Of all the nuts, almonds contain the most calcium and twenty percent more protein; weight for weight, that's a third more protein that eggs. They are also one of the top sources of the cancer-preventing antioxidant Vitamin E. Almonds are low in calories and high in protein and fiber. A handful of almonds provide a good amount of Vitamin E, some B-vitamins and vital minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium.
The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim in his Prophetic Medicine mentioned that combining almonds with dates or figs was especially beneficial.
Almonds are the seeds of a fruit tree that is related to the rose family. There are two varieties: sweet and bitter almonds, but the most commonly eaten are the sweet ones.
Almonds contain a variety of antioxidants including the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, which are associated with preventing cancer cell growth and reducing risk factors for heart disease. They also provide laetrile, a powerful tumor-fighting compound, and are rich in zinc, which helps to build a strong immune system.
Almonds are an excellent skin food, providing Vitamin E and zinc, which are both crucial for a healthy complexion.
Almonds and weight Loss
Almonds may seem like an odd weight-loss choice because they contain quite a lot of fat. But when scientists put two groups of people on low-calorie diets, one of which included almonds, the almond-eating group lost 50 percent more weight and fat than the others.
Almonds are rich in mono-unsaturated fat, which helps you fell fuller for longer, and their high fiber content helps to keep blood-sugar levels steady and prevent hunger pangs. A dozen almonds contain just 90 calories along with a burst of protein and nutrients that combine to increase energy levels.
Almonds and Diabetes
Findings of a recent study show that an almond-rich diet was associated with preventing diabetes. Researchers found that the nuts helped improve insulin sensitivity and decrease LDL-cholesterol levels in those with pre-diabetes, a condition in which people have blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
The abstract of the study concluded:
Conclusions: An American diabetes Association (ADA) diet consisting of 20% of calories as almonds over a 16-week period is effective in improving markers of insulin sensitivity and yields clinically significant improvements in LDL-C in adults with prediabetes. Wien M, Bleich D, Raghuwanshi M, et al. Almond consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in adults with prediabetes. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Jun;29(3):189-97.
Tips For Using Almonds
- Instead of eating empty calorie, sugary snacks, nibble on a small handful of almonds for a source of essential fatty acids and vital minerals.
- Almonds are a versatile food that can be used whole, ground up, sliced or roasted.
- Grind up almonds to make almond flour, and use as a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour in baking.
- Almond milk is a nutritious drink that makes an excellent alternative to cow's milk.