Love the crunchy taste of almonds? Enjoy them in desserts or savor them alone – the fact that these delicious nuts can do wonders for your skin, hair and health gives you more than one reason to eat them! Tasty and nutritious, almonds are packed with antioxidants, Vitamin E, healthy fats and other vital nutrients.
Here’s a brief background check on almonds:
|Almond tree with ripening fruit.Majorca , Spain.|
|Prunus dulcis ,(Mill.) D.A.Webb|
|Prunus amygdalus , Batsch|
Almond or ‘badam’, as we call it in India, is basically an edible seed of a tree native to the Middle East and South Asia. Almond is not a true nut. The almond fruit is actually a drupe consisting of an outer hull and a hard shell which contains the white edible seed. Almonds are available in both shelled and unshelled forms. Shelled almonds, treated with hot water to soften the seed coat, are called blanched almonds where the seed coat has been removed to reveal the white embryo. Consumption of almonds can provide you with great skin, a healthy digestive system and normal cholesterol levels. Almonds can be used in different forms. Almond oil is extremely popular and can be applied topically on your skin and hair. These nuts or rather seeds can be used to get multiple benefits.
[Read about – 5 Simple Ways How Almonds Help You Lose Weight]
Skin Benefits of Almonds:
Almonds are a super food as far as their benefits for the skin are concerned. Being a rich source of Vitamin E and antioxidants, almonds can provide the following benefits for your skin.
1. Almonds for Glowing Skin:
The antioxidants in almonds cleanse your skin by eliminating toxins and free radicals from your body. They also contain abundant amounts of alpha-tocopherol which is a major source of Vitamin E. This vitamin is considered a skin food as it nourishes your skin, keeping it smooth and glowing. Apart from eating almonds, you can prepare a skin brightening face pack. All you need to do is crush 4 to 5 almonds to make almond powder and mix it with 1 teaspoon of milk, some lemon juice and gram flour. Apply this mixture on your face and wash off after 30 minutes to get a fairer complexion.
2. Anti-ageing Benefits:
The various antioxidants in almonds possess anti-ageing properties which help in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Massaging your face regularly with almond oil can provide you with a glowing and radiant complexion as well as make your skin look younger.
3. Treatment of Acne, Blackheads and Whiteheads:
Almonds are effective in reducing the appearance of acne, blackheads and whiteheads. Applying almond oil regularly causes your acne to gradually disappear. Almond oil also helps in reducing acne scars. For this purpose, you can prepare a mixture of almond oil, lemon juice, honey and milk, and apply it on the scar. Doing this for a week will lighten the appearance of scars considerably. Almonds also help in curing pimples.
4. Treatment of Dark Circles:
Almond oil helps in controlling dark circles under your eyes. All you need to do is massage your skin under the eyes with almond oil. Doing this daily will reduce the depth of the dark circles within two weeks.
5. Treatment of Dry Skin:
Another great benefit of almonds! If you have dry skin, you can prepare an almond face mask to remove unwanted dead cells from the face and neck, avoiding acne and extra dryness. You can mix 1 tablespoon almond powder with one egg white and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Apply this mixture on your face for 20 minutes and wash off with cold water.
6. Reduces Tanning:
Exposure to the sun can tan your skin, making it look darker. You can make a paste of almond oil, lemon juice, honey and milk powder. Apply it on the affected areas for 20 minutes. This should be done twice a week to reduce tan and restore the lost moisture of your skin.
7. Treatment of Spots and Marks:
We all wish to have flawless skin without spots and marks. As we age, our skin begins to lose its sheen, causing the appearance of age spots. You can prepare a face pack of finely powdered almonds, sandalwood powder and raw milk. Apply this on your face and neck. Allow it to dry and then wash off.
Hair Benefits of Almonds:
Both consumption and topical application of almonds can provide you with healthy hair. Almond oil is particularly beneficial in this regard and can help you in getting rid of all kinds of hair problems.
8. Treatment of Dandruff:
You can prepare a hair pack from almonds to ward off dandruff and impurities from the scalp. For this purpose, grind almonds into a powder and mix about 1 cup of this powder with ½ cup yoghurt and1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds powder. Apply this mixture on your hair at night and add a whole egg white the next morning. Wash off after sometime. This will nourish your hair and remove dandruff and impurities from your scalp.
9. Treatment of Hair fall:
Almond oil is rich in Vitamins D and E as well as minerals like magnesium and calcium. Its emollient and softening action helps prevent hair fall. Being a natural moisturizer, it helps in the treatment of brittle hair. It provides the required nutrition to make your hair healthier, stronger and shinier. All you need to do is warm some almond oil for a few seconds and massage your scalp gently until it penetrates your roots. Wash off with a mild shampoo after a few hours. This should be done once a week for beneficial results.
Health Benefits of Almonds:
Being packed with nutrition, almonds can boost your health in several ways. Listed are the almonds health benefits!
10. Improves Digestive Health:
One of the reasons why almonds are beneficial for your skin is that they facilitate smooth digestion by removing toxins from the body. Constipation disturbs the entire digestive process. Being rich in fibre, almonds help in preventing constipation. To speed up digestion and keep bowel movements regular, it is advisable to drink enough water along with the consumption of almonds.
11. Source of Energy:
Almonds are a great energy booster. They contain manganese, copper and riboflavin which aid in energy production and improve the metabolic rate. You can start your day by eating 10 pieces of almonds soaked in water overnight. The variety of antioxidants, proteins and healthy fats in almonds help in maintaining cholesterol levels.
12. Regulates Blood Pressure:
Almonds are rich in potassium and low in sodium which aid in blood pressure regulation. Potassium regulates blood pressure while low sodium content controls fluctuating blood pressure. The other vitamins and minerals in almonds help in preventing further deficiencies. The correct balance of vitamins and minerals is vital for a healthy lifestyle.
13. Anti-inflammatory Properties:
Certain fatty acids are vital and beneficial for overall health. These fatty acids cannot be created by the body so they have to be obtained from dietary sources. Almonds are rich in both linoleic and linolenic acids which help to reduce inflammation all round the body. They also help in lowering the levels of bad LDL cholesterol, and promote healthy skin and hair.
14. Beneficial for Diabetics:
Almonds are particularly beneficial for diabetic patients as they prevent the reactionary rise in glucose and insulin levels after meals. They protect against the dangerous spikes in blood sugar which are often experienced by diabetics after a large meal. Almonds help regulate the absorption and processing of glucose. Regular consumption of almonds benefits in reducing low density cholesterol as well as improves insulin sensitivity, helping to prevent diabetes.
15. Improves Heart Health:
Being a rich source of minerals like potassium and magnesium, Vitamin E, folic acid and monounsaturated fats, almonds can significantly reduce the chances of heart disease. Being an effective antioxidant, Vitamin E reduces the risk of heart disease while magnesium helps prevent heart attacks. Almonds help in reducing the C-reactive proteins which are responsible for causing artery damaging inflammation. Folic acid present in almonds reduces the homocysteine levels, preventing fatty plaque build-up in the arteries. Apart from these, the skin of almonds contains flavonoids which in combination with Vitamin E form a powerful shield against artery wall damage.
16. Helps Build Strong Bones and Teeth:
This benefit of almonds can be attributed to the presence of phosphorus in almonds. This mineral is instrumental in improving the strength and durability of bones and teeth as well as preventing the onset of age-related conditions like osteoporosis.
17. Beneficial in Pregnancy:
Pregnant women should incorporate almonds in their diet. Folic acid present in these nuts helps prevent birth defects in newborn babies as well as enables healthy cell growth and tissue formation. Neural tube defects are caused when the neural tube is underdeveloped or partially missing in the foetus. Folic acid supplements are often prescribed to pregnant women to enable proper development of the tube. Almonds contain folic acid which helps to keep mothers and their babies healthy.
18. Boosts the Immune System:
Almonds help in improving the alkalinity of your systems. Being a great source of alkali materials, almonds improve the ability of your immune system to ward off diseases and health conditions. They have a high content of Vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant. It eliminates the harmful free radicals from the body which promote chronic diseases and damage the body’s organ system. These free radicals can even lead to major diseases like heart disease and cancer. Deficiency of Vitamin E can adversely affect the body’s ability to fight infections.
19. Improves Brain Health:
Almonds are a great source of nutrients that contribute to the health and development of the human brain. Children are often given 2 or 3 pieces of soaked almonds every morning. This is because almonds have been connected with higher intellectual levels. They contain two vital brain nutrients called riboflavin and L-carnitine which increase brain activity, creating new neural pathways and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Both almonds and almond oil facilitate healthy functioning of the nervous system.
20. Prevents Cancer:
Research conducted at the Department of Nutrition, University of California indicated that consumption of almonds can reduce the risk of colon cancer. This is because they improve the movement of food through the colon, preventing plaque build-up which leads to colon cancer. Research is still underway regarding the link between high fibre diets and reduced risk of colon cancer.
Almonds for Weight Loss:
Almonds are a great option for those who want to lose weight. Nuts are often criticized for being fatty but almonds contain healthy monounsaturated fats which satisfy the appetite and prevent overeating. The fibre, protein and fat contained in almonds provide a feeling of fullness even after eating just a handful of them. The high content of dietary fibre in almonds regularizes bowel movement which aids in weight loss and maintenance of overall health through elimination of toxins.
Certain studies have shown that people who regularly consume almonds are more likely to maintain their ideal weight while others who rarely or never consume almonds suffer from weight fluctuations. In fact, a low calorie diet incorporating almonds has been found to be beneficial for obese people to help them lose weight. Magnesium in almonds helps regulate blood sugar which is a key factor in reducing food cravings. Almonds can even block the body’s absorption of calories. These properties make them a natural weight loss snack. It is advisable to limit the serving size to an ounce as almonds are naturally high in calories.
Almonds Nutritional Value:
These small nuts are packed with nutrients like Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Consumption of just 23 almonds a day can provide you with all the vital nutrients. Besides being a rich source of fibre and protein, they are naturally low in sugar. Among the tree nuts, almonds rank highest in terms of protein, Vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin and calcium content. Raw almonds are dense in nutrients which play an important role in weight management and satisfying hunger. The in-depth nutritional value of almonds can be understood from the table and explanation given below.
Nutritional report: Almonds, raw 1 cup whole (143 grams):
|Water – 6.31 grams||Energy – 828 kcal|
|Protein – 30.24 grams||Total lipid (fat) – 71.40 grams|
|Carbohydrate, by difference – 30.82 grams||Fiber, total dietary – 17.9 grams|
|Sugars, total – 6.01 grams||Cholesterol – 0 grams|
|Calcium, Ca – 385 mg||Iron, Fe – 5.31 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg – 386 mg||Phosphorus, P – 688 mg|
|Potassium, K – 1048 mg||Sodium, Na – 1 mg|
|Zinc, Zn – 4.46 mg||Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid – 0 mg|
|Thiamin – 0.293 mg||Riboflavin – 1.627 mg|
|Niacin – 5.174 mg||Vitamin B-6 – 0.196 mg|
|Folate, DFE – 63 µg||Vitamin B-12 – 0 µg|
|Vitamin A, RAE – 0 µg||Vitamin A, IU – 3 IU|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) – 36.65 mg||Vitamin D – 0 IU|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) – 0 µg||Caffeine – 0 mg|
- Calories and Fat: Almonds contain high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids which are known for lowering the risk of heart disease and reducing LDL cholesterol levels. A serving of an ounce or 23 whole kernels of almonds provides 18 grams of fat out of which 11 grams is monounsaturated fat. A serving of 23 almonds contains about 160 calories most of which come from healthy unsaturated fats.
- Dietary Fibre: Nuts and seeds are the richest sources of fibre after cereals, and almonds are no exception. An ounce serving of almonds (23 almonds) provides about 3.3 grams of fibre which is equivalent to 13% of the recommended daily value.
- Carbohydrates: Almonds are a rich source of carbohydrates with 23 whole kernels supplying 5.6 grams of carbohydrates, half of which are in the form of dietary fibre.
- Protein: Almonds contain high quality plant protein. A quarter cup serving of almonds contains 7.62 grams of protein. The recommended daily amount of protein is 50 grams based on a 2000 calorie diet. A quarter cup of almonds fulfills 15% of the recommended daily value of protein. Almonds are devoid of cholesterol and contain a negligible amount of sodium.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body cells, particularly the skin, heart and red blood cells against free radical damage. A quarter cup serving of almonds contributes about 45% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin E.
- B-vitamins: Raw almonds have a high content of B-vitamins like riboflavin, B-6, thiamine, niacin and folates. These B-vitamins play an important role in the body’s process of cellular metabolism.
- Magnesium: Raw almonds are a good source of minerals, especially magnesium. A quarter cup of almonds contributes 25% of the daily recommended value of magnesium. This mineral facilitates proper flow of oxygen, blood and nutrients throughout the body.
- Phosphorus: Almonds also contain significant amounts of phosphorus with an ounce serving providing 15% of the daily recommended value.
- Potassium: A serving of 23 whole almond kernels contains 290 milligrams of potassium.
- Manganese and Copper: A quarter cup serving of almonds contributes 45% and 20% of the daily recommended values of manganese and copper respectively. Both these minerals aid in the production of enzymes that inhibit free radicals which are responsible for causing ageing.
- Gluten-Free: Almonds are a great choice for gluten-sensitive individuals and those with celiac disease. They are often used in gluten-free alternatives as they contain fibre which makes them beneficial for people with celiac disease.
Types of Almonds:
All of us have come across almonds. Few of us are aware of the fact that there are several varieties of almonds. Even the almonds that we consume are available in different forms like raw, salted, unsalted, roasted and even flavored forms. Today we can get chocolate flavored, cinnamon flavored or even chilli and lime flavored almonds. Plain almonds can be chopped, sliced and added to desserts. Besides, almond milk and almond butter are also widely used these days. Broadly speaking, there are 25 varieties of almonds which can be classified into 3 categories.
1. Nonpareil: These almonds are characterized by a thin outer shell and smooth, light skinned kernels. They are somewhat flat in shape and quite easy to blanch because of their smooth skin.
2. California: The California almonds include several varieties like Monterey, Carmel and Sonora almonds. They have a comparatively harder shell but are still easy to blanch.
3. Mission: The almonds in this category have a really hard shell and a smaller kernel than the Nonpariel and California almonds. Their characteristic dark wrinkled skin makes them a perfect choice for flavored almonds. They are not usually blanched by the producers.
Contraindications of Almond Consumption:
Almonds are a healthy food source, worthy of being incorporated in your diet. In order to reap the maximum benefits of almonds, it is advisable to consume raw almonds. Roasted almonds are often fried in coconut or palm kernel oil so they contain high amounts of saturated fats which lead to an increase in LDL cholesterol and thickness of artery walls. Besides, they contain significant amounts of oxalates which can crystallize in the body and lead to health issues like kidney and gall bladder problems. Some people are also allergic to almonds. Symptoms like tingling or numbness of the lips or mouth while eating almonds are an indication of an allergic response. Consumption of almonds should be stopped in such a case.
Almonds can provide multiple benefits for your skin, hair and health. They are ideal to be munched as snacks or added to several recipes. Whatever be the manner, like most foods, they should be consumed in moderation to maintain overall health. Go ahead and satisfy your hunger pangs by grabbing a handful of almonds! Do leave us a comment below.