What is it?
Almonds are actually seeds produced by the fruit of the almond tree. Whether you prefer calling them nuts or seeds doesn’t really matter, however. What really matters is the almond’s numerous health benefits. Almonds are a great source for manganese, riboflavin, magnesium and vitamin E. In just one serving size of 95 grams (about ¾ cup) you can get more than 100% the recommended daily value of both vitamin E and manganese.
One serving of almonds yields more than half the recommended daily value of magnesium and riboflavin along with a host of other important nutrients. Almonds are also a great source of protein and fiber, which can be vital if you want to lose weight. You can avoid otherwise unhealthy sources of proten (like processed meats) and the high fiber content of almonds can help regulate cravings while also providing the important fiber your body needs.
Why is it good for me?
So we know almonds are high in vitamin E, manganese, magnesium and riboflavin—but what does that mean? First and foremost vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Getting the proper vitamin E content from your diet helps lessen the risk of certain types of cancer and boost immunities. Antioxidants also help maintain cell health and lessen damage from free radicals.
Antioxidants alone, however, don’t make almonds a superfood. Almonds have also been scientifically linked to better heart health. A study conducted by the American Heart Association found that, when eaten as snacks, almonds signficicantly reduced rates of coronary heart disease.
Almonds are high in calories and fat which can scare people trying to lose weight, however, the health benefits of almonds should not be overlooked. The type of fat produced by almond consumption (monounsaturated fats) actually improve overall cardiovascular health and lowers bad cholesterol levels (LDLs). Almonds may be a nut (or seed) that’s high in fat but it is actually high in beneficial fats. Eaten in moderation and adjusted for your personal diet, almonds can provide you with a range of beneficial vitamins and nutrients and improve your long-term heart health.
Where can I get it?
Almonds can be found year round in your local supermarket. The peak of almond growing season occurs in the summer, however, so to get them at the peak of their freshness, try and get them midsummer. Almost every part of the almond is nutritious including the shell! If you’re looking to maximize the health benefits of almonds, try incorporating the shell into a few of your recipes. However, if consuming raw almonds isn’t your personal preference there are a variety of alternatives such as almond butter (think: an almond verson of peanut butter), almond extract, almond flour, and even almond milk3. It is extremely easy to incorporate this superfood into your diet and doing so will do wonders for your health.