Almond trees may have been one of the earliest trees that people cultivated. People call almonds a nut, but they are seeds, rather than a true nut.
People can eat almonds raw or toasted as a snack or add them to sweet or savory dishes. They are also available sliced, flaked, slivered, as flour, oil, butter, or almond milk.
Almonds are high in fat, but it is unsaturated fat. This type of fat does not increase the risk of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol.
In moderation, the American Heart Association (AHA) note that unsaturated fats may improve a person’s blood cholesterol status.
In addition, almonds contain no cholesterol.
Almonds appear to be a protective factor for the development of breast cancer.
In a study from 2014, scientists found that almonds significantly increased the levels of antioxidants in the bloodstream, reduced blood pressure, and improved blood flow. The participants were all healthy males from 20–70 years of age who took 50 g of almonds per day for 4 weeks.
The researchers believe this may be due to:
- vitamin E, healthy fats, and fiber, which help a person feel full
- the antioxidant impact of flavonoids
They recommend eating a handful of almonds a day to obtain these benefits.
Almonds may help manage blood sugar levels.
Many people with type 2 diabetes have low magnesium levels. A deficiency is common among those who have difficulty managing their blood sugar levels. Scientists have suggested there may be a link between magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance.
In a 2011 study, 20 people with type 2 diabetes ate 60 g of almonds a day for 12 weeks. Overall, they saw improvements in:
- blood sugar levels
- blood lipid, or fat, levels
Some experts suggest using magnesium supplements to improve blood sugar profiles, but almonds may offer a suitable dietary source instead.
Almonds help with weight loss
According to research appearing in 2015, eating almonds as a mid-morning snack can leave a person feeling full for some time. People consumed either 28 g (173 calories) or 42 g (259 calories). The extent to which the participants’ appetites remained low was dependent on the quantity of almonds they consumed.
Feeling full can help people lose weight, as they will be less tempted to seek more snacks.
Experts have recommended almonds as a way to obtain some of these nutrients.
The table below shows the amount of each nutrient in one ounce (28.4 g) of almonds. This is approximately equivalent to a handful of almonds or around 23 almond kernels.
It also shows how much an adult needs of each nutrient, according to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Recommendations vary according to the individual’s sex and age.
|Nutrient||Amount in 1 ounce||Daily adult requirement|
|Carbohydrate (g)||6.1, including 1.2 g of sugar||130|
|Fat (g)||14.2, of which 12.4 g is unsaturated||20%–35% of daily calories|
|Selenium (micrograms or mcg)||1.2||55|
|Folate (mcg, DFE)||12.5||300–400|
|Vitamin E (mg)||7.27||15|
The B vitamins, choline, and protein may all be lacking in a plant-based diet. People who follow a vegan diet can supplement their needs by eating almonds