Delicious, portable and easy to snack on, there are myriad reasons why almonds have earned a spot in our cupboards – but it’s the numerous health benefits of almonds, from weight loss to a glowing complexion, that make them stand out as a quality snack.
There’s so much goodness wrapped up in those versatile little seeds, which are commonly either sold raw or toasted but also frequently consumed as almond milk, almond oil, almond butter, almond flour, and for traditional baked goods fans, almond paste or marzipan.
We asked Rebecca Traylen, associate nutritionist and head of nutrition at Probio7, to talk us through the various health benefits of almonds:
10 health benefits of almonds
‘Many studies have looked at the positive impact almonds can have on health, including playing a positive role in weight management and their protective effects on diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases,’ says Traylen.
Many people eschew almonds due to their relatively high fat and calorie content – every 30 gram serving contains 16g fat and 173 calories – but in reality, your body won’t absorb between 10 and 15 per cent of these calories, because some of the fat cannot be digested, as research by King’s College London revealed.
Here, we run through 10 healthful reasons to make almonds your go-to snack:
1. High in nutrients
Almonds are packed with a whole host of nutrients. ‘In each 30g serve of almonds, you can get an impressive 6g of plant-based protein, 4 grams of fibre, healthy fats, vitamin E and several essential minerals to name a few,’ says Traylen.
‘In each 30g serve of almonds, you can get an impressive 6g of plant-based protein.’
You’ll also find around one quarter of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium, almost 10 per cent of your zinc RDA, 25 per cent of your vitamin B2 intake, and seven per cent of your vitamin B3, plus around five per cent of your potassium recommendation. ‘This means you can get a whole host of benefits from just one handful,’ she adds.
With that said, almonds are also high in phytic acid. Even though phytic acid is a healthful antioxidant, it also prevents minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium from being fully absorbed. For that reason, phytic acid is sometimes called an ‘anti-nutrient’.
2. Rich in antioxidants
Almonds are an excellent source of antioxidants such as vitamin E, which protects cells against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. ‘Oxidative stress is thought to play a role in several diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease,’ says Traylen.
One 30g serving of almonds provides you with around 50 per cent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin E, she adds, so the effects aren’t negligible. However, much of the antioxidant goodness is concentrated in the thin brown outer later, so avoid blanched almonds (those with the skin removed) to reap maximum benefits.
3. Packed with healthy fats
While almonds may be a high fat food, they’re mostly made up of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They’re known as ‘healthy fats’. Of the 15g of fat in each 30g serving, only 1g is saturated.
‘Almonds also contain linoleic acid, which helps maintain normal blood cholesterol levels,’ Traylen says. ‘Swapping saturated fats for unsaturated can help lower your cholesterol levels, which can have a positive impact on heart health.’
Not only can almonds lower levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, but they also prevent it from oxidising, which contributes towards the development of heart disease.
4. High in fibre
Almonds contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre is broken down into a gel-like substance in the colon and slows digestion, while insoluble fibre is left intact as it moves through the gastrointestinal tract and helps to soften poop.
‘Fibre adds bulk to our stools, making them softer and easier to pass – a great benefit for our digestive system,’ says Traylen. ‘By decreasing the time your stool is in your bowel, fibre may reduce the risk of bowel cancer.’
Adults are commended to consume at least 30g of fibre per day. ‘With 4g of fibre in each serving, almonds are a great addition to achieve your dietary fibre needs,’ says Traylen.
5. Reduce heart disease risk
Eating almonds can reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping blood vessels healthy, research from Aston University has shown. Snacking on 50g almonds every day ‘significantly’ increases the amount of antioxidants in the bloodstream, reduces blood pressure and improves blood flow, scientists found.
The fibre in almonds is heart-healthy, too. ‘It has also been shown that fibre can help lower blood cholesterol and control blood sugar, which in turn can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes,’ says Traylen.
6. Support digestive health
Almonds have prebiotic properties. Prebiotics are the non-digestible parts of foods that stimulate the growth and encourage proliferation of ‘good’ bacteria. In a study by Norwich BioScience Institutes, finely ground almonds were found to ‘significantly increase’ the levels of certain beneficial gut bacteria.
‘Our gut microbiome plays several important roles in our body including, digestion, immunity, skin, sleep and mood,’ says Traylen. ‘Therefore, it is vital we are feeding our gut bacteria with the right food to ensure they grow and thrive.
‘Almonds are packed with fibre to feed both us and our gut bacteria,’ she continues. ‘When our bacteria feed off fibre, they produce short chain fatty acids, which can have many beneficial roles for our gastrointestinal health and wider health.’
7. Keep hunger at bay
For those looking to keep their weight under control, almonds may be the perfect snack. ‘One handful will provide you with a satisfying and nutrient dense snack to keep you full between meals,’ says Traylen.
In a study by the University of Sussex, people who snacked on almonds mid-morning had a lower calorie intake at lunch and dinner. ‘Therefore, instead of skipping your mid-morning snack, snacking on almonds may help control and reduce food intake later in the day,’ she says.
One handful will provide you with a satisfying and nutrient dense snack to keep you full between meals.
8. Control blood sugar
Almonds have a low glycaemic index (GI). ‘This means they slowly raise your blood sugar over a long period of time,’ Traylen explains. ‘This has two benefits – it will help control blood sugar, and keep you fuller for longer. Almonds therefore may be beneficial for those who are pre-diabetic or have type 2 diabetes.’
They’re also extremely high in magnesium, which plays an important part in blood sugar control. Many people people with type 2 diabetes are deficient in magnesium, and studies have shown that when this deficiency is corrected, they experience significantly lower blood sugar levels and improved insulin function.
9. Foster healthy eating
Making almonds part of your snacking routine may also inspire you to eat healthier when consuming other foods. In a study by the University of Florida, when parents and children incorporated almonds into their diet, they ate more protein foods, seafood and plant proteins and fatty acids, fewer empty calories, and less salt.
10. Tackle wrinkles
Several key nutrients found in almonds are linked to skin health, including vitamin E, zinc, and linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid. A small study by the University of California found that a daily snack of two servings of almonds helped reduce wrinkle width by 10 per cent and wrinkle severity by nine per cent in postmenopausal women.
Last updated: 27-08-2020
23 almonds a day.
When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin. Just remember 1-2-3. 1 ounce of almonds, or about 23 almond nuts, is the ideal daily portion recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss.Are almonds good for weight loss? ›
Consuming almonds is a great way to top-up your 'good' fats, considering they provide essential fatty acids needed to maintain a healthy heart and cholesterol levels. Moreover, thanks to their low-calorie count, almonds are considered to be great for weight loss.Who should not eat almonds? ›
05/6Those who have difficulty in swallowing
Young children and some older people, who have difficulty in swallowing should also avoid nuts as it could increase the risk of choking. People suffering from dementia, Parkinson's disease, and reduced mobility may have a higher risk of aspiration.
To receive the maximum benefits from almonds, it is recommended to consume them in the morning. Consuming nuts along with your breakfast helps regulate blood sugar, keeps you satiated and boosts your metabolism.Which is better for you walnuts or almonds? ›
While their fat, carb, and protein contents vary slightly, almonds pack more minerals. However, walnuts take the lead when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). In fact, they're the nut with the highest ALA content ( 1 , 2 , 3 ).Can I eat 30 almonds a day? ›
How many almonds should you eat to lose weight and trim your waistline? In this particular study from Penn State, participants consumed 1.5 ounces of almonds which is approximately 30-35 almonds per day. This is slightly greater than the current daily recommendation of a 1-ounce serving which is about 23 whole almonds.Is 20 almonds a day too much? ›
Get access to the much-needed nutrition: If you eat around 20 almonds every day, you would be able to incorporate different essential nutrients in the daily diet. These little nuts contain copious amounts of calcium, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium.What is the unhealthiest nut? ›
Worst nuts for your diet
Ounce for ounce, macadamia nuts (10 to 12 nuts; 2 grams protein, 21 grams fat) and pecans (18 to 20 halves; 3 grams protein, 20 grams fat) have the most calories - 200 each - along with the lowest amounts of protein and the highest amounts of fats.
- Cashews. Cashew nuts have a lower fat percentage than most other nuts, they are loaded with good heart-healthy monosaturated fats. ...
- Pistachio. Pistachio is a highly valued nut for its distinct sweet flavour and less than 4 calories per nut. ...
- Almonds. ...
- Walnuts. ...
- Tart cherries.
- Red grapes.
- Citrus fruits.
Eating almonds every day is associated with greater weight loss and higher fat metabolism (Glatter, 2015). Indeed, eating plenty of almonds may reduce your levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, improve your lipid profile, and target fat burning in your belly area.Do almonds help grow your hair? ›
Almonds are full of essential Vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin e, Vitamin B1 and B6 that help in making your hair long and strong. The high amount of magnesium they contain promotes hair growth.What does almonds do to your brain? ›
Almonds have vitamin B6, which is also known as pyridoxine that helps aid metabolism of proteins, which may further help increase the availability of proteins for brain cell repair. Moreover, this vitamin promotes the production of neurotransmitter chemicals that further improve communication between brain cells.Is 20 almonds a day too much? ›
Get access to the much-needed nutrition: If you eat around 20 almonds every day, you would be able to incorporate different essential nutrients in the daily diet. These little nuts contain copious amounts of calcium, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium.How many almonds a day is too much? ›
Including almonds in your diet provides you with vitamin E, which offers antioxidant protection. You get 7.4 milligrams of vitamin E per ounce of nuts, roughly half the 15 milligrams you need each day. It takes a lot of almonds to rise above the tolerable upper limit of 1,000 milligrams per day.Is it OK to eat 10 almonds everyday? ›
They are rich in Vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant," says Pooja. Ask her about the number of almonds you should have in a day and she says, "Eating 8-10 soaked almonds in a day goes a long way in adding valuable nutrients to your daily diet."Can I eat 30 almonds a day? ›
How many almonds should you eat to lose weight and trim your waistline? In this particular study from Penn State, participants consumed 1.5 ounces of almonds which is approximately 30-35 almonds per day. This is slightly greater than the current daily recommendation of a 1-ounce serving which is about 23 whole almonds.