Almonds are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and are associated with a number of health benefits. Just a handful of almonds, approximately one ounce, contains one-eighth of our necessary daily protein7.
Almonds may be eaten on their own, raw or toasted. They are also the ingredients of several different dishes. Almonds are available sliced, flaked, slivered, as a flour, oil, butter, or as almond milk.
The health benefits of almonds have been documented for centuries and modern research is backing up many of the claims - there any many goods reasons why you might want to consider including them in your diet.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods.
Possible health benefits of almonds
1) Almonds and cholesterol
A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2005 suggested that consuming almonds increases vitamin E levels in the plasma and red blood cells and also lowers cholesterol levels.4
Ella Haddad, DrPH, RD, an author of the study, said:
"This study is important because it shows that eating almonds can significantly boost levels of vitamin E in the diet and bloodstream. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that defends your cells against damage on a daily basis and prevents artery-clogging oxidation of cholesterol. Eating a handful of almonds a day is a great way to get the vitamin E your body needs to stay healthy."
2) Almonds and cancer risk
Researchers at the Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, conducted a study to determine the effect of almonds on colon cancer.5
According to the authors, the results suggested that "almond consumption may reduce colon cancer risk and does so via at least one almond lipid-associated component."
Their research was published in Cancer Letters.
3) Almonds and heart disease
Almonds, along with nuts and seeds in general, are often associated with improved levels of blood lipids and being good for the heart.
There is evidence indicating that including almonds in your diet can help ward off heart disease.
One study, published in the journal Circulation in 2002, assessed almonds' effect on coronary heart disease risk factors, and concluded that "almonds used as snacks in the diets of hyperlipidemic subjects significantly reduce coronary heart disease risk factors, probably in part because of the nonfat (protein and fiber) and monounsaturated fatty acid components of the nut."6
In another study published in 2014, scientists found that almonds significantly increase the amount of antioxidants in the blood stream, reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow. The researchers suggested their findings add weight to the theory that Mediterranean diets with lots of nuts have big health benefits.
Recent developments on the health benefits of almonds from MNT news
Eating nuts every day may prolong life. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who eat a handful of nuts every day live longer than those who do not eat them at all.7
"Eat more nuts" to cut the risk of cancer and heart disease. A study published in the journal BMC Medicine concluded that people who regularly eat nuts are at a lower risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease. 8
Nuts, peanuts linked to reduced risk of death from cancer, other diseases. Previous research has hailed peanuts and nuts for their health benefits. Now, a new study supports such research, finding that consuming these foods may protect against death from numerous diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
On the next page we look at the nutritional profile of almonds, the possible health risks associated with them and we feature a video of Dr. Oz discussing why he thinks almonds are a super snack.