Almond or Badam is a most beneficial and natural edible seed cultivated in many countries and related to the genus Prunus. Almonds were first originated in the western Asia and North Africa. It is a drupe type seed closed inside the hard shell. Almonds are found of many types of different tastes like bitter or sweet whereas some almond species are toxic too. United States is the largest almonds producing country in the world which produces around 80% of the whole supply. Some other almonds producing countries are Spain, Italy, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Algeria and etc. I am related to the nursing field, experienced a lot about almonds and sharing my experiences about the all the pros and cons of the almonds.
Benefits of Almonds/Badam
Prevents from Heart Problems
- Having almonds on regular basis reduces the risk of heart attack, atherosclerosis and hypertension as it lowers the level of bad cholesterol in the blood and availability of some important minerals like potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, protein, folic acid, low sodium, monosaturated fats, oleic acid (an unsaturated fatty acid which lowers the blood pressure) and etc.
Protects Artery Walls from Damage
- Almonds help by protecting the artery walls from getting damage because of the flavonoids contents available in its skins.
Build up Bones and Teeth
- Almonds help in building the bones and teeth very strong because of its phosphorus contents.
Contains Healthy Fat
- Almonds have a type of healthy fats, fiber, protein thus helps in the weight loss.
Maintains Blood Sugar and Insulin Level
- Eating almonds helps in maintaining the blood sugar level and insulin level after the meals thus helps to fight with diabetes.
Boosts Brain Functioning
- Because of the availability of riboflavin and L-carnitine in the almonds, it boosts the brain functioning as well as reduces the risk of serious brain disease like Alzheimer’s disease.
Nourishes Nervous System
- Almonds help in increasing the high intellectual level and longevity by nourishing well the nervous system.
Maintains Immunity Power
- Almonds reduce the risk of poor immune functioning, osteoporosis, weight gain and fatigue by alkalizing the body.
Softens Skin and Hair
- Almond oil is best for the baby massage as it moisturizes and softens the skin and hair.
Improves Body Stamina
- Almonds provide more energy to the body and increase the resistance power and stamina because of the availability of copper, riboflavin and manganese.
Maintains Gastrointestinal Health
- Almonds maintain the gastrointestinal health because of its high fiber content and prebiotic properties.
Prevents Artery Inflammation
- Almonds have ability to reduce the C-reactive protein (which causes the artery damaging inflammation).
Reduces Risk of Stone Formation
- Almonds reduce the risk of gallstones formation.
Powerhouse of Protein
- Almonds are the powerhouse of the protein thus nourishes the body very well.
Removes Body Toxins
- Its anti-oxidants property helps in removing the toxic oxygen free radicals from the skin as well as the mucous membrane. The vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) content of it works as a fat-soluble antioxidant.
Tone up Body Muscles
- Variety of minerals (such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc) availability in the almonds helps to tone up the body muscles and bones thus prevents from osteoporosis.
Prevents from Cancer and Abnormalities in Baby
- Its folic acid content is very beneficial for the pregnant women and prevents the woman from cervical cancer, colon cancer, constipation and baby from the risk of birth defects and abnormalities.
Rich Source of Phytochemicals
- Almonds are the rich source of phytochemicals which keeps the cancer, cardiac problems and various other chronic diseases away.
- Every raw almond has 7 calories, dietary fibers and proteins which help in reducing more weight.
Used to Prepare Things
- Almonds are used to prepare variety of almond butter, almond oil, almond syrup and etc which are used for various purposes.
Improves Memory Power and Concentration
- Eating raw almonds and using almond oil is beneficial in improving the memory power and concentration thus makes the children sharp minded and active.
Makes Skin Healthy
- Regular uses of raw almonds and massage with almond oil makes the skin bright, soft, smooth and supple from dry and cracked skin.
Prevents from Wrinkles and other Skin Problems
- It also prevent from psoriasis, reduces the wrinkles, black heads, dark circles under eyes, pimples and etc.
Reduces Dryness and Dandruff of Hair
- Badam rogan oil massage on the scalp reduces the dryness, dandruff, graying of hair and protects from being coarse and hair fall.
Prevents from Disorders
- Eating almonds provides many health benefits like prevents from respiratory disorders, anemia, heart disorders, impotency, constipation, coughs, diabetes and etc.
- Almonds help in managing weight as it has mono-unsaturated fat which satisfies the appetite and prevents the person from over-eating.
Real Facts about Almonds
- California is the leading almonds producer in the world and first almond tree was planted there as well during 1700’s.
- 500 ml of the almond oil is attained from the 1000 pound almonds.
- 40% of the total production of almonds is used in chocolate industry.
- It is believed in the Romans that almonds are the indication of good luck for newly married couple.
Why it is Necessary to Eat Soaked Almonds?
- If you are using almonds on daily basis, it is very necessary to soak the almonds in water for the whole night and taken in the morning in order to sprout and set free the full nutritional value of the almonds by activating their beneficial enzymes. These enzymes help in improving the digestion and allow a better access to its nutrients. The skin of the almonds has an enzyme inhibitor which protects the almond until the suitable water and sunlight allow it to get germinated.
- Soak the almonds during the night for at least 10 to 12 hours, rinse them in the morning to eat or place them in a wet towel for the next 12 hours to get sprouted. The tannins of the skin of the unsoaked almonds may interfere with the proper digestion of the carbohydrates, proteins and cellulose.
- Same for the processed or roasted almonds, roasting and processing process may kill the enzymes. It should be also taken care of while purchasing the raw almonds form the market that it should not be pasteurized as the pasteurization process may also kill the enzymes.
Nutritional Benefits of Almonds/Badam per 100 g
(Source: USDA Nutrient Database)
Energy: 576 kcal
Carbohydrates: 21.69 g
Sugars: 3.89 g
Starch: 0.74 g
Dietary fibers: 12.2 g
Water: 4.70 g
Fat: 49.42 g
Saturated Fat: 3.731 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 30.889 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 12.070 g
Protein: 21.22 g
Tryptophan: 0.214 g
Threonine: 0.598 g
Isoleucine: 0.702 g
Leucine: 1.488 g
Lysine: 0.580 g
Methionine: 0.151 g
Cystine: 0.189 g
Phenylalanine: 1.120 g
Tyrosine: 0.452 g
Valine: 0.817 g
Arginine: 2.446 g
Histidine: 0.557 g
Alanine: 1.027 g
Aspartic acid: 2.911 g
Glutamic acid: 6.810 g
Glycine: 1.469 g
Proline: 1.032 g
Serine: 0.948 g
Water: 4.70 g
Vitamin A: 1 IU
Thiamine or vitamin B1: 0.211 mg
Riboflavin or vitamin B2: 1.014 mg
Niacin or vitamin B3: 3.385 mg
Pantothenic acid or B5: 0.469 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.143 mg
Folate or vitamin B9: 50 μg
Choline: 52.1 mg
Vitamin E: 26.2 mg
Calcium: 264 mg
Iron: 3.72 mg
Magnesium: 268 mg
Manganese: 2.285 mg
Phosphorus: 484 mg
Potassium: 705 mg
Sodium: 1 mg
Zinc: 3.08 mg
Copper: 0.3 mg
Selenium: 0.8 mcg
Beta-carotene: 1 μg
Lutein and zeaxanthin: 1 μg
How to Select and Store
Always select fresh, hard, bright colored, heavy, well skinned and small amount of the almonds from market. Avoid buying bad or rancid smelling, light, wrinkled, spotted, blackish skinned and etc. It can be stored for months at room temperature if placed away from the direct sun light, cool, dry and safe place.
How to Enjoy
There are many ways of enjoying almonds such as soaked raw almonds, roasted, salted, mixed with dry fruits, with milk and etc. It can be added to other dishes to enhance look and taste such as biscuits, icecream, sweet dishes, kheer, laddoos, pasta, halwa, namkin and etc.
Disadvantages of Almonds
Eating almonds in limit is very good for getting all the health benefits of it however having too many a day can cause various side effects to the health. Here I am pointing out some harmful effects of eating more almonds:
- Eating almonds more than the daily limit may trigger with the weight gain. As almonds are loaded with the high calories and fat so one can gain weight.
- Its high manganese content may interfere with some antipsychotic drugs, laxatives, antacids, blood pressure medicines as well as certain antibiotics. Normal requirement of the manganese is 1.8 to 2.3 mg daily to maintain the body function properly.
- Eating too much almonds may cause the vitamin E overdose (cause lethargy, headaches, diarrhea, blurred vision and flatulence) as almonds are the good source of vitamin E.
- Eating a lot of almonds daily may cause some gastrointestinal problems like constipation and abdominal bloating because of the more fibres. One ounce of almonds gives 3.5 g of fiber.
Precautions about Almonds
- A patient suffering from the gall bladder or kidney stones should avoid taking almonds as high oxalate content of it may cause serious problems.
- Some person who are allergic to the almond protein and develop the allergic reactions, should avoid eating almonds.
- Raw bitter almonds should also be avoided as they contain hydrocyanic acid and prussic acid which are toxic in nature.
- Children below one year should be avoided eating almonds.
- Almonds should be eaten with its skin as it has more antioxidant flavanoids.
How many Almonds to Eat a Day
Eating 5 to 6 almonds daily is ok for the normal person accordingly his/her daily calorie requirement. Eating almonds in normal quantity may help in managing or losing weight but it should be in limit. Over the limit it may cause some serious problems.
Find the Benefits of other Dry Fruits