Almonds - Useful And Harmful Properties

Published on: 18/01/2022 | Last Updated: 28/05/2022
Almonds - Useful And Harmful Properties

Almonds have many useful and healing properties. They contain a large amount of unsaturated fats, essential fatty acids, valuable vitamins and minerals. They are rich in useful fats, proteins and fiber.

Almonds are the edible seeds of the almond tree. Originating in the Middle East, the United States is now the world's largest producer. Nuts are sold raw or roasted, with or without shell. They are used to make almond milk, butter, flour or a paste known as marzipan.

Almonds have many useful and healing properties and are widely used in folk medicine. They contain a large amount of unsaturated fats, essential fatty acids, valuable vitamins (especially group B), minerals (potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron). These nuts are the main dietary source of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) - the most powerful and absorbing form of vitamin-antioxidant. The beneficial properties of almonds affect blood lipids, they are an alternative source of animal protein.

Sweet almond cleanses the internal organs: strengthens the brain and vision, in combination with sugar is useful in asthma, pleurisy and hemoptysis, abrasions, ulcers of the stomach and bladder, soothes heavy urination, increases the amount of semen.

Bitter almonds  contain the glycoside amygdalin (which is easily broken down into sugar), benzaldehyde and the highly toxic hydrogen cyanide. Therefore, it is not recommended for consumption without pre-treatment, and children should not take it at all. 

The amount that leads to death is 10 nuts for children and 50 for adults. In the process of frying, baking and cooking, hydrogen cyanide disappears.

Sweet almonds have a low amygdalin content.

Nutritional composition of almonds

 

Nuts contain small amounts of carbohydrates, but are rich in fat, protein and fiber. This makes them perfect for consumption by people with diabetes. Consumption of almonds reduces the feeling of hunger and total calorie intake. Protein and fiber are known to increase the feeling of satiety. There are suggestions that eating nuts can boost metabolism. Due to the saturating properties of nuts, they are a great addition to a weight loss diet.

One serving (28 grams) of almonds contains:

  • 3.5 grams of fiber;
  • 6 grams of protein;
  • 14 grams of fat (9 of which are monounsaturated);
  • vitamin E - 37% of the required daily requirement (DP *);
  • manganese - 32% of DP *;
  • magnesium - 20% of DP *.

They also contain small amounts of copper, vitamin B12 (riboflavin) and phosphorus. All this in a small handful of nuts, which provides only 161 calories and 2.5 grams of degradable carbohydrates. It is important to note that the human body can not absorb 10-15% of the calories contained in almonds, because some of the fat can not reach the digestive enzymes.

Almonds are a rich source of phytic acid - a substance that binds certain minerals and prevents their absorption. Phytic acid is generally considered a useful antioxidant, but it also slightly reduces the amount of iron, zinc and calcium that almonds get.

These nuts are a very good source of antioxidants - substances that protect the body from oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in cells and cause inflammation, skin aging and diseases such as cancer. The most powerful antioxidants in almonds are contained in large quantities in the brown layer of the skin. Therefore, blanched almonds (those with peels removed) are not the best choice for a healthy diet.

Almonds also contain large amounts of vitamin E - a group of fat-soluble antioxidants. They tend to accumulate in the cell membranes of the body, protecting cells from oxidative damage. Almonds are the best source of vitamin E in the world, and 28 grams of them provide 37% of a person's daily need for vitamin. Several studies have linked high levels of vitamin E to low levels of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's.

Another plus of almonds is their remarkable content of magnesium - a mineral involved in more than 300 processes in the human body, including blood sugar control. The required daily requirement of magnesium is 310-420 mg. Almost half of this important mineral, namely 150 mg, is provided by 56 grams of almonds.

About 25-38% of people with type 2 diabetes are magnesium deficient. Correcting this deficiency significantly lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin function. There has been a significant reduction in insulin resistance with magnesium intake in people who do not have diabetes. This shows that foods high in magnesium, such as almonds, can help prevent metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

The magnesium in almonds can also help lower blood pressure levels. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. Magnesium deficiency is strongly associated with high blood pressure, regardless of whether a person is overweight or not. Studies show that correcting magnesium deficiency can lead to large drops in blood pressure.

High levels of LDL lipoproteins in the blood, also known as "bad" cholesterol, are a well-known risk factor for heart disease. Diet can have major effects on bad cholesterol levels. Studies show that almonds effectively reduce LDL levels.

Useful properties of almonds

 

Almonds contain from 35 to 67% oil, they are one of the best plant sources of protein (almost as much as there is in lean meat - up to 30%). Nuts provide high quality and well absorbed protein. Its quality is determined by the amount of essential or essential amino acids and absorption.

Almonds contain various minerals that are absolutely necessary for bone health. Calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus are involved in maintaining bone strength. The amounts of butter, proteins and sugars are large, there are also enzymes.

In folk medicine they are used in digestive disorders and disorders of renal function. In combination with sugar are used for anemia, insomnia, cough. They are also useful in asthma, pleurisy and hemoptysis (expectoration of blood), abrasions, stomach ulcers and bladder. Nuts increase the amount of semen.

Italian scientists have found that regular consumption of almonds increases the body's resistance to viral infections, in particular, influenza and colds. In addition, it has been observed that the substances contained in the skin of the nut help to speed up the recovery of women who have already become infected with viral infections.

Almond oil is their most valuable ingredient. Its content reaches 45% for bitter and 62% for sweet nuts. Almond oil is used as a solvent for some subcutaneous injection substances.

The bitter almond cake left over from the processing has in the past been used to produce bitter almond water, used in the treatment of certain diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, also as a sedative (sedative).

Sweet almonds are still used to make almond emulsion (so-called almond milk), and the cake, known as "almond bran", is used as a healing cosmetic to soften dry skin. The kernels of sweet varieties of almonds are used in cooking and confectionery.

Due to their properties, nuts successfully find a place in the system of rational nutrition, especially in cases where the consumption of animal protein must be significantly reduced.

Almonds are eaten raw or roasted, used as a high-quality additive in confectionery, and residual products from their processing are used in the perfume industry and medicine.

Nuts are also used to make liqueurs. In the production of beverages, the almond shell is used, which not only flavors but also improves the taste of the beverage.

Harmful properties and contraindications

Almonds are contraindicated in case of individual intolerance to the product. People suffering from obesity should limit the consumption of these nuts due to their high caloric content.

In case of increased heart rate, it is necessary to consult a doctor before switching to almonds, as they have a direct effect on the cardiovascular system.

Unripe almonds should not be eaten because they contain cyanide, which leads to poisoning. The composition of raw bitter almonds contains the poisonous hydrocyanic acid, which can harm the body. But from these almonds oil is extracted or consumed in moderation after pre-roasting.

Excess nuts can lead to dizziness as well as mild drug intoxication.

 
More on the topic:
  • Benefits and harms of almond flour


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