Almonds: A Food From Antiquity
Almonds are one of the earliest cultivated foods in existence. They were popular with the Ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as being traded on the ancient silk road to places such as China and Turkey. And as long as you don't suffer from any allergies to tree nuts, there are many benefits to almonds as a dietary staple.
First of all, almonds are nutritionally dense: they are filled with Vitamin E, magnesium, and high-quality proteins, most of which are amino acids. These amino acids include leucine, lysine, and tryptophan. They are also a great source of B vitamins, dietary fiber, and monounsaturated fats.
Eating just a handful of almonds every day as a snack can be enough to lower your LDL cholesterol, which will help to prevent heart disease. Beneficial almonds also can help to lower your risk for some forms of cancer. Not to mention almonds will also improve your complexion. This is why the oil from almonds is popular as a massage emolient to help lubricate the skin.
Those with gluten allergies don't need to worry about consuming almonds, though: these guys are gluten-free and a great alternative to wheat. And almond milk is a great alternative to dairy milk for those with lactose intolerance, as almonds are naturally rich in potassium and calcium.
Always Available Almonds
The Perfect Snack
If you travel a lot, either by car or by plane, you probably know how hard it can be to find a healthy snack at a gas station or airport convenience store. The racks and refrigerators are generally filled with junk food, high fructose corn syrup, and aisle after aisle of candy bars and soda. These are all items that alright to eat sparingly, but using them as a meal replacement? Blegh! It seems like these places never have any options for a health-conscious traveler.
These are the times when I'm most thankful to see almonds and other nuts as an option for purchase. Of course, mixed in with all the other snacks, the healthy alternative can sometimes be difficult to pick out. Not to mention that a lot of trail mixes and nut assortments at the gas station are going to be heavily salted and sugared most of the time. That's why it's important to pick out the almonds that are unsalted and unsweetened whenever possible. You may think a handful of sugar-roasted almonds tastes delicious, but a whole bag of them will probably leave you feeling queasy (they do for me anyway). Plain old almonds are great choice when there's not a lot of choices available, and should tide you over until you can get to some real food choices.