Almond or Badam is one of the earliest cultivated trees, mainly popular for their seeds. The seeds of almonds are enclosed within a hard, stony shell surrounded with succulent pulp, just like the peach fruit. But unlike peaches, you don’t have to wait for a specific season to reap the benefits of almonds. They are available throughout the year to add flavour to your dessert and spicy dishes. Almonds are nutrient dense super foods that offer some amazing benefits.
Helps to control and lose weight: Although almonds are rich in carbohydrates and total calories, they have proven to help weight loss and control. A study by Wien MA and colleagues showed that a low-calorie diet containing almonds was more effective in reducing weight compared to a diet having complex carbohydrates.
Lowers cholesterol and lipids: Looking for a natural remedy to lower cholesterol? Eat almonds. The high fat content in almonds might be the reason you’re not having them too much but here’s something you should know. Almonds do not contain saturated fats or unhealthy fats. They contain mono-unsaturated fatty acids or good fats. Studies indicate that almonds consistently help in lowering low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or bad cholesterol. And these results were consistent with both raw and roasted almonds.
Reduces risk of heart disease: Naturally, if your LDL levels reduce then your risk of heart disease also lowers. A study by Jenkins DJ and colleagues found that participants with high lipid levels who had almonds as snacks had a significantly reduced risk of coronary heart disease. According to the study, the nonfat (protein and fiber) and the high amount of monounsaturated fatty acids help protect the heart.
Has prebiotic properties: The high fibre content of almonds helps proper functioning of the digestive system. But did you know that almonds possess prebiotic properties? A study by Liu Z and colleagues found that the skin of almonds contains certain compounds that stimulate the growth of good bacteria like Bifidobacterium in the intestine. It suggests that changes in the intestinal microbes were associated with changes enzymes that improved digestion.
Controls diabetes: If you’re a diabetic, you should eat almonds. They fight and decrease the amount of the free radicals that damage cholesterol and increase blood sugar level. It especially prevents the rise in blood sugar after meals.
Stimulates hair growth: There’s a reason why almond hair oil is recommended for hair growth. Almonds contain omega- 6 fatty acids that promote hair growth. They naturally moisturize hair and make them strong and healthy.
Rejuvenates the skin: Because of their powerful antioxidant activity due to Vitamin E, almonds prevent early ageing and wrinkling of skin. It rejuvenates and moisturizes the skin cells, keeping it fresh and glowing.
Prevents gallstones: More and more people are now suffering from gallstones or problems with the gall bladder. But prevent disease the gall bladder could be as simple as eating a fistful of nuts, including almonds. The Nurses’ Health Study showed that women who consumed 1 ounce of nuts lowered their risk of suffering from gallstones by 25%.
Keeps cancer away: Antioxidants have immense power to protect the cells from becoming cancerous. But apart from antioxidants like vitamin E, almonds are loaded with other nutrients that individually prevent specific types of cancer. The high fibre content in them helps prevent colon cancer. The rich folic acid stores in almonds may reduce the risk of cervical cancer. Scientists have even found a link between almonds and reduction in the risk of lung cancers.
Improves brain function: ‘ Eat badam to sharpen your mind,’ an old adage used by your grandmother, actually has a scientific basis. Almonds contain nutrients like riboflavin and L-carnitine, which boosts neurological activity and brain power. It also helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Even Ayurveda mentions that almonds increase intellectual level and longevity.