Despite being calorie-dense, there are plenty of nuts and seeds out there that can prove to be the perfect snack for a keto diet.

After all, they’re packed with healthy fat, low in carbs, and tend to be full of protective anti-oxidants. They’re also high in dietary fiber, which supports and boosts our metabolism as well as help sustain the good bacteria in our gut.

In this article,

we’re going to hone in on one specific nut—almonds—to see what their health benefits are and why they’re an excellent choice for the keto diet.

Let’s Talk Almonds!

Technically, almonds aren’t a “true nut,” they’re the seeds of a drupe–a fleshy fruit, like a peach or plum which grows on almond trees native to the Mediterranean.

Almonds are usually eaten raw, but can also be roasted or blanched. Blanching is the process of boiling almonds to remove the skin, but the skin is where most of the antioxidants are [1].

So, it’s not recommended if you’re trying to get the most nutrition out of them.

You can also use almond-based products such as milk, butter, and flour in your cooking, so there are plenty of ways to incorporate them into your keto diet.

Now let’s see how eating more almonds is great for your health:

Weight Loss

There are two main ways almonds can help you lose weight.

Firstly,

because almonds are high in protein and fiber, they’ll increase your feeling of being full [2], meaning you’re less likely to snack on higher calorie foods and stray off the path of ketosis.

Secondly,

almonds contain nutrients that our bodies struggle to break down and digest, meaning we don’t actually absorb all of their calories.

Those, combined with the fact almonds can give our metabolism a nice boost, make them an ideal dietary addition for keto dieters looking to lose weight.

Maintaining a Healthy Brain

When it comes to super-foods for the brain, you’ll find almonds sitting at the top of the list. Almonds contain nutrients that help fight off cognitive decline and boost brain activity.

They’re also known to reduce inflammation in the brain that can eventually lead to diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia in later life.

The lean protein in almonds helps to repair your brain cells, while the zinc removes the free radicals in your blood that can attack them.

On top of that, almonds are an excellent source of vitamin B6 and vitamin E which not only maintain your brain’s health but slow down the aging of your brain cells, keeping your memory sharper for longer.

Keeping Your Skin Healthy

The vitamin E in almonds doesn’t just keep your brain healthy, it also helps reduce your skin’s signs of aging and keeps it nourished, with the help of many other antioxidants.

These include flavonols, catechin and epicatechin antioxidants that can help prevent against skin cancer, as well as undoing the oxidative stress that can come from pollution, a poor diet or prolonged exposure to UV light.

The healthy fats in almonds help your skin stay hydrated, improve the speed at which wounds heal, and improve your circulation.

Lowering Your Cholesterol

“Bad” cholesterol—scientifically known as LDL lipoproteins—are known to be a significant factor in heart disease if their levels get too high, and diet plays a big part in this.

With a quarter of all deaths linked to heart failure, you can never pay too much attention to this vital organ.

A handful of almonds a day can not only help to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol [3], but they also contain polyphenol antioxidants that protect that LDL from oxidation, one of the first steps towards developing heart problems.

The high vitamin E content helps boost this effect.

While studies are still being conducted to find out just how much almonds can lower LDL cholesterol, almonds are still likelier to be better for you than an alternative snack.

Boosting Your Eye Health

While carrots may get all the attention when it comes to eye health—despite questionable claims about night vision—almonds are a true superfood when it comes to maintaining healthy vision.

Our eyes are extremely sensitive so, if damaged, the healing process can be difficult, if possible at all.

The antioxidants in almonds help our eyes function by protecting against the toxins that our eyes are exposed to on a daily basis. The vitamin E helps prevent abnormal changes in the lens, reducing the risk of cataracts developing.

Fighting Type 2 Diabetes

With almost 600 million people projected to have type 2 diabetes in twenty years time, it truly is a global pandemic.

While a poor, imbalanced diet is the primary cause of type 2 diabetes, improvements to your diet can help reverse some of the more harmful effects on your body.

With diabetes, your body is unable to metabolize glucose properly and almonds have a number of ways to counter the imbalances and restore homeostasis, including reducing glucose levels and insulin resistance.

High in Magnesium

Despite magnesium being present in most foods, it’s generally in low quantities and hard to get as much as your body needs without taking supplements.

Magnesium is a mineral that helps maintain your blood pressure [4], is an essential part of cell structure, helps metabolize fat and carbs to produce energy, and plays a crucial role in keeping your bones and teeth healthy.

It’s also vital to kidney function and protecting your organs.

Although most nuts are sources of magnesium, almonds contain more than any other.

Conclusion

With so many tasty ways of incorporating almonds into your diet, whether you want to snack on them raw, or use almond butter, milk or almond flour in your next delicious recipe, there’s no excuse not to include them on your next grocery shopping trip.

After all,

few nuts can proudly boast as many health benefits as almonds, so eat up!

 

Related:

Is Almond Milk Keto Friendly? A Healthy Substitute for Milk on a Keto Diet

Delicious Chocolate-Covered Almond Keto Smoothie

Is Almond Butter Keto Friendly? 4 Key Benefits

 

References:

[1] Bolling BW, McKay DL, Blumberg JB. The phytochemical composition and antioxidant actions of tree nuts. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010;19(1):117-23.

[2] Tan SY, Mattes RD. Appetitive, dietary and health effects of almonds consumed with meals or as snacks: a randomized, controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Nov;67(11):1205-14. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.184. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

[3] Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, Parker TL, Connelly PW, Qian W, Haight JS, Faulkner D, Vidgen E, Lapsley KG, Spiller GA. Dose response of almonds on coronary heart disease risk factors: blood lipids, oxidized low-density lipoproteins, lipoprotein(a), homocysteine, and pulmonary nitric oxide: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial. Circulation. 2002 Sep 10;106(11):1327-32.

[4] Guerrero-Romero F, Rodríguez-Morán M. The effect of lowering blood pressure by magnesium supplementation in diabetic hypertensive adults with low serum magnesium levels: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Hum Hypertens. 2009 Apr;23(4):245-51. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2008.129. Epub 2008 Nov 20.

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