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Have you felt uncertain as to whether or not you should eat nuts like almonds, fearing that they are a high-fat, unhealthy food? Are almonds good for you? Almonds provide your body with important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that benefit everything from cholesterol to blood sugar control.
Why Are Almonds Good for You?
Almonds contain a variety of important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help to benefit your overall health. They’re a prime source of the following:
- Monounsaturated fats
- Plant sterols
- a-tocopherols (vitamin E)
- Arginine, an amino acid
5 Health Benefits of Almonds
So what are almonds good for? Almond nuts provide numerous health benefits.
- Improve overall diet quality. A study from the University of Florida found that when parents and children added almonds to their diet (1.5 ounces or 30-35 almonds per day for adults and 0.5 ounces of almond butter per day for children), scores for overall diet quality increased significantly. When parents and children ate almonds, their Healthy Eating Index scores (a tool measuring diet quality) increased from 53.7 to 61.4.
- Lower cholesterol. Almonds are some of the many effective cholesterol-lowering foods. Several studies have shown that almond consumption is associated with reductions in total and LDL-cholesterol levels.
- Improving gut bacterial balance. Studies show that eating almonds can alter the bacterial population in your digestive tract. This population, called the gut microbiome, is essential for many aspects of health, not just healthy digestion. When subjects in one study ate almonds, populations of healthy bacteria called Lachnospira, Roseburia, and Dialister increased. These types of bacteria are associated with enhanced immune activity, reduced cholesterol, healthy digestion, and inhibition of infection.
- Control blood sugar. Eating almonds has been shown to help control blood sugar responses after meals. They are considered a healthy food to eat to help keep blood sugar levels steady.
- Reduce appetite. Almonds are a great protein-rich snack to help tide you over until your next meal. When eaten as snacks, almonds can reduce feelings of hunger and help reduce your desire to eat more.
How to Make Almonds a Regular Part of your Diet
Studies show that about 1.5 ounces of almonds per day can have significant health benefits. Try keeping a large bag of raw, unsalted almonds on hand as a snack, and grab a handful when you’re feeling hungry in between meals.
Chopped almonds go great in granola or on top of oatmeal for breakfast. Slivered almonds are a tasty, crunchy addition to a salad. Almonds can even be added to dishes like curries, sauces, dips, and more. Search for recipes with almonds blended into these sorts of dishes for added health benefit.
Almonds aren’t the only healthy option when it comes to nut consumption. Walnuts have many health benefits, for example.
To read about some of the other benefits of healthy nuts and seeds, including how they can help you avoid disease, read “Are Nuts Good for You or an Unhealthy Indulgence?“