Almonds -- Are They Good for Swelling?

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November 19, 2013, last updated November 25, 2014
By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist  

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors and
Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members of our
Editorial Board.]

Chances are something’s going to swell somewhere on
your body, sometime in your life. Swelling, also called
edema, is a common occurrence resulting in an increase in
size of some part of your body – anything from legs to lips,
ankles to upper and lower arms can swell.

The nutrients you feed your body can help reduce swelling.
While there is no quick fix you can eat to get rid of the
excess body fluid, almonds can certainly help.

Almonds are a nutrient-dense nut which has been
championed as a health aid by many experts. Almonds have
been celebrated throughout history as powerful symbols of
health and fertility. In fact, while most people today
shower newlyweds with rice as they marry, in ancient
Rome, newlyweds were showered with almonds because
the nuts were considered a sign of fertility.

But are almonds useful for swelling? Should you nibble on
a few nuts to help keep everything in your body the right

What Causes Swelling?

When a part of your body swells it can be caused by an
accumulation of body fluid, excess tissue growth, or an
abnormal positioning of tissue.

You may recognize that swollen feeling in your hands and
legs when you sit in the same position for a long time, or
when it is hot. Lack of movement increases swelling in the
lower body because fluid moves down due to gravity.
You may experience swelling in specific areas of the body
after you injure yourself, burn your skin, or get bitten by
an insect. An infection under the skin or in a joint causes
swelling, as does inflammation in the joint that is overused
or subjected to repeated motion.

Generalized swelling all over the body happens if you
experience an allergic reaction, you have an autoimmune
disease, you are taking some medicines, or you suffer from
a health condition that causes fluid to build up in your
body  --- such as
heart failure, kidney disease,
thrombophlebitis, or peripheral arterial disease.

Almonds may help because they contain a range of
nutrients that scientists have linked to health benefits,
including for preventing or treating swelling. However, are
almonds the best food to snack on to help swelling? Are
there any side effects associated with eating almonds for

Types of Almonds

You think of the almond as a nut but it is technically the
seed of the fruit produced by the almond tree.

Almonds, believed to have originated in west Asia and
North Africa, have been eaten for centuries and have even
been written about in the Bible in the Book of Numbers,
where they are referenced as the fruit of "Aaron's rod".
Today, almonds are grown in countries that border the
Mediterranean Sea – Spain, Portugal, Italy and Morocco,
for example – and also in California. In fact, California is
the only state that produces almonds, which were brought
to America by the Spanish and thrive in the climate,
according to the Almond Board of California.

There are two different type of almonds found in the US.
You can buy sweet almonds (Prunus amygdalu var. dulcis)
and bitter almonds (Prunus amygdalu var. amara). You
usually eat the sweet almonds, which are available in a
variety of preparations. Buy sweet almonds in their shells,
shelled, whole, and sliced, with skin or with the skin

Bitter almonds are used to produce almond oil to flavor
food and drink, including Amaretto liqueur. Usually you can
not eat bitter almonds but the toxic substances are
removed when almond oil is manufactured.

How to Use Almonds

Beware of removing the skins of almonds if you are using
them to treat swelling or for other health benefits. The
skins are nutrient-rich and you lose many of the nuts’
benefits if you remove the skin. The best way to eat
almonds for health is to shell the nuts and chop them. Use
them in yogurt or with stir-fried vegetables, in a cold rice
or chicken salad, as a coating for chicken or meat, or simply
eat them by the handful as a snack.

Nutritional Profile of Almonds for Swelling

One-quarter of a cup of almonds contains a good source of
vitamin E and manganese (8.97mg and 0.90mg
respectively), 98.67mg of magnesium, good levels of
copper (0.40mg) and vitamin B2 (0.30mg), and also zinc
and vitamin E, according to the National Institutes of
Health's Office of Dietary Supplements.

While one-quarter cup of almonds contains 18g of fat, this
is heart-healthy fat – monounsaturated fat.

How do these nutrients affect swelling? Here we take a
look at the specific benefits of almonds for edema and
generalized or localized swelling.

Almonds are a Good Source of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps maintain healthy skin
and reduce inflammation.

One ounce of almonds contains 6.8mg of vitamin E --- 34
percent of the daily value.

Vitamin E was found effective in reducing skin swelling
after UV exposure from sunlight, according to a 1993 study
by the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada and
a 1992 study from the University of Western Ontario,
London, Canada.

Vitamin E also helps reduce dangerous levels of swelling in
preeclampsia, a complication of pregnancy that involves
whole body swelling and high blood pressure. A 1999
study from Guy's, King's, and St Thomas' School of
Medicine, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK looked at 283
women and found vitamin E significantly reduced the
chances of developing this disease.

Magnesium in Almonds for Inflammation

Magnesium is said to reduce inflammation and swelling, and
the pain associated with these conditions. A 1989 study
from Klinik für Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe, Medizinischen
Akademie Magdeburg, Germany found reduced levels of
pain and swelling in women suffering from dysmenorrheal
– menstrual pain.

The magnesium in just one ounce of almonds represents
around 20 percent of the daily value you need.

Almonds Contain Zinc Which Helps Reduce Swelling

One ounce of almonds contains 0.9mg of zinc, around 6
percent of the daily value. Zinc has been demonstrated to
reduce inflammation and swelling in the skin and mucous
membranes caused by radiation therapy in one 2006 study
from the Chi-Mei Foundation Medical Center, Yungkang
City, Tainan, Taiwan.

Vitamin B2 in Almonds

The B vitamins are essential for many different metabolic
processes including, prevention of swelling, according to
The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness. A deficiency
of B vitamins, in particular vitamins B1 and B2, can result in
edema and swelling.

When You Should Not Eat Almonds to Reduce Swelling

However, almonds are not perfect when it comes to  
swelling caused by allergies.

Almonds are one of the eight food types classified as major
food allergens by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. The major allergens according to this group are
wheat, cow's milk, hen's eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish
(including shrimp, prawns, lobster and crab), peanuts,  soy
and tree nuts (including almonds, cashews, walnuts,
pecans, pistachios, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and chestnuts).

Eating almonds if you are allergic may result in swelling of
the mouth, lips, and tongue, as well as other allergic
symptoms including trouble breathing, mouth tingling,
nasal congestion, and dizziness.

Does Roasting Almonds Change Their Health Benefits?

Many people prefer the taste of a roasted almond but does
putting almonds in the oven change how well they treat
swelling, or affect their health benefits in other ways?

Gently roasting almonds in the oven (at about 160-170°F
for 15-20 minutes) helps preserve the healthy oils and the
taste of the nut. Over-roasting damages the
polyunsaturated fats in the nut which not only prevents
them from doing their job in the body but causes the nut to
become rancid --- it tastes bad and is potentially

Look for roasted almonds in cans that are protected from
the light and air, or roast the nuts yourself and store them
in a cool, dry place and eat them quickly.

You can store almonds in the fridge for up to a month.
Almonds form part of a balanced, healthy diet and, unless
you are allergic to nuts, can help manage conditions like
inflammation and swelling.

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Eating just an ounce of almonds each day can help reduce swelling.

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