Eating almonds is one of the tastiest ways to get an abundance of powerful nutrients packed into a very small package. You can snack on almonds, enjoy them as almond milk, or throw them into a stir-fry. Almonds are so nutrient-dense that only 15 of the tasty nuts given you a daily dose of goodness.
Almonds are rich in antioxidants, protein, minerals and heart-healthy fat. Health experts are increasingly emphasizing the importance of eating plant-based fats, as opposed to animal fats. Like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados, almonds and other nuts offer a good supply of healthy fat. This is important when one quarter of the deaths in the United States are attributable to heart disease.
High cholesterol has been blamed by doctors as the chief cause of heart disease. Millions of Americans are on statin drugs to reduce cholesterol. Unfortunately, statins interfere with the body’s production of CoQ10, an enzyme that is vital to producing energy. A much safer and more natural way to address cholesterol is readily available in your supermarket or health food store. In one clinical study of subjects with pre-existing coronary artery disease, only 10 grams of almonds daily (about 12 to 15 nuts) raised HDL (good) cholesterol, lowered triglycerides, and reduced total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and VLDL (very low density lipoprotein). It also positively affected the atherogenic index, which correlates to chronic inflammation and vascular disease.
Almonds help fight type 2 diabetes, which affects almost 600 million people around the world. In one study, eating only 60 grams, or two ounces, of almonds daily for four weeks reduced insulin resistance, fasting insulin and glucose. Other outcomes were a lower body fat percentage and better levels of magnesium, fiber, and fatty acids.
Almonds also support eye function. Because they are rich in vitamin E, almonds protect the vasculature of the eye (which has some of the smallest blood vessels in the body). They also prevent abnormalities of the lens which could lead to cataracts.
The best almonds are imported Spanish or Italian almonds. Health experts recommend you sprout them for several hours or overnight before eating them or processing them into almond butter or almond milk.