The Many Joys of Almonds

Almond’s joys never cease to amaze.  Since the dawn of mankind, the joys of almonds have been celebrated and recognized as far back as biblical times when the Bible’s book of Numbers mentions “Aaron’s rod that blossomed and bore almonds.” 

Almonds arrived in the U. S. during the 1700’s when Franciscan Padres brought the almond tree from Spain to California but it wasn’t until the 1800’s when almond trees took off.  In the past 30 years, the almond yield in California has quadrupled covering more than half a million acres in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys.  Today, almonds are a top agricultural export and the largest tree nut crop for the state of California.

Worldwide, there are more than 30 different varieties of almonds – hard to believe there is that much diversification amongst almonds.

Even though there is the pure joy of eating almonds, the true joy is the astonishing health advantages they provide.  If there is one nut everyone should be eating, almonds are it.  Here’s why:

·        Heart health

Your heart will sing for joy when you choose almonds as a snack.  They are cholesterol free, they contain only 1 gram of fat and have 13 grams of heart healthy monounsaturated fat per one ounce serving. 

A recent 2016 meta-analysis reported that the consumption of almonds is associated with a significant reduction not only in total cholesterol, but also LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides (bad fats) with no effects on HDL-cholesterol (the good cholesterol).  In fact, the researchers found that the benefits of almonds on blood lipid levels are most effective in people who are hyperlipidemic and who consume about 45 grams of almonds a day which is equivalent to about 35 almonds. 

·        Weight management

It’s always a joy when the scales tip in your favor reaching a healthy body weight and almonds can play a significant role in helping you to achieve it.  How almonds do this is by helping to curb hunger, satisfying your cravings.  Almonds contain 4 grams of fiber, healthy monounsaturated fats and 6 grams of protein, all which slow down digestion keeping you feeling full longer. 

Don’t be afraid of almonds containing too many calories – a one-ounce serving (about 23 almonds) has just 129 calories making for an easy grab-and-go snack with just enough energy to tide you over until your next meal.

·         Energy

Experience the joy of letting almonds energize you from head to toe.  All nuts are a good source of protein but almonds have the distinction of having the highest amount of protein of all tree nuts – 6 grams in a one ounce serving.  If you ever get tired of just eating almonds in their natural form, check out other forms almonds can be made in to: almond butter (6 grams of protein per ounce), almond flour (6 grams of protein per ¼ cup) or almond milk (1 gram of protein).

·         Nutrition powerhouse

Give your body the joy of knowing you are feeding it something pretty special.  Snacking on almonds is a wise investment in your health as they are an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium and manganese, and a good source of fiber, copper, phosphorous and riboflavin.  When you compare almonds to other tree nuts, ounce

If eating almonds is new to you, here are some suggestions on how to incorporate them into your daily diet from California almonds:

·         Make your own trail mix or granola bars using almonds

·         Add slivered or sliced almonds to oatmeal or yogurt

·         Blend almond milk into a fruit smoothie or latte

·         Whisk almond oil into a vinaigrette or drizzle over a salad

·         Snack on almonds on your way to work or eat a handful after a workout for the perfect recovery snack