Almonds (Prunus amygdalus) are the seed of the fruit of the almond tree. Known as ‘Badaam’ in Hindi, they are a treasure chests of various health benefits.
The almond tree has fragrant white and pink flowers and fruits with stone-like seeds within. The seed of the almond fruit is what we consume as the almond nut. They are oval in shape, off-white in colour, covered with a thin orangish-brown skin.
Almonds are classified into two groups – sweet and bitter. Sweet almonds are the ones that are consumed and have a buttery taste. They are consumed either with or without the skin. Bitter almonds are utilised to make almond oil.
Nutritional Facts of Almonds
Almonds possess various essential minerals, fiber, vitamins, and polyphenols. They comprise of copper, zinc, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, iron, thiamin, Vitamin B, & E. They are low in carbohydrates. In the seed and skin, almonds contain phenolic acids, tannins, stilbenes, flavonoids, and lignans in varying proportions.
As per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of almonds, weighing 143 grams, contains 828 calories, 30.24 gm of proteins, 71.4 gm of fats, 30.8 gm of carbohydrates, 17.9 gm of fibre, 385 mg of calcium, 5.31 mg of iron, 386 mg of magnesium, 688 mg of phosphorus, 1048 mg of potassium, 1 mg of sodium, 4.4 mg of zinc, 1.4 mg of copper, 3.1 mg of manganese, 5.9 mg of selenium, 0.2 mg of thiamine, 5.1 mg niacin, and 36.6 mg of vitamin E.
Potential Health Benefits of Almonds
1/4. Boost brain health
1. The mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and polyphenols content of almonds prevent or delays the onset of age-related cognitive disorders and amnesia.
2. The high content of riboflavin and L-carnitine present in almonds prevents cognitive decline and maintains healthy neurological activity.
3. The vitamin E content of almonds helps in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
2/4. Promotes heart health
1. The high content of fatty acids and antioxidants found in almonds promotes heart health and protects the cardiovascular system.
2. The antioxidant flavonoids, found in the skin of almonds, avert the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases.
3. The calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, and arginine components of badaam support the cardiovascular functions.
4. The polyunsaturated and the monounsaturated fats present in almonds help in lowering the ‘bad’ cholesterol and improving the ‘good’ cholesterol.
5. The magnesium content of almonds reduces high blood pressure levels.
6. The folic acid, L-arginine, vitamin B, and vitamin E contents of almonds modulates the vascular function of the circulatory system.
7. Almond protects against high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and coronary heart disease.
3/4. Strengthens bones
1. Calcium is required to build and maintain bone tissues. The presence of trace minerals such as calcium and phosphorous in almonds helps in building strong bones and fight against osteoporosis.
2. The presence of magnesium, calcium, manganese, vitamin K, copper, protein, and zinc contributes to bone health.
3. Almonds reduce the risk of fractures.
4/4. Other possible benefits…
Almond produces numerous health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces few more such as improves the skin health, prevents diabetes, stimulates hair growth, prevents weight gain and overeating, increases the nutrient absorption, ensures digestive health, prevent inflammation, fights cancer, boosts the immune system, treats erectile dysfunction, treats polycystic ovarian syndrome, enhances hair; skin; and nail health, and promotes eye health.
Low in carbohydrates but high in protein, healthful fats and fiber, almond seeds offer amazing health benefits.
How to use Almonds in the diet?
Almonds are added to various dishes. They can be either consumed raw or roasted or salted. They can be used either as whole or sliced. Almonds can be incorporated in a variety of ways in your diet. Some of them are as follows
- As a snack.
- In a smoothie.
- As a salad add-on.
- As a baking garnish.
- Sprinkle over desserts.
- Used as a dip for fresh fruit.
- Added in curried vegetables.
- In pancakes and baked goods.
- Used for stuffing and coatings.
- As almond milk or almond flour.
- Add sliced almonds to chicken salad.
- As almond butter to a breakfast shake.
- Used in the preparation of soups or vinaigrettes.
- Sprinkle over cooked veggies, salads, or a stir-fry.
How to prepare Chocolate Almond Smoothie?
Take 1 banana, 2 fresh or soaked and dried dates, 2 cups of cold water, ¼ cup of almonds, 1tbsp of ground flaxseed, and 1 tbsp of hemp protein.
Blend all these elements in a blender, until it smoothens. Then, keep it in the refrigerator and serve it chilled.