Almond tree is an ancient plant that has been around for as along as the history of our world, as we know it, goes back in time.
Of course, we have special respect for foods that had been discovered thousands of years ago. That truly demonstrates their genetic strength - they had managed to survive endless changes that the Earth had been through, and are still here to nourish us with their fantastic nutrition.
So what is so precious about almonds from the perspective of human health? Let's take a quick look at their nutritional profile, per 100g.
Proximates - Water: 4.70g; Energy: 575 kcal; Protein: 21.22g; Fat, total: 49.42g; Carbohydrates: 21.67g; Fibre: 12.2g; Sugars: 3.89g.
Vitamins - Thiamin, vitamin B1: 0.211mg; Riboflavin, vitamin B2: 1.014mg; Niacin, vitamin B3: 3.385mg; Vitamin B6: 0.143mg; Folate, vitamin B9, 50µg; Vitamin A: 1IU; Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol): 26.22mg.
Minerals - Calcium, Ca: 264mg; Iron, Fe: 3.72mg; Magnesium, Mg: 268mg; Phosphorus, P: 484mg; Potassium, K: 705mg; Sodium, Na: 1mg; Zinc, Zn: 3.08mg.
Fats - Saturated: 3.73g; Mono-unsaturated: 30.89g; Poly-unsaturated: 12.07g.
Source: USDA Agricultural Research Service (Ref. 1)
As we can see, apart from the presence of many essential vitamins and minerals, nearly 50% of almonds' total nutritional value is made up of fats.
Healthy fats are extremely important for the general function of our systems. If two-thirds of the human brain are made of fats, then we sure need them to keep the brain in order! Also, many fat-soluble vitamins, ex. vit. A, D, E and K, can only be properly absorbed by the body with the help of fats as well.
Taken together, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats form more than 80% of the total fat content in almond nuts. As we know, unsaturated fats are considered to be the healthier ones, although we can see some evidence emerging for the positive value of the saturated fats for our bodies as well.
The most notable fatty acids in almonds are oleic acid, linoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acids. Among the amino acids (i.e. protein), almonds contain alanine, arginine, aspartate, cystine, glutamate, histidine, leucine, lysine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, valine and many others. (Ref. 2)
1. The most obvious benefit of consuming almonds is the support of the cardiovascular / circulatory system and prevention and treatment of heart disease. There have been many studies performed over the years which prove how good almonds are for the heart and blood circulation.
2. Another benefits relate to the work of the central nervous system and the brain in general. Almonds present a rich source of nutrition for this vital organ.
3. Following from point 2 above, if our brain is nourished well, we can then expect to feel better, and brighter, from the emotional point of view.
4. Due to high fat content, almonds are a high calorie food. Taking just a little bit of these nuts will help us prevent cravings for unhealthy sugar-loaded foods. Not only will almonds fill us up quickly, they may also help remove any vitamin deficiencies we may have. So these nuts can help us with our weight-loss targets as well.
5. Getting all this fabulous nutrition (esp. Vitamin B complex + minerals and trace elements) will inevitably help us to deal with tiredness and lead to higher energy levels.