Almonds come from a tree that is part of the plum family. The trees are also native to West Asia, the Mediterranean and North Africa. The Latin version of the English word “Almond” is amygdalus, which translates to “tonsil plum.”As almonds were first cultivated in Greece by ancient Romans, they were commonly called almonds “Greek nuts.”
Technically speaking, almonds are actually a fruit.
When hanging on the tree, almond fruit looks like an elongated peach with a green husk and a gray tint. Once it matures, the almond shell is exposed when the husk splits open. California produces the most amounts of almonds in the world, and Spanish missionaries are widely credited for bringing them to the state.
Consuming as little as 12 almonds each day can help you add many essential nutrients to your diet. They are a rich source many nutrients such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin E. Almonds also provide significant amounts of fiber and protein which can help improve healthy muscle mass and GI tract functions. One serving of almonds alone contains 13 grams of unsaturated fats and a gram of saturated fat. When compared to all other edible tree nuts, they rank the top of the list in terms of fiber, calcium, protein, vitamin E, niacin and riboflavin by weight. Each serving provides 160 calories worth of life-giving energy.
Consuming at least one and a half ounces of nuts a day may reduce the chance of developing heart disease, according to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Almonds are packed with key nutrients that are essential for a healthy disease-free heart. For example, magnesium, being a mineral that almonds are abundant in, helps to protect against hypertension and heart attacks. Various clinical research studies have shown that almonds can assist in increasing good (HDL) cholesterol and decreasing bad (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood, which is crucial for heart health.
Almonds consist of many key ingredients that are beneficial for promoting healthy levels of weight. For example, the protein, fat and fiber in almonds can help you feel full longer which can decrease your chance of overindulging. Moreover, another way that almonds can help prevent overeating is by regulating blood sugar levels. Almonds can also lower the amount of calorie absorption of your body, which can help prevent weight-gain. As almonds are calorie-rich, you should eat no more than a 1 ounce serving, or 23 average-sized almonds.
Other Health Benefits:
Research as shown that almond contains fiber that can improve the health of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract, and may even prevent diabetes. The fiber in almonds consists of prebiotic properties, which are non-digestible food substances that can help remove bad bacteria and promote good bacteria in the gut. Research from the American Diabetes Association has found the almond-rich diets such as the Mediterranean diet, helps to prevent diabetes without the need of exercise, changes in caloric intake or weight-loss.