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One Major Effect of Eating Almonds, Says Dietitian

This benefit makes this nut the perfect summertime snack!

You've likely heard all of the well-known benefits of eating almonds on the regular—like how they can help lower your cholesterol, your blood sugar, and even give you a boost of vitamin E. While these health benefits are all incredible reasons for incorporating almonds into your everyday diet, there is one major effect of eating almonds you may not know about—but make all the difference for your health. Almonds can actually improve your skin and protect it from the harsh sun.

Yep, that's right. Almonds can help keep your skin looking beautiful. Seems like a pretty major effect to us! We spoke with Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES, FAND, Diabetes Lifestyle Expert with DiabetesEveryDay, author of Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies, and a spokesperson for the Almond Board of California, who was able to give us some nutty insight on this popular snack food.

"When you think of skin health, start your day with a handful of almonds as your second layer of protection after you rub on your sunscreen lotion," says Smithson. "A recent study from UCLA found that it took longer periods of UVB exposure for any telltale signs of sunburn to appear in women who ate almonds." (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now)

How many almonds should you eat to reap this incredible skin benefit? Smithson says to "munch on 1 1/2 ounces of almonds (about 35 almonds) before you head out in the sun."

"They are also a great portable snack so you can bring them along when you venture outdoors," says Smithson. "The researchers speculate that good mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, quercetin (a flavonoid), and other phenolic and polyphenolic compounds found in almonds may be responsible for the increased photoprotection against UVB light."

Along with protecting your skin from the sun, eating almonds can actually be a beneficial addition to your skincare routine. Smithson points out another 6-month study from the University of California which shows that eating 2 ounces of almonds a day can help reduce wrinkle severity by 16% and help overall skin pigmentation intensity (specifically on your face).

"The researchers suggest that vitamin E and niacin may be partly responsible for these effects but note that the findings emphasize the need to look at almonds as a whole food with multiple nutrient components that work synergistically, rather than oversimplifying benefits to single nutrients," says Smithson.

So if you plan on heading out for a day in the sun, pack a small bag of almonds to take with you for extra skin protection—and a delicious afternoon snack. Or enjoy them for dessert with our Dark Chocolate-Covered Almond Clusters recipe!

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Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more about Kiersten