because fat is high in calories. To maintain a healthy weight, 20-35% of your total daily calories should come from healthy fats.

3. Almonds are rich in antioxidants, like vitamin E, which help protect cells from damage.

Vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant. And almonds are a great source. 28g of almonds contains 7.26 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E, making it easy for almond lovers to reach their daily vitamin E quota. Antioxidants like vitamin E fight unstable molecules called free radicals, which damage cells when left unchecked. Vitamin E therefore helps prevent free radical damage while boosting immune function and preventing blood clots from forming in the arteries.

Multiple studies have shown that eating almonds regularly effectively increases blood levels of vitamin E, which could translate to an increased likelihood of better immunity and reduced levels of inflammation in the body. . Research, such as a study published in the September 2018 European Journal of Nutrition, supports this notion.

4. Eating Almonds Helps Lower “Bad” Cholesterol Levels

It is important to have your cholesterol level checked regularly and if it turns out that you have an interest in reducing it, in this context almonds are your friend. Almonds may help lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. They contain monounsaturated fatty acids, which play a role in lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Almonds can also raise HDL, or good cholesterol. Consuming almonds actually reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol, increasing HDL cholesterol and decreasing body weight. One of the best tips for improving cholesterol numbers is to snack on almonds or add them to your salads.

5. Almonds have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the risk of disease.

A lot of research links walnuts to reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, but research has also found an association between almonds and improved inflammatory biomarkers. Although you may not always notice it, inflammation does not have to go unchecked. Antioxidants like vitamin E found in almonds play a role in reducing chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can increase the risk of chronic health problems like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. They also help reduce oxidative stress in our body, which leads to a reduction in inflammation.

6. Rich in Magnesium, Almonds May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is another important marker of heart health. High blood pressure is also called hypertension. It’s often called the “silent killer” because it goes unnoticed, but it can lead to serious health problems. Fortunately, high blood pressure can usually be cured by lifestyle changes and medication. A healthy diet, such as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet, can help lower blood pressure. If you’re wondering, nuts are encouraged in both of these recommended diets.

Besides reducing cholesterol and inflammation, almonds also reduce blood pressure. Almonds are a good source of magnesium, with 76.5mg per 28g. Magnesium can help lower blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency can also lead to high blood pressure, so eating magnesium-rich foods like almonds can help correct this. According to a meta-analysis published in the May 2020 Complementary Therapies in Medicine, almonds may have a favorable effect on diastolic blood pressure. The second or lower number, which measures the pressure in the walls of your arteries as your heart rests between beats.

7. Almonds are a source of low-FODMAP gut-friendly prebiotics.

Full of fiber, almonds are also a good source of prebiotics, which help nourish a healthy gut microbiome. A healthy gut microbiome supports immune system health and weight management, and prebiotics and probiotics help balance beneficial microorganisms. Almonds, especially their skin, are a natural food source of prebiotics, which nourish and support the healthy growth of probiotics in the gut. A small study found that almonds and almond skins have potential prebiotic properties.

Additionally, almonds are a source of these beneficial low-FODMAP prebiotics, which means they are low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. People with certain digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO), may be advised to follow a low-FODMAP diet, i.e. low in certain sugars that cause intestinal disorders.

FODMAPs are among the highest dietary sources of prebiotics, making it difficult for people with IBS or SIBO to consume prebiotic foods without having an adverse reaction or flare-up. As a low-FODMAP yet potent source of prebiotics, almonds make a wonderful staple for people who don’t tolerate high-FODMAP foods well but are looking to improve or optimize their gut microbiome. Research confirming the prebiotic effects of almonds is limited, but they have been shown to increase butyrate, a byproduct of fiber after they are digested, which can positively alter the microbiota, according to a randomized controlled trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition December 2022. Ultimately, almonds are an excellent source of dietary fiber without any adverse gut symptoms.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.