Almonds are oilseeds that are effective in preserving and maintaining healthy arteries, heart and bones, they are also tasty as a snack. Let’s find out the properties and why almonds are good for health.
Almonds are oil seeds rich in beneficial properties. The almond, whose scientific name is Prunus dulci, is the edible seed of the almond tree, a plant belonging to the Rosaceae family. The plant is about five meters high and the almonds are enclosed in a protective shell of a woody nature. Originally from Asia, the Almond was then imported to Sicily first and throughout the Mediterranean then by the Phoenicians.
Recognized as a typical product of the Sicilian lands, the almond is counted among the Agri-food Products of the Tradition (PAT). However, there are also other recognized denominations, including almonds produced in Puglia and those produced in Greece.
Spring is the best time to enjoy fresh almonds, while the dry version is available all year round.
Almonds: calories and nutritional properties
What are the main components of almonds? What do we actually introduce into the body, besides their delicate and sweet taste? First of all, it should be noted that almonds, like all dried fruit, are a fairly caloric food, so it is good not to overdo it. Specifically, 100 grams of almonds provide 603 calories.
The main vitamins are vitamin E, present in greater quantities (about 24 mg per hectogram), vitamin A, vitamins of group B (B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6), as well as beta carotene and lutein.
The main mineral salt is Magnesium (about 270 mg per 100g), followed by Calcium, Iron and gradually Potassium, Copper, Zinc, Phosphorus, Manganese. This combination of micronutrients gives almonds excellent properties for our health. Now let’s see in detail all the benefits of consuming almonds regularly.
Nutritional values per 100g of dried almonds:
- Waterfall: 5.1 g
- kcal: 603
- Proteins: 22 g
- Carbohydrates: 4.6 g
- Fibers: 12.7 g
- Fat: 55.3 g
- Sodium: 14 mg
- Potassium: 780 mg
- Phosphorus: 550 mg
- Soccer: 240 mg
- Magnesium: 264 mg
- Iron: 3 mg
- Zinc: 2.5 mg
- Vitamin E: 26 mg
- Vitamin A retinol eq.: 1 µg
- Vitamin B3: 3 mg
- Cholesterol: 0 g
Almonds: properties and benefits
Almonds, so rich in properties, are among the queens of dried fruit, bringing numerous benefits to the body as well as delighting the palate. In short, they are good for the heart, lower cholesterol, are satiating, have antioxidant power, are useful in case of diabetes and promote intestinal well-being, but not only. Let’s now see in detail all the properties of almonds.
✓ They prevent cardiovascular diseases
Almonds are good for the heart thanks to the presence of polyunsaturated fats, substances capable of lowering the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides in the blood. In this way, an excellent help is guaranteed in the prevention of the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the blood vessels and the risks of stroke and heart attack are lowered. The presence of potassium also helps to keep blood pressure levels low, thanks also to a very low quantity of sodium.
✓ Useful against free radicals
Vitamin E is a fundamental antioxidant and helps to counteract the activity of free radicals, protecting the membranes and slowing down the cellular aging processes. Furthermore, it contributes to the strengthening of the immune system.
✓ Almonds and diabetes
Almonds, as well as all dried fruit, are particularly suitable in case of diabetes since they have the ability to reduce the absorption of glucose and consequently avoid glycemic peaks. Therefore, they can be consumed (in moderation) even in the case of diabetes or hyperglycemia.
✓ Energizers and laxatives
They have an energizing and laxative action. The calories of the almonds (about 600 Kcal / 100gr), combined with the various vitamins and mineral salts present, make the product particularly suitable in all those cases where it is necessary to give more energy to the body: study stress, convalescence, sport, lack of concentration, pregnancy, menopause. The presence of fibers, on the other hand (the greatest of all dried fruit), facilitates intestinal motility and helps to combat episodes of constipation and constipation.
✓ Strengthen teeth, bones and fight anemia
The calcium contained in them makes them an ideal food for those suffering from osteoporosis and for the good maintenance of teeth. Almonds are also anti-anemic. The good iron content makes almonds good allies in case of iron deficiency anemia.
Almonds: how many to eat per day
Let’s start by saying how many almonds to eat per day. As we have seen, they are a very caloric food (about 600 Kcal per 100 g). It is therefore preferable to consume 10-15 grams per day (as a mid-morning or afternoon snack, or in addition to yogurt for breakfast) to ensure all the benefits, but without weighing on the scale. If you do not have weight problems, however, you can consume up to 30 grams of almonds per day, which corresponds to about 20 almonds.
Almonds: how to use them
Regarding the use we can make with almonds, the best way is to consume them directly as they are, as an energy snack or chopped and added, for example, in muesli for breakfast. On the market we also find toasted almonds, used above all for the preparation of sweets, nougats or to accompany some types of dishes.
Natural almonds can also be found without skin (peeled almonds) and are excellent for the preparation of some recipes including almond milk.
Finally, on the market we can also find almond flour (or create it at home by finely chopping the almonds with a food processor), mainly used for making sweets, cakes, pies and biscuits. Remember that almond flour keeps the nutritional properties of the fruit practically unaltered.
There are two types of almonds : sweet and bitter. The former are the most versatile and most used in the kitchen; with regard to bitter almonds, even if they are edible, it is advisable not to exceed in consumption due to the content of amygdalin, a glucoside from which hydrocyanic acid originates, a substance potentially dangerous for human health: for this reason, it is it is good to avoid or minimize the consumption of bitter almonds because in high doses they can be poisonous.
It is good to know, in fact, that a quantity of about 40 bitter almonds (or more), bring a potentially “lethal” content of hydrogen cyanide for the body.
From the bitter almond, as well as from the sweet almond, the corresponding oil is extracted, used in cosmetics for the production of perfumes and soaps, after removing the hydrogen cyanide.
Almonds can cause allergic reactions in hypersensitive individuals. In addition, they contain a fair amount of nickel, which should be taken into consideration in case of allergy to nickel.
Moreover, due to their purine content, they are to be reduced or eliminated in case of high levels of uric acids. In case of thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism, there are no particular indications other than to choose almonds without added salt.
Finally, we point out that, in the presence of cold sores, almonds are among the foods to be avoided due to the content of arginine, an amino acid that favors the replication of this virus.