All About Almighty Almonds: History, Health Benefits & Ways to Enjoy
Written by Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN, LD
In this month’s ingredient profile, I’ll be spotlighting one of my favorite tree nuts: almonds!
Almonds are a delicious, nutritious powerhouse with much to love, both inside and out. An important ingredient in many of Munk Pack’s yummy snacks, read on to learn more about their history, proven health benefits, and different ways to incorporate them into your daily routine.
History of Almonds
Did you know that almonds have been around since 1400 BC? Ancient Greece and Rome were among the first civilizations to harvest and use almonds for their many health benefits. Almond trees were most common in the Mediterranean region and were eventually brought to California. Today, about 80 percent of the world’s supply of almonds is grown in sunny California!
Fun fact: In the botany world, the almond is a drupe and not a true nut, since it has an outer hull and a hard shell containing the seed.
6 Powerful Health Benefits of Almonds
Almonds are touted for their many health benefits — it’s easy to see why! Learn more about the various health claims around almonds and why you should consider adding more almonds to your diet.
1. Contains many essential nutrients
Almonds are truly a one-stop-shop when it comes to essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. One serving (30g or 23 whole almonds) of almonds contains the following nutrients:
- Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs): 10.3g (13% DV*)
- Dietary fiber: 3.3g (12% DV*)
- Protein: 6.13g (12% DV*)
- Vitamin E: 5.71mg (38% DV*)
- Magnesium: 77.5mg (18% DV*)
- Phosphorus: 137mg (11% DV*)
- Calcium: 82mg (6% DV*)
- Potassium: 205mg (4% DV*)
- Choline: 18.3mg (3% DV*)
- Folate: 10.5mcg (3% DV*)
*DV = Daily Value based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
2. They’re heart-healthy
Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fats, also known as MUFAs. MUFAs are healthy fats that help keep your “good” HDL cholesterol high and “bad” LDL cholesterol low.
A meta-analysis of various studies showed that consuming almonds may help reduce your overall risk of heart disease by lowering your body weight and improving your blood cholesterol.
3. May help regulate your blood glucose
In addition to being low in net carbs and higher in protein and fat content, studies show that almonds may help people who live with diabetes,prediabetes, or anyone looking to better manage their blood sugar levels.
One randomized controlled trial showed that eating almonds may help reduce the glycemic impact of foods that contain carbs, thus keeping blood glucose levels well-controlled over time.  Goodbye sugar and insulin spikes!
4. High in antioxidants
As we age our bodies naturally accumulate harmful free radicals, which can contribute to various chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Almonds are high in antioxidants that protect your cells against free radicals and protect against oxidative damage.  Much of these powerful antioxidants are concentrated in the outer skins of almonds.
5. May support your gut health through prebiotics
We’ve all heard of probiotics, but did you know that almonds have high prebiotic potential? Prebiotics are indigestible plant fibers that your gut bacteria can digest, thus promoting a healthy gut. Almond skins are rich in these fibers and may support your digestion.  If you eat almonds with the skin instead of blanched almonds, you may reap the benefits of their prebiotic effects.
6. Helps you stay full & energized
If you need some quick, on-the-go snacks that can fuel your adventures and help you stay full, almonds and almond-based products can help! A 4-week study found that adding 43g of almonds per day to diets helped reduce hunger in participants and did not increase the participants’ risk for weight gain despite the added calories. 
Since almonds are rich in fiber, healthy fats, and protein, you only need a handful to stay full. A Munk Pack Keto Nut & Seed Bar containing almonds would be an easy nutritious, better-for-you option to take with you on the road.
8 Fun Ways to Enjoy Almonds
Almonds are tasty standalone snacks to munch on throughout the day. As a registered dietitian, my favorites are unsalted or lightly salted almonds.
If you get bored of snacking on plain old almonds and want some other almond-fueled inspiration, here are some fun ways to enjoy them!
1. Sliced Almonds
Try adding unblanched, sliced almonds to smoothie bowls, baked goods, oatmeal, and cereal for a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.
2. Almond Butter
Almond butter is rich in healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins like whole almonds. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy almonds! Dietitian tip: Check the nutrition label and choose almond butter without too much salt (sodium) and added sugars.
3. Munk Pack Keto Granola Bars
With only 1g sugar and 2-3g net carbs, Munk Pack’s Keto Granola Bars list almonds as the first ingredient! My latest favorite is the Blueberry Almond Vanilla, which is covered in a delicious vanilla flavored drizzle on top – yum!. Dietitian tip: Keep one in your bag, purse, car, and anywhere else you can think of where you need a quick and low sugar snack!
4. Almond Flour
A fan-favorite for gluten-free, keto, and paleo recipes, almond flour is a protein-rich flour often used in place of all-purpose flour when baking.
5. Munk Pack Keto Nut & Seed Bars
If you’re looking for a sweet and salty almond-based snack, but don’t want the added sugar that comes with popular ‘healthy’ nut bars, give Munk Pack’s nut & seed keto bars a try. They contain 1g of sugar or less, 2-3 net carbs, and are good sources of protein and healthy fats!
6. Almond Milk
This nutritious plant-based milk is ideal for smoothies. Look for the unsweetened varieties that don’t contain added sugar.
7. Almond Milk Yogurt
With a creamy, thick texture and probiotics to support digestion, almond milk yogurt is a healthy, plant-based, and filling snack! Dietitian tip: Try adding toppings like vegan chocolate chips, berries, and crumbled Munk Pack Keto Granola Bars to your yogurt!
8. Unrefined Almond Oil
Rich in healthy fats and vitamin E, almond oil is a popular choice for cooking and applying on the skin. Be sure to choose unrefined varieties, which means that the almonds are not treated with heat and chemicals when pressed.
The Bottom Line
Almonds are tree nuts with a rich history of cultivation. They’re rich in vital nutrients to fuel our bodies while meeting our nutrient needs. Almonds are great snacks to enjoy as-is, but if you need some inspiration, there are plenty of better-for-you options that contain almonds!
What is your favorite way to enjoy almonds? Comment below and let me know!
|↑1||The History of Almonds – Global Almond Usage. Almonds.com. Accessed June 26, 2021.|
|↑2||Nutrients: Almonds, FDIC ID: 323294. United States Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central (usda.gov). Accessed June 27, 2021.|
|↑3||National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Skinny on Fat. Accessed June 26, 2021.|
|↑4||Lee-Bravatti MA, Wang J, Avendano EE, King L, Johnson EJ, Raman G. Almond Consumption and Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Adv Nutr. 2019 Nov 1;10(6):1076-1088.|
|↑5||Josse AR, Kendall CW, Augustin LS, Ellis PR, Jenkins DJ. Almonds and postprandial glycemia–a dose-response study. Metabolism. 2007 Mar;56(3):400-4.|
|↑6||Bolling BW, McKay DL, Blumberg JB. The phytochemical composition and antioxidant actions of tree nuts. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010;19(1):117-23.|
|↑7||Liu Z, Lin X, Huang G, Zhang W, Rao P, Ni L. Prebiotic effects of almonds and almond skins on intestinal microbiota in healthy adult humans. Anaerobe. 2014 Apr;26:1-6.|
|↑8||Tan SY, Mattes RD. Appetitive, dietary and health effects of almonds consumed with meals or as snacks: a randomized, controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Nov;67(11):1205-14.|