Almonds are one of those rare, rare foods that tastes good, has fiber, protein, vitamins, healthy fats, benefits your hair and skin, and is both vegetarian and vegan-friendly. They’re even better when dipped in chocolate. Boo ya. Almonds give us so much of what we need it’s ridiculous. They keep you full, energized, and lookin’ good. Almonds make a great go-to snack, especially for those looking to avoid meats or lower their cholesterol.
Even better? Almonds go with almost everything, whether you are health-conscious or not. From pork and chicken, salads and soups, to ice cream, chocolate fudge and cheesecake, almonds compliment almost food, sweet or savory. They can be eaten salted, roasted, flavored (chili lime is great, or sweet and salty), candied, or eaten raw (my preference). They keep for long periods and require no refrigeration. This makes them one of the easiest, healthiest snacks to get through your day, even if you’re a poor college student taking 27 credits with no break between classes. Read on for additional nutritional information of almonds.
- Monosaturated “good” fats
- Omega-6 fatty acids
- Vitamin E
Benefits of Almonds
Almond health benefits include heart health. That’s right. These little nuts pack a huge punch in the health department. We’ve all heard about “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol.” Almonds are high in monosatured fat: the same kind found in olive oil. This is the good kind of fat that your body needs. Multiple studies have found that diets containing almonds and other nuts containing monosatured fats helped to lower the bad cholesterol levels in the body. Lowering the bad cholesterol in your body reduces the risk of heart disease that you may face, with some studies claiming it reduces your risk of a heart attack up to 30%.
Benefits of almonds include their ability to help you lose weight. Almonds are high in fat, so it may seem counter-intuitive that almonds will help you lose weight. They will though. Why? The fats in almonds are considered “good” fat: monosaturated fat. This type of fat has many benefits (including cardiovascular and heart health) and is essential for a healthy body. What’s more is that this type of fat, as well as the high amount of fiber and protein found in almonds, help you to feel fuller longer. The nut-rition (get it?) combined with the full-feeling will keep you from snacking late into the night and give you energy to get through your day.
Almond benefits include energy. Whether it’s mid-semester malaise or that two hour block of wasteland before leaving the office, everyone hits a slump. Instead of sucking down another gut-wrenching pop (or the non-Midwestern “soda”) or shaking down the coffee pot for another dose of caffeine, consider having some almonds, instead. The nutritional punch of almonds includes lots of protein, fiber, monosaturated fats, and multiple vitamins and minerals. All of these add to your energy cache for the day. What’s better is that almonds don’t pack on “empty” calories like sugar, so you won’t have another crash in twenty minutes, but feel feel and more energized for hours.
Almonds benefit your skin and hair. Almonds are an excellent source of many nutritional goodies (see the sidebar for a partial list). One of these goodies is vitamin E. Many people are familiar with vitamin E as a skin-friendly vitamin. It is. Also, almonds contain high levels of protein, niacin, folic acid and more. All of these help to keep you and your skin and hair healthy. Hair and skin are often the first place one notices poor health or inadequate nutrition. If you don’t like to eat almonds, almond oil makes an excellent skin moisturizer and hair conditioner; make your own or buy a commercial almond moisturizer or conditioner. Your ‘do will thank you.
Almonds can be used to get rid of dull, flaky skin. Store-purchased face and body scrubs are not only expensive, but they often contain many chemicals that aren’t so good for your skin and body. Crushed raw almonds make a wonderful natural face scrub or natural body scrub. Be sure to use raw almonds (flavors won’t do anything for your skin nor will roasting). Crush them and add them whatever else you’d like to have in the scrub. Honey is a natural skin remedy that I prefer, but you can use olive oil, vitamin E oil, or many other ingredients. Gently scrub the mixture on and rinse off for exfoliated, fresher skin.
“Eat as close to the earth as possible.”
A nutritionist once told me this, and it stands as one of the most important health tips I’ve ever received. Not to sound too hippy-dippy here, but the earth provides everything we need, nutritionally speaking (iPods are another matter). Most of the human “improvements” to food are not really improvements at all. Additives, dyes, preservatives, and flavor “enhancers” are almost always bad for you and get in the way of the real nutritional benefit of foods. Raw almonds are going to be far healthier for you than roasted, salted, and lime-flavored almonds. If you want to lose weight, feel fuller, have more energy, and have clearer skin, you’re not going to find it in a pill; eating natural foods will do it for you. Ditch the Doritos; almonds are a great way to add many health benefits to your life, simply and easily.
Raw Almonds. Straight up. Raw almonds can be purchased in snack-size or family-size and make a great addition to any snack or meal. Eat them as is or add almonds to cookies, oatmeal, trail mix, breads, salads, and more. Almonds are nutritious as well as incredibly versatile; from sweet to savory, almonds go well with almost everything. They make wholesome food even more nutritious, and they make sweet treats more filling (so you don’t have to go back for seconds). While trying to find raw almonds in today’s world is pretty darn impossible due to FDA, I’ve found that these from Amazon make a delicious treat…and they’re affordable in a 4 lb package.
Almond Oil. Almond oil isn’t meant to be eaten, but it does have a variety of uses for your skin. Use almond oil for a sweet and moisturizing massage. You can also use it in a facial scrub (mixed with brown sugar or sea salt for some exfoliating properties as well). Almond oil can also be used as an addition to a warm bath. This does double duty, moisturizing your skin while relaxing you with its sweet scent.
Almond Milk. Almond milk is an excellent alternative to cow’s milk, especially for vegans, vegetarians, and those with lactose intolerance. Because almond milk comes from almonds, it happens to be lactose-free, cholesterol-free, and cruelty-free (unless you object to almond-cruelty). Commercial almond milk (as opposed to the homemade variety) comes in different flavors (including chocolate, strawberry and vanilla), and it often comes enriched with vitamins that aren’t typically found in almond milk.