From North America to Asia to the Mediterranean, almonds are a nut grown all over the world. Besides their abundance, they are also a very nutritious snack. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to our health. They also contain phytonutrients, which are not only good for our health but also known to have the ability to prevent certain diseases. And of course almonds are not just eaten in the raw, but can be consumed in a number of ways – as a milk alternative, sandwich spread, and added to some of our favorite meals and recipes. Below I will briefly outline these benefits and uses. The hope is that you will make this wonderful nut part of your daily diet.
Vitamins & Minerals
Some of the vitamins and mineral that can be found in almonds include vitamin E and some B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, manganese, and magnesium. Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties, which can slow the aging process. Almonds also include thiamine (B1), which maintains the nervous system and improves the cardiovascular system; riboflavin (B2), a vitamin helpful in preventing migraines; and vitamin B-6, having a host of benefits ranging from supporting brain function to improving mood to protecting eye health, among other things.
Calcium can be found in high amounts in almonds, and is primarily valuable to bone health. Copper has many benefits, but is mostly known for making red blood cells and maintaining the nervous and immune systems. Iron is very important for transporting oxygen throughout the body via red blood cells. Phosphorous is essential daily in performing hundreds of cellular activities that the skeletal structure and vital organs rely on. There is a multitude of perks gained from potassium, including improving muscle strength, metabolism, and water balance. Zinc can help heal wounds, boost the immune system, and treat the common cold. Magnesium is helpful in increasing energy, while simultaneously calming nerves and anxiety and helping maintain a deeper sleep. Manganese has several purposes, but some key functions include supporting bone health, fighting diabetes, maintaining cognitive function, and helping with weight loss.
Almonds are loaded with phytonutrients. Unlike vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients are not essential for keeping you alive. However, when you do consume phytonutrients, they may help prevent disease (e.g., cancer, diabetes, heart disease) and keep your body working properly. I won’t go into too much detail as I did with the vitamins and minerals above. For those who would like to dig a bit deeper to learn more about the benefits of the particular phytonutrients found in almonds, I will provide a list of those most abundant. The seven primary phytonutrients found in almonds include beta-glucosides, isorhamnetin glucosides, kaempferol, catechin, protocatechuic acid, naringinen, and glucopyraniosides.
Variety of Ways to Consume
In addition to just eating almonds the traditional way, in the raw (or roasted, salted, etc.), one of the most popular ways almonds have been consumed is through almond milk. This has not only been a delicious beverage and milk alternative for vegans, but has also been a beverage of choice by many others wanting a healthier milk with their favorite cereal or dessert. Almond butter spread has also been on the rise. For folks who have been loyal to their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but want something new, or even those who have never been a fan of peanut butter, almond butter offers an alternative to the traditional way we have been making our sandwiches. There’s also the dairy-free version of ice cream, such as Almondmilk Frozen Desserts. In addition to these uses of almonds, there are still plenty of other ways almonds are eaten. Some of these include sprinkled over a salad, added to a favorite yogurt, mixed into morning oatmeal, blended into a delicious smoothie, and tossed into (or on top of) an edible dessert, and many more uses.
Not only are almonds good, but they are good for you. Whether you eat them in the raw, add them to your favorite meal, or enjoy them in the form of a beverage or dessert, you can’t beat the taste or the benefits. Eat up!