Almonds, though largely believed to be a nut, are actually botanically considered a stone fruit or a drupe, similar to cherries, peaches and plums. Almonds have been mentioned throughout history going as far back as the Bible, and were an important ingredient in breads made for Egyptian Pharaohs. Native to the Middle East, India and North Africa, almonds are more than a delicious snack; they’re used as a component in many different dishes, as well as in milk, flour, butter, and oil.
Almonds are full of health benefits. They contain biotin, vitamin E, manganese, copper, vitamin B2, phosphorus, fiber and more. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats and have been associated with a reduction in risk of heart disease. Research has found that they promote healthy blood vessels, reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow. Almonds also help maintain healthy hair, skin and teeth, and they contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, which have been shown to increase brain activity.
Almonds are rich in tryptophan and magnesium, so they are a natural muscle relaxer. And, the protein in almonds will help keep you fuller for longer, so you won’t wake up hungry. Almonds also help regulate sugar levels in the blood, which aids the body in getting a more restful sleep.
To add more to your diet, you can include them in your breakfast, as a side dish or sliced and sprinkled over the top of oatmeal or yoghurt. For lunch, you can chop them up and toss them with a salad, and replacing your milk and butter with almond varieties will up your intake even further. You can eat a handful before bed, either plain or mixed with dried cherries and coconut flakes.