Almonds are related to stone fruits such as cherries, peaches, apricots, and plums.

Almonds strongly resemble the kernels inside peach and nectarine pits.

Eating a handful of almonds a day is a simple choice that makes a tasty and healthy difference. Low in saturated fat and high in vitamin E, almonds are one snack you can literally take to heart. Research shows that eating an ounce of almonds (about 23) a day in place of foods higher in saturated fat can help you maintain a healthy cholesterollevel. Plus, they’re a great source of protein and fiber. One once of almonds provides the following.

  • 35 percent daily value of vitamin E
  • 20 percent daily value of magnesium
  • 6 grams of protein
  • 3 grams of fiber

Heart Smart, Nutrient Rich Almonds

Almonds are extremely nutrient-rich; a handful (one-ounce or about 23 almonds) is an excellent source of vitamin E. While all nuts are valued for the vitamin E content, none has close to the amount – nearly 40 percent of the Daily Value – that almonds do.

Almonds are also rich in protein (6 grams per ounce), as well as magnesium and manganese, two minerals that can be hard to come by, and area good source of copper, fiber and the B vitamin riboflavin. Now that’s a lot of nutrients for such a small package.

Nine clinical studies have shown that almonds can lower cholesterol as part of a diet low in saturated fat. These clinical trials were an integral part of the data submitted to the FDA for the first authorized qualified health claim: “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.” And, because people love to eat almonds, almonds are an ideal way for cholesterol-conscious people to maintain healthy numbers. Of the 14 grams of fat found in one ounce of almonds, nine grams are monounsaturated. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that the majority of fat intake be monounsaturated.

Almonds Aid Detox

Almonds are high in fiber, calcium, and usable protein and help stabilize blood sugar when under-going detoxification.

Pinch an Inch

Dieter’s who nibbled on 3 ounces of almonds (about 70) every day lost seven inches from their waists, compared with five inches in the non-almond-eating crowd, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity.

More Almond Wisdom

Biblical. “And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds…” –Numbers 17:8

Satisfying. Almonds may help to suppress your appetite (Hollis and Mattes, 2007). This makes almonds a good fit with many popular weight loss programs. Protein, fiber and monounsaturated fat found in foods, such as almonds, help to make meals more satisfying. Further, almonds offer great taste and crunch.

Source of calcium. There is as much calcium in an ounce of almonds as in a quarter cup of milk.

Antioxidant Source. Almonds are one of the leading food sources of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E. Alpha-tocopherol is the kind of vitamin E the human body absorbs best. Data shows that most Americans get only half of their recommended vitamin E per day and almonds are an ideal way to close that gap.

Edible Energizer. One-half cup of almonds is packed with magnesium, which helps convert sugar into energy. Protein and fiber provide sustained energy without a crash.

Blanching Almonds

In a small non-metal bowl, microwave 1-cup water, uncovered, on 100-percent power for two to three minutes or until boiling. Add 1/2-cup almonds to water. Microwave, uncovered, on 100-percent power for 1-1/2 minutes. Drain, rinse almonds with cold water. Slip off skins.

To remove the skin of almonds easily, soak them in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes.

Almonds — a tasty way to also get calcium, iron and other important nutrients.

Orange-Rosemary Almonds Recipe

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place 1 pound raw almonds on sheet pan. Toss with 4 teaspoons safflower oil and roast 8 minutes. Mix 4 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne and a pinch of sugar in large bowl. Add almonds and toss to coat. Store in airtight container.

Almond Double Crunch Nachos Recipe

  • 6 pita bread rounds (1 pkg.)
  • 1-1/2 cups grated Pepper Jack or
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 cup bottled salsa, or as needed

Cut each pita bread open to make 2 circles. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Spread in single layer on 2 baking sheets. Toast under broiler, turning to toast both sides of chips, approximately 1 minute per side. Transfer all chips to 1 baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with cheese, olives, onions and almonds. Broil 2 minutes, or until cheese melts. Serve with a bowl of salsa.

Nutrition: This recipe offers fiber and magnesium.

Nutritional information per serving (4 to 5 depending on size dipped in salsa): 242 calories, 12g fat (saturated 4.6), 23g carbohydrates, 11g protein, 19mg cholesterol, 3g fiber, 565mg sodium, 207mg potassium, 2.7mg vitamin E

Almond Butter Recipe

The peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a big favorite. For a different take on PB and J, try almond butter. This creamy, delicious spread is just one of the many ways that you can enjoy the healthy benefits of almonds.

  • 2 cups blanched almonds, whole or silvered
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. On an ungreased cookie sheet, roast the nuts about 20 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Let cool and transfer to a blender or food processor. For a chunkier spread, coarsely chop 1/3 cup nuts and set aside.

Add the oil and salt and blend until creamy, working in batches if necessary. If chopped nuts were set aside, stir them in. Transfer to a covered container. Will keep 1 month tightly covered and refrigerated. Yield: 1 cup.

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