Almonds nutrition facts, almond benefits, almond oil
updated August 12, 2011
Abstract Almond (Prunus dulcis L.)
Almonds are nuts with lots of antioxidants and fatty acids. Almonds eaten raw or fried.
Almond is an ingredient used in various snacks and food to enhance the nutritional
value and taste of the products. There are various claims on health benefits of
almonds over the internet. It is said almonds are beneficial for proper development of
brain and hair. Actually, there is no a concert scientific support for the claim of almond
benefits on hair growth or the brain (search on August 12, 2011).

While, research suggest almond may provide health benefits of heart protection and
cholesterol-lowering. And, its high contents of antioxidants and fatty acids may be the
keys for its potential health benefits. With no scientific evidence, an online publisher
further suggests use of almonds for weight management. In this article, we are going to
review almond nutrition facts and health benefits, based on scientific evidence.

Almonds nutrition facts
Almond contain some important phytochemicals such as sphingolipid, beta-sitosterol,
daucosterol, uridine, and adenosine. [3]  Almond also contain a protein called amandin.
Amandin is a legumin type protein characterized by a sedimentation value of 14S. It is
composed of two major types of polypeptides with estimated molecular weights of 42-46
and 20-22 kDa linked via disulfide bonds. Amandin is not a glycoprotein. Amandin-1,
amandin-2, and amandin-3 are antigenically related and have similar biochemical
properties. [2] Researchers studied the flavonol content of 16 almond varieties and
they found each of the 16 seedcoat samples exhibited a unique composition. [4] Four
flavonol glycosides were identified in almond seedcoats: isorhamnetin rutinoside,
isorhamnetin glucoside, kaempferol rutinoside, and kaempferol glucoside. [1]  Among
these flavonol glycosides, isorhamnetin rutinoside was the most abundant flavonol
glycoside, and the total content ranged from 75 to 250 microg/g. [4]

Almond benefits
Almond benefits for anorectal prolapse
A study has shown that phenol in almond oil injection therapy is a simple and safe
procedure for anorectal prolapse in children. Nine children with rectal prolapse, aged
from 2 to 14 years were treated by phenol in almond oil injection sclerotherapy. All nine
patients were cured after one to three injections without any complications. Two out of
4 children with constipation prior to injection therapy had no longer constipation
thereafter. [6]

Almond benefits of antioxidative activities
Consumption of almonds has been associated with benefits of reducing risk of
coronary heart disease. Flavonoids, at the skin of almonds, may contribute to
health benefits

Almond has shown its benefits of anti-oxidative activities in various studies. [7, 9]
Almond skin flavonoids  is found to have antioxidative capacity in vitro. In a study of
harmsters, vitamins C and E act in synergy with almond skin flavonoids to provide
benefits of protecting LDL against oxidation. [7] In another study, almond hulls extracts
mainly contained chlorogenic acid, cryptochlorogenic acid, 3-O-caffeoylquinic acid and
sterols (stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol) were prepared. Almond hull extracts are found to
have higher antioxidative activities than alpha-tocopherol. [12]

The cell walls of almond seeds reduce lipid bioaccessibility by hindering the release of
lipid available for digestion. Seed coat cell wall contains a large amount of phenolic
compounds while the cell walls are rich in non-starch polysaccharides, particularly
arabinose-rich polysaccharides. [8,10] During chewing, i.e. disruption of almond tissue,
only the first layer of cells at the fractured surface is ruptured and able to release the
lipid. Researchers examined fecal samples collected from subjects consuming the
almond diet, they found intact cotyledonary cells, in which the cell walls encapsulated
intracellular lipid. [8]

Almond benefits - cholesterol lowering effects
Almonds have been found to have a consistent low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol
(LDL-C) lowering effect in healthy individuals, and in individuals with high
diabetes, in both controlled and free-living settings. Biologically active by nature,
these nutrients target primary mechanistic routes of LDL-C reduction, including
decreased (re)absorption of cholesterol and bile acid, increased bile acid and
cholesterol excretion, and increased LDL-C receptor activity. The nutrients present in
almonds may regulate enzymes involved in de novo cholesterol synthesis and bile acid
production to offer health benefits. [Nutr Rev. 2011 Apr;69(4):171-85]

Roasted salted almonds VS Roasted almond butter VS Raw almonds
In a study, researchers fed 38 human subjects with high cholesterol profiles with
heart-healthy diets including 100g of one of three forms of almonds: roasted salted
almonds, roasted almond butter or raw almonds for four weeks. They found that all
forms of almonds in the context of a heart-healthy diet significantly lowered low-density
lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL) from baseline to the completion of the study. Both raw
and roasted almonds significantly lowered triglyceride levels, but almond butter did not
lower the triglyceride to a statistical significance. Unfortunately, they all didn't have
much benefits on High-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL) and blood pressure. [11]

whole-almond VS almond oil
Researchers supplied 22 healthy subjects with either whole almonds or almond oil for
6-wk periods. They found that fat replacement with either whole almonds and almond
oil resulted in a 54% increase in percentage of energy as monounsaturated fat with
declines in both saturated fat and cholesterol intake and no significant changes in total
energy, total or polyunsaturated fat intake. The effects of whole almonds and almond
oil on plasma lipids did not differ compared with baseline; plasma triglyceride, total and
LDL cholesterol significantly decreased, 14, 4 and 6% respectively, whereas HDL
cholesterol increased 6%. [13] They show a similar benefit in healthy subjects.

Almond Oil Benefits
Almond oil has long been used in complementary medicine circles for its numerous
health benefits. In addition to the benefits discussed before, almond oil may also
improve bowel transit. The reference states a reduced incidence of colonic cancer in
an animal study [K1]. Historically, almond oil had been used in Ancient Chinese,
Ayurvedic and Greco-Persian medicines to treat dry skin conditions such as psoriasis
and eczema. Almond oil seemingly reduces hypertrophic scarring post-operatively,
smoothes and rejuvenates skin. Almond oil has emollient and sclerosant properties
and, therefore, has been used to improve complexion and skin tone. However, clinical
studies are needed to support these health benefit claims of almond oil on skin.
[Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2010 Feb;16(1):10-2.]

REFERENCES[1] Frison-Norrie S et al, Identification and quantification of flavonol glycosides in almond seedcoats
using MALDI-TOF MS. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 May 8;50(10):2782-7. [2] Sathe SK et al, Biochemical
characterization of amandin, the major storage protein in almond (Prunus dulcis L.). J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Jul
17;50(15):4333-41. [3] Sang S et al, Sphingolipid and other constituents from almond nuts (Prunus amygdalus
Batsch). J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Jul 31;50(16):4709-12. [4] Frison S et al, Variation in the flavonol glycoside
composition of almond seedcoats as determined by maldi-tof mass spectrometry. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Nov
6;50(23):6818-22. [5] Shi Z et al, Analysis of physicochemical property and composition of fatty acid of almond oil
Se Pu. 1999 Sep;17(5):506-7. [6] Angerpointner TA The treatment of rectal prolapse in children with phenol in
almond oil injection. J Pediatr Surg. 2005 Jul;40(7):1217. [7] Chen CY et al, Flavonoids from almond skins are
bioavailable and act synergistically with vitamins C and E to enhance hamster and human LDL resistance to
oxidation. J Nutr. 2005 Jun;135(6):1366-73. [8] Ellis PR et al, Role of cell walls in the bioaccessibility of lipids in
almond seeds. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Sep;80(3):604-13. [9] Wang H et al, Effects of almond on D-gal-induced aging
rats Wei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2004 Mar;33(2):222-4. [10] Dourado F et al, Anatomy and cell wall polysaccharides of
almond (Prunus dulcis D. A. Webb) seeds. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Mar 10;52(5):1364-70. [11] Spiller GA et al,
Effects of plant-based diets high in raw or roasted almonds, or roasted almond butter on serum lipoproteins in
humans. J Am Coll Nutr. 2003 Jun;22(3):195-200. [12] Takeoka GR et al, Antioxidant constituents of almond [Prunus
dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb] hulls. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Jan 15;51(2):496-501. 13 Hyson DA et al, Almonds and
almond oil have similar effects on plasma lipids and LDL oxidation in healthy men and women. J Nutr. 2002
Apr;132(4):703-7. Almond benefit on colon cancer: [K1] Davis PA, Iwahashi CK.Whole almonds and almond
fractions reduce aberrant crypt foci in a rat model of colon carcinogenesis. Cancer Lett. 2001 Apr 10;165(1):27-33.
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