10 Amazing Health Benefits of Almonds & Nutrition Facts 2023

Ellie Busby

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Dr G. Michael DiLeo, MD

benefits of almonds

You know nuts are good for you, but there are so many – which one(s) should you focus on? It’s hard to know which nuts to prioritize, but we reckon this article will sway you as you learn about the unbelievable health benefits of almonds.

Almonds have the most science-backed health benefits of all nuts. The benefits range from weight loss, lower rates of chronic illnesses (such as dementia, heart disease, and high blood pressure), and even alleviating depression. Read on to find out why you should eat almonds every day.

10 Amazing Health Benefits of Almonds

  1. Weight loss
  2. Better memory
  3. Helps with depression
  4. Improved sports performance
  5. Lowers cholesterol levels
  6. Improves heart health
  7. Good for diabetics
  8. Improves gut health
  9. Relieves stress
  10. Skin health

10 Amazing Benefits of Almonds for Your Health

Weight loss

We think the more fats we eat, the more weight we gain. But what we’ve thought about fats and weight loss has been wrong – especially when it comes to almonds.

Almonds turn out to be the best nut for weight loss. They make you feel surprisingly full, which is why they’re so good at helping people lose weight.

If you’re worried about weight gain, you can rest assured that no study has ever linked consuming almonds to gaining weight. In fact, studies show people eat fewer calories overall[1] after adding almonds to their diet.

So, eating almonds every day could even help you achieve sustainable weight loss. But it doesn’t have to be whole almonds – one of the benefits of almond milk is it could help you lose more weight than other kinds of plant milk.

Better memory

If you’re feeling brain foggy or your memory isn’t what it used to be, almonds could help. 

Your brain’s processing speed depends on fat surrounding nerves (called myelin)[2] – and all that fat needs to come from your diet. So it’s no surprise that studies show fat-rich nuts can increase brain power[3], boost memory[4], and even stave off dementia[5]

Most neurocognitive disorders, such as dementia, involve brain inflammation. Inflammation can cause damage, which leads to brain function being affected. Almonds are especially rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients, which contribute to the benefits of almonds for brain health

They contain monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients that protect our brain cells from damage and keep them working at their best.

Helps with depression

Scientists have linked depression with brain inflammation[6]. The more inflammation affects your brain and nervous system, the higher your risk of depression. 

The most pro-inflammatory foods are refined, processed foods – the main culprits being vegetable oils and white carbs. On the other hand, eating anti-inflammatory almonds every day as part of a healthy diet may reduce inflammation and improve mood[7] in people with depression.

Almonds are also rich in magnesium[8], a mineral our brain needs[9] to function optimally – especially when stressed. When you’re stressed, your brain uses up more magnesium, increasing the risk of a deficiency[10]

Improved sports performance

Most athletes focus on getting enough protein and carbs to fuel their energy and boost muscle recovery. Hardly anyone thinks of the importance of healthy fats, and that’s one reason many athletes get repeatedly injured[11].

Studies show[12] that almonds can boost sports performance by improving energy utilization. They’re also high in L-arginine[13], an amino acid suggested to improve performance. The vitamin E and antioxidants in almonds can also support your immune system[14], which is crucial for optimal recovery.

Finally, almonds are high in protein, which is crucial for rebuilding and repairing muscle. These health benefits of almond butter make it a great addition to any post-workout smoothie or snack – especially if you’re getting bored of peanut butter.

Lowers cholesterol levels

You probably wouldn’t think of a high-fat food such as nuts as the best thing to eat for high cholesterol. But eating more healthy fats is one of the best ways to lower your cholesterol levels. One of the best nuts for the job is – you guessed it – the almond.

Eating a portion of 30 g of almonds per day can lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels[15] and increase your HDL (good) cholesterol levels. 

Combining almonds and dark chocolate[16] could lower cholesterol levels even more than almonds alone. What’s more, the antioxidants, such as vitamin E, in almond skin extract can lower levels of harmful oxidized LDL[17] cholesterol.

The most important measure for lowering your cholesterol levels with almonds is making sure you’re eating them every day. Consider them your natural medication, and never skip a dose. This is another reason to try switching to almond milk, too.

Improves heart health

The health benefits of almonds go further than lowering cholesterol (which is already good for your heart[18]). They also improve endothelial function[19] after just 6 weeks of snacking on them. 

This means they can lower[20] high blood pressure and put less strain on your heart, lowering your risk of heart disease and heart attacks.

Good for diabetics

Consuming almonds every day can lower fasting blood sugar levels and improve blood sugar balance[21] after eating a meal. When scientists compared almonds and peanuts to see which was best for diabetes, they found that almonds were much better for lowering HbA1c levels[22] – a blood marker of diabetes. 

These effects on blood sugar might also contribute to the benefits of almonds during pregnancy by lowering the risk of gestational diabetes[23].

The reason almonds seem to be good for diabetes might come down to another one of our benefits – the gut. A healthy gut is good for blood sugar because the bacteria digest and slow down the absorption of sugar. Some gut bacteria have even been linked to better weight loss maintenance.

Improves gut health

So many people struggle with gut issues, we almost feel it’s normal to be bloated and gassy. But it’s not normal – and you don’t have to feel bloated after every meal.

Refined foods[24] are the worst things you can eat for your gut bacteria – especially foods like white carbs, sugar, and vegetable oils[25]. Your gut needs whole foods because your microbes need fiber to survive[26]. Without enough fiber, your gut bacteria levels will change and may lead to dysbiosis (too many bad bacteria and not enough good ones).

Almonds contain lots of fiber called “prebiotics”, which makes almonds good for feeding your gut microbes[27]. Studies show[28] that almonds increase levels of good bacteria[29] and decrease levels of bad bacteria while increasing microbial diversity – the key to a healthy gut.

In the short term, adding more fiber or prebiotics might make you feel slightly more bloated as your gut community gets used to the food. Think of it like a population boom – there’s always going to be a bit of a frenzy at first while everyone finds a home, then things start settling down. 

However, almonds are a mild food to start off with to grow your gut colony with minimal side effects.

Relieves stress

It’s not only high cholesterol and high blood pressure which can put stress on our heart. Too much mental stress can also increase your risk of a heart attack – and we can predict your risk using a measure called heart rate variability (HRV).

A high HRV signals a healthy heart and mental well-being. The more stressed you are, the lower your HRV[30], and the higher your risk of a heart attack.

Here’s the good news. When scientists compared typical (unhealthy) snacks to snacking on almonds, the almond-eaters had a higher HRV[31] when under mental stress. Eating almonds isn’t an excuse to continue putting yourself under stress, but it might make you more resilient when you need it.

Skin health

Yes, almonds can even make you look younger. Some studies suggest almonds can protect your skin from damaging UV-B rays[32], which can slow down skin aging. So much so, that you’ll even see a difference in your wrinkles in the mirror. 

When scientists instructed post-menopausal women to eat 20% of their daily calories in almonds, their wrinkle severity decreased by 16%[33] over 24 weeks (that’s compared to the women in the control group, who ate a calorie-matched non-almond snack). Of course, this isn’t just for women – these are benefits of almonds for men too.

Scientists think the benefits of almonds for the skin come from their high levels of antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin E, which protect your skin from oxidative damage. This makes almonds one of the best superfoods for your skin – and maybe even your hair

This also explains the benefits of almond oil applied directly to your skin, as well as the benefits of almond oil for hair.

Nutrition Facts

There’s a good reason scientists have been studying almonds more than any other nut – they have amazing nutritional value. Almonds are a rich source of[34] fatty acids, phytochemical polyphenols (healthy non-essential plant nutrients), protein, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E and magnesium. 

How many almonds should you eat a day?

Almonds are so nutritious that adding a 50 g handful per day[35] to your diet can noticeably raise your intake of healthy fats, vitamin E, and fiber. For optimal benefits, aim for eating 20% of your daily calories in almonds.

Almonds and anti-nutrients

However, like all nuts, almonds contain some anti-nutrients such as lectins, which can stop you from absorbing some of the nutrients. 

Most of the lectins[36] are in the almond skins – and this is why you’ll hear about the benefits of almonds soaked in water.

Some people will tell you that the best way to reduce the anti-nutrients in almonds is by soaking and “activating” them, but this isn’t supported by scientific studies[37]. Removing the skins could help, but lots of the nutrients are in the skins too.

Almonds are so nutritious the anti-nutrients shouldn’t get in the way of you eating them. So, if you feel like you’re missing out on some nutrients, have a daily snack of skin-on almonds. If you’re looking for an easy way to get the antioxidant benefits of red foods such as almond skins without the lectins, check out our recommended red superfood powders.

The Bottom Line: Are Almonds Good for You?

Almonds are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat and have the most science-backed health benefits of all the nuts. There are practically no downsides, so – whether you want to lose weight, look younger, or improve your mental well-being – eating more almonds as part of a healthy diet can help.

+ 37 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

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Ellie Busby

Written by:

Ellie Busby, MS, RDN

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

Ellie Busby is a Registered Nutritionist (MSc, mBANT) and nutrition writer. She holds a bachelor's in Chemistry and a Masters in Nutrition. Ellie specializes in plant-based nutrition for health and fitness. She is also the Founder of Vojo Health, a personalized nutrition service based on genetic testing.

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

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