Almonds or badams occupy an important place in Indian culture and traditional Indian medicine or Ayurveda. From their use in traditional mithais and in gift-giving to their role as an important ingredient in natural remedies, almonds are now widely recognized as one of the healthiest foods. The benefits of almonds are linked to their complex nutritional profile, which includes healthy monounsaturated fats. They are rich in protein and fibre, as well as vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and lots more.
Top 10 Health Benefits Of Almonds
For Intestinal Health: Almonds are rich in fiber, which can help regulate digestion and prevent constipation. Almonds also contain prebiotics, which are substances that feed beneficial bacteria in the gut and promote a healthy microbiome. A study involving 48 healthy adults found that consuming 56 grams of almonds a day for 6 weeks increased the levels of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, two types of probiotics that can improve intestinal health. This is closely associated with the benefits of soaked almonds.
To Lower Triglycerides: Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood that can increase the risk of heart disease if they are too high. Almonds may help lower triglycerides by replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats in the diet. A study involving 27 adults with high triglycerides found that eating 75 grams of almonds per day for four weeks lowered their triglyceride levels by 29% compared with a control group .
To Lower LDL Cholesterol: Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Several studies show that consuming almonds significantly reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing HDL cholesterol .
To Prevent Heart Disease: While lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels alone promotes better heart health, almonds offer further benefits. A study involving 150 people with high cardiovascular risk found that eating 10 grams of almonds per day for 12 weeks improved several markers of heart health, such as blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index (BMI) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels [2,3].
For Diabetes Management: Almonds have a low glycemic index (GI), which means they do not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels after eating. They also contain magnesium, which plays a role in glucose metabolism. A meta-analysis of nine studies found that magnesium supplementation significantly improved fasting blood glucose and insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes .
For Youthful Skin: Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects the skin from oxidative stress and UV damage. Vitamin E also helps preserve skin moisture and elasticity. A study involving a group of healthy postmenopausal women found that increasing almond intake produced dramatic skin improvements within 4 months. Almond consumption improves skin barrier function, hydration, smoothness and softness [1,6].
To Prevent Diabetes: The benefits of eating almonds are not limited to people with diabetes or prediabetes, but also extend to healthy individuals who want to maintain optimal blood sugar levels. Numerous studies in healthy volunteers have found that eating almonds with white bread or other high carb foods reduced the postprandial glycemic response significantly, protecting against blood sugar spikes .
For Healthy Brain Function: Almonds may help improve brain function and prevent cognitive decline by providing essential nutrients and antioxidants. Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, which can protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation. A meta-analysis of 15 studies found that higher vitamin E intake was associated with lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment. Almonds also contain riboflavin, L-carnitine, phenylalanine and magnesium, which can enhance neurotransmitter production, energy metabolism, memory and learning .
Chemical Structure of Riboflavin
For Weight Management: Almonds may help achieve a healthy weight by increasing satiety, reducing appetite, boosting metabolism and modulating hormones. Almonds have a high protein and fiber content, which can make one feel full longer and reduce calorie intake. A study involving 137 adults with increased risk of type 2 diabetes found that eating 43 grams of almonds per day for four weeks reduced hunger and desire to eat compared with a control group. This is because almonds affect hormones that regulate appetite, fat storage and glucose uptake, such as leptin, ghrelin and insulin .
To Support Nutrition Absorption: Some vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E and K, are fat-soluble, which means they need fat to be absorbed and used by the body. Almonds provide healthy fats that can help absorb more of these vitamins from other foods.
Remember that while almonds are nutrition dense, they are also a high calorie food and should be consumed in moderation. Ideally, a single serving of almonds should comprise of no more than 20 almonds or 30 grams.