The health benefits of almonds have been documented for centuries, and modern research backs up many of the claims. The simple almond is an authentic health food. Nuts and seeds are the vegetable foods that are the richest in fiber after cereals, explaining why almonds are good for cardiovascular health. In addition, almonds contain healthy unsaturated fatty acids and a lot of bioactive molecules (such as fiber, phytosterols, vitamins, and minerals), which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. We have known about the amount of protein they contain for years. Still, now we are finding more significant health benefits of this tasty nut. Approximately 1 ounce of almonds has 1/8 of our daily protein needs.
Almonds increase the levels of vitamin E in the plasma and red blood cells, which helps to lower cholesterol. The American Dietetic Association published a study that concluded eating a handful of almonds per day can provide your body with the vitamin E it needs to function properly. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that defends your cells against free radicals and prevents the artery-clogging oxidation of cholesterol.
In the journal, Circulation, a study was published that discovered “almonds used as snacks in the diets of hyperlipidemic subjects significantly reduce coronary heart disease risk factors, probably in part because of the nonfat (protein and fiber) and monounsaturated fatty acid components of the nut.” Almonds, along with nuts and seeds in general, are often associated with improved levels of blood lipids and being good for the heart.
Recently researchers have studied almonds and their effect on preventing cancers, most notably colon cancer. The results suggested that “almond consumption may reduce colon cancer risk and does so through at least one almond lipid-associated component.” Another study published in the journal BMC Medicine concluded that people who regularly eat nuts are at a lower risk of death from cancer.
In the New England Journal of Medicine, a study was published that found that people who eat a handful of nuts every day live longer than those who do not eat them at all.