Commonly mistaken as nuts, almonds are actually nutrient-dense seeds which you’ve probably seen nestled in the baking isle next to the cashews and hazelnuts in the supermarket. They can be used in an abundance of dishes from curries to pasta or even to add a sweet crunch to your breakfast cereal. Not only are these seeds tasty and easy to cook with, they also pack in many health properties so read on for our Top 5 Health Benefits of Almonds!
1. Monounsaturated fats
Almonds have a high fat content which can seem deceivingly negative but the fact that they are monounsaturated means that these actually benefit your cholesterol levels through increasing the HDL’s (good) and decreasing the LDL’s (bad), proving to reduce risk of coronary heart disease and strokes.
2. Vitamin E
Almonds contain generous quantities of vitamin E (170% of your RDA in 100g), which is known for its neuroprotective functions, reducing risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s whilst supporting cognitive abilities like memory function and decision-making skills. Vitamin E also possesses an abundance of other benefits such as improving your skin’s moisture and elasticity whilst also repairing damage to capillary walls and reducing inflammation (it’s the formula for smoother and younger looking skin).
100g of these sweet seeds accounts for 30% of your daily fiber intake, equivalent to 4 slices of wholemeal bread or 9 bananas. Maintaining healthy gut function means that your body is able to break down and digest the food that you eat properly whilst expelling the waste and unwanted components easily -beating that bloat and getting you closer to a trimmer waistline.
A 30g handful of almonds as a snack provides over 10% of your protein RDA so forget thinking that in order to reach your protein intake levels you need to pile up on chicken and egg-whites when this simple snack can be one of your go-to’s. Protein is vital for your muscle growth and the development of new cells and is essential for those looking to bulk up, heal from injury and to maintain healthy bones and skin.
This is a commonly overlooked nutrient but it affects nearly every process in your body. Depleted levels can result in symptoms such as anxiety, headaches, tiredness and sleeplessness. When you consider that 100g of almonds contains over 65% of your recommended daily magnesium there really is no reason to miss out on these seeds in your diet!
For those of you who don’t like the taste of almonds, fear not! There are many ingredients that provide similar benefits such as beans and nuts (see our top 5 health benefits of kidney beans). For almond lovers, we’d love to know how you have yours and what recipes you’ve been cooking up so please tag us in any photos, join in the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and follow us on Twitter. (Check out our other seed and nut articles too!)