Nature has packed a lot of goodness in that little nut (technically not a nut but a seed) known as the almond.
It is known to lower cholesterol, reduces body fats and has a host of nutrients including manganese, vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, copper, tryptophan, phosphorus, riboflavin and protein.
Almonds are one whole food that, though high in calories and in fat content, are seemingly conversely, good for health.
Like olives, almonds consist of monounsaturated fats which help in reducing the risk of heart disease and this is borne out by several studies.
Almonds also decrease the levels of LDL cholesterol which is the bad kind; the kind that blocks arteries. Also the presence of vitamin E in almonds and the antioxidant properties of this vitamin, it is proven to be beneficial for lowering risk of heart disease. The high concentration of manganese and presence of potassium in almonds also make them very good for the heart.
Almonds are good for combating diabetes because they have been known to reduce after meal spikes in blood sugar. It has also been observed that eating almonds with high glycemic index foods can lower the glycemic levels of the food and therefore control that rise in blood sugar after meals.
Eating almonds is seem to help with weight loss because they are a satisfying food, which can reduce total daily caloric intake of the individual whose craving to eat other things tends to lessen. The Monounsaturated fats contained in almonds are also what contribute to weight loss.
However you have to remember that almonds are still a high calorie food and must be eaten in moderation. Also the common practice of blanching almonds and eating them without the skin greatly reduces their beneficial properties, since the skin is also packed with fiber and antioxidants.
Almonds are best eaten with their skin on, raw, uncooked and unsalted. Typically almonds are fried and seasoned with unhealthy quantities of salt and other flavor enhancers, which substantially lower their health giving properties.
Also, almonds when heated (as they would be while frying or even roasting) tend to lose some of their nutritional value because the oil in them becomes unstable at high temperature and therefore less beneficial.
So the next time you feel the urge for a snack coming on, reach for some almonds. Make sure they are not the salted variety and you have a healthy nutritious snack which will probably cause you to eat a bit less for your next meal!