Health Benefits of Eating Almonds
Fortunately, the delicately flavored and versatile almond is available throughout the year to make a healthy and tasty addition to both sweet and savory dishes. Although packaged almonds are available year round, they are the freshest in mid-summer, which is when they are at the height of their season.
The almond that we think of as a nut is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree, a medium-size tree that bears fragrant pink and white flowers. Like its cousins, the peach, cherry and apricot trees, the almond tree bears fruits with stone-like seeds (or pits) within. The seed of the almond fruit is what we refer to as the almond nut. In addition to their cholesterol-lowering effects, almonds’ ability to reduce heart disease risk may also be partly due to the antioxidant action of the vitamin E found in the almonds, as well as to the LDL-lowering effect of almonds’ monounsaturated fats. (LDL is the form of cholesterol that has been linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease). When almonds are substituted for more traditional fats in human feeding trials, LDL cholesterol can be reduced from 8 to 12%.
In addition to healthy fats and vitamin E, a quarter-cup of almonds contains 62 mg of magnesium plus 162 mg of potassium. Magnesium is Nature’s own calcium channel blocker. When there is enough magnesium around, veins and arteries breathe a sigh of relief and relax, which lessens resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Studies show that a deficiency of magnesium is not only associated with heart attack but that immediately following a heart attack, lack of sufficient magnesium promotes free radical injury to the heart.
1. They reduce heart attack risk.
Those who consume nuts five times a week have about a 50 percent reduction in risk of heart attack according to the Loma Linda School of Public Health.
2. They lower ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Almonds added to the diet have a favorable effect on blood cholesterol levels, according to a clinical study by Dr. Gene Spiller, Director of the Health Research and Studies Center, Inc.
3. They protects artery walls from damage.
It was found that the flavonoids in almond skins work in synergy with the vitamin E, thus reducing the risk of heart disease (Research at Tufts University).
4. Almonds help build strong bones and teeth.
The phosphorus in almonds helps make this possible.
5. They help provide good brain function.
Almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, nutrients that boost brain activity and may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
6. They nourish the nervous system.
According to Ayurveda, almonds help increase high intellectual level and longevity.