The Almond– Protector of Humanity?

Highlights:

  • Almonds make for a hearth healthy diet and also aid in sustaining weight
  • The nut is harvested in late summer
  • Almonds may keep you from catching the common cold and the flu

Almonds-- by Danielle Keller (Public Domain)
Almonds– by Danielle Keller (Public Domain)

For as long as I can remember, my family has always had almonds in the pantry. The other day, when I asked my mom why this was, she replied:

“Studies show that people who eat a handful of almonds have more success sustaining weight. They are high in vitamin E, and are a heart healthy food. Those things are important to your dad and he’d rather eat real food as opposed to capsules.”—Lee Grayson

My dad followed my mom up by saying:

“Almonds are supposed to help with blood pressure and cholesterol, which men my age tend to have a problem with”—Kevin Grayson (in his mid 50s)

He also said that the Almond Board of California recommends that people eat about a can of almonds a week (or about a handful a day). The Almond Board gives a few ways to measure this, such as:

  • Pouring almonds into a shot glass
  • Measuring ¼ of a cup of almonds
  • Using an ice cream scoop
  • Filling a baby food jar
  • Laying the almonds flat on a three inch by three inch sticky note
  • And even using special tins that the Almond Board sells for almonds

You might be thinking, “That’s all great, but how do the almonds make it into my cute little almond tin?”

Almond Blossoms-- by Roy Fokker (Public Domain)
Almond Blossoms– by Roy Fokker (Public Domain)

Well, in the fall, flower buds begin to form on the trees. Then the process occurs as follows:

  • The warmer weather of January, following the cold weather of December, bring out the blossoms from the buds
  • Two different types of trees are necessary for pollination
  • Special care must be taken to make sure the orchards do not freeze at this point
  • After the petals of the flowers drop, the fruit is exposed, and the fruit dries on the tree until late summer
  • Orchard floors are cleaned and the almonds are shaken from the trees
  • The almonds are taken to processing plants where they are inspected and graded before packaging and selling
  • If stored properly, the almonds will have a shelf life of up to three years

Almonds have been in the news lately, as studies are showing that consuming this nut might prevent the common cold and flu. The skin of almonds made white blood cells better able to detect viruses in the body. Even after the almond is digested, the increase in the immune system’s defense remains.

Clearly, almonds are quickly gaining recognition as somewhat of a “super fruit”. So we should start seeing more consumers like Anna Consani, who consume almonds on a daily basis for their health benefits.

“I eat almonds because they keep you feeling full. They are also a good source of healthy fats and are good for your heart!”—Anna Consani (a political science sophomore at Cal Poly)

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