Wonderfully delicious, almonds have long been revered as an epitome of wellness and health. The kernels are among the richest sources of health-benefiting nutrients essential for optimum health.
Almonds contain vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, and so they may offer a number of health benefits. Just a handful of almonds — approximately 1 ounce — contains one-eighth of a person’s daily protein needs.
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.
People call almonds a nut, but they are seeds, rather than a true nut.
Almond trees may have been one of the earliest trees that people cultivated. In Jordan, archaeologists have found evidence of domesticated almond trees dating back some 5,000 years.
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.
A study from 2005 suggests that consuming almonds may:
- increase vitamin E levels in the plasma and red blood cells
- lower overall cholesterol levels
According to these researchers, vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help stop the oxidization process that causes cholesterol to clog the arteries.