Almonds – A Possible Remedy for Headaches?
Almonds are very nutritious and have a lot of health benefits. For some people, almonds can help relieve a headache or minimize the frequency of migraines. For others, however, almonds may actually trigger a headache.
Almonds contain an ingredient called salicin. This is the primary by-product of aspirin metabolism. Another ingredient in almonds that may help headache sufferers is magnesium. Magnesium, the anti-stress mineral, relaxes muscles and nerves and is particularly good for headaches caused by tension.
In one study done by the University of Maryland Medical Center, it was found that people who took magnesium reduced the frequency of attacks by 41.6%, compared to 15.8% of those who took a placebo.
How many almonds should you eat? If you are a regular headache or migraine sufferer, and know that almonds are not one of your trigger foods, try eating 10 – 15 almonds a day for 6 weeks to see if your attacks become less frequent and/or severe.
Other Benefits of Almonds
Antioxidants – Almonds, particularly the brown skin, have high amounts of antioxidants. In one clinical study, done with 60 male smokers, almond consumption reduced oxidative stress markers over a 4 week period by 23 – 34%. This is not the only study done with similar findings.
Blood Sugar – For diabetics, almonds are an excellent food source. They are low in carbohydrates and contain high amounts of good quality protein, fat and fiber. Almonds contain about 20% magnesium which is a key nutrient to help stabilize blood sugar. Over 25% of type II diabetics are magnesium deficient. Almonds also help reduce insulin resistance.
Blood Pressure – The high magnesium content in almonds can also help to lower blood pressure levels.
Cholesterol – Almonds may also help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. In one study, snacking on almonds lowered LDL cholesterol levels by 14%.
Weight Loss – There is some evidence nuts may slightly boost metabolism. Nuts are actually difficult for the body to digest and 10-15% of the calories don’t get absorbed. Like most nuts, the high fiber and protein content in almonds can contribute to increased satiety.
Unless you are sensitive to almonds, there are so many excellent reasons to include them in your diet on a regular basis.