Almonds are one of the most nutrient rich nuts known to man. They are one of the earliest cultivated foods in history and trace their origins to parts of Central Asia and China. Explorers eventually discovered them and brought them home to the new world, where they have flourished in growth ever since. Due to their high content of dietary fiber, protein and essential organic vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium, almonds merit numerous health benefits and are regarded the world over as an excellent health food. In this article we shall expound on some of the key health benefits of almonds.
The most paramount health benefit that can be derived from almonds is its ability to prevent cancer. The potent anti-cancer nutrient contained in almonds is amygdalin, which is also known as laetrile or vitamin B-17. The nutrient acts in the same manner as antioxidants and eliminates the carcinogenic free radicals from the body. The high fiber content of almonds cleanses the bowels of cancer causing toxins and circumvents the onset of colon cancer.
Keeps heart healthy
Almonds have been found to be an excellent ward against cardiovascular diseases and keeps the heart healthy. The presence of several phytochemicals in almonds such as beta-sisterol stigmasterol and campesterol has been found to prevent the instances of arteriosclerosis by reducing the plaque forming LDL cholesterol in the blood by ten percent.
Rich in protein
Almonds are a rich source of protein, which accounts for about 18 percent of its composition. The amino acids contained in proteins are responsible for the healthy development of muscles and tissue in the body. Since, almonds are devoid of carbohydrates, they are a very good source of protein for people with diabetes or high blood sugar levels.
An organic diet comprising of almonds can boost energy levels in the body manifold. This is due to the fact that almonds have a high content of energy rich nutrients such as copper, manganese and riboflavin, which effectively combat fatigue and revitalize the body.
Boosts brain activity
Almonds are one of the most popular organic healthy foods that are recommended for adults and children as they enhance brain activity and memory. Studies have shown that a diet that includes almonds significantly improves the cognitive and learning skills in children and teenagers. This health benefit stems from the presence of Phenylalanine, a chemical that is known to boost the functioning of the brain.
Prevents birth defects
Almonds have a high content of folic acid, a chemical compound that is a known source of prevention against birth defects. Folic acid also plays an integral role in the healthy growth and formation of cells and tissues in the body. Hence, consuming organic healthy foods such as almonds during pregnancy would ensure the health of the fetus.
Effective cure for constipation
Due to its high fiber content, eating a handful of almonds a day has been found to be an effective cure for constipation. Fiber is excellent mucilage that facilitates the passage of food through the digestive system and evacuates the bowels effectively.
According to recent studies, a handful of almonds after meals can lower the risks of diabetes. The compounds in almonds have been found to stabilize the insulin and sugar levels in the blood, thus preventing the onset of diabetes.
Aids in weight loss
Contrary to the popular misconception, an organic diet consisting of almonds can catalyze the process of weight loss. Studies have revealed that people who consumed a lot of almonds in their diet, had significantly lower body mass indexes. This is because the cell walls of almonds restrict the amount of fat that is digested by the body, thus preventing the absorption of excess fat.
The monosaturated fat present in almonds is very beneficial to the body as it lowers the harmful LDL cholesterol and instead raises the HDL or good cholesterol in the blood.
Reduces high blood pressure
People who consume a diet that is high in sodium but deficient in calcium and potassium are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. However, by including health foods such as almonds in their diet, they can effectively reduce or prevent high blood pressure.
Almonds have been widely used in Chinese medicine due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Given their high calcium content almonds are effective in alleviating osteoporosis and inflammation in the liver.
The myriad health benefits of almonds have been known since medieval times. Apart from preventing the onset of debilitating diseases in the body, almonds have been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a panacea for the soul as well as to calm the nerves and the mind. Thus, we can infer from the above discussion that a handful of almonds a day can keep the doctor away, whilst providing you with all the essential nourishment that is vital for sound health of mind and body.