What are nonpareil almonds, and why do they matter? This post is the ultimate guide to all things almonds related! From understanding different types of almonds to how to eat almonds daily to how almonds grow, we’ve got the answers. You’ll soon have a full understanding of “nonpareil,” as well as the health benefits of almonds.
We’ll also explore healthy almond pasteurization methods versus harmful ones. It’s still hard to believe the kind of chemicals most popular foods come in contact with on a regular basis!
Which is exactly why you need to arm yourself with knowledge in order to avoid toxic foods disguised as “health foods!
Almonds Health Benefits: Overview
- Are Almonds Nuts?
- The Nutritional Benefits of 1 Cup of Almonds
- 9 Ways Almonds Will Make You Healthier
+ The Benefits of Almonds During Pregnancy
- The History of Almonds
- Almond Milk vs Butter vs Oil: Benefits of Each
- What Types of Almonds Are in Mu Mu Muesli?
- Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Clean Eating Meal Plan?
But First, Are Almonds Nuts?
Did you know that almonds are technically not nuts? They actually belong to the “drupe” family. In the world of botany, a drupe is an indehiscent fruit consisting of a fleshy exterior “skin” with a mesocarp, or “flesh” underneath. These layers surround and protect the innermost shell, or pit.
Inside the shell lies the seed. Almonds are the seeds produced by the Prunus dulcis, which is the Latin name for almond tree. Some additional examples of flowering plants or trees that grow drupes include dates and coconuts.
How to Eat Almonds Everyday
Almonds are quite versatile. You can eat them raw, toasted, and slivered. Additionally, many people like to use them for homemade almond milk, almond flour, or marzipan.
Here are a few more ways to enjoy eating almonds everyday:
- Many people enjoy almonds as part of the most delicious brand of muesli breakfast cereal in the United States – Mu Mu Muesli. Yum!
- Almonds also make great smoothie bowl toppings. The protein helps balance out all of the sugars from the fruit, which satisfies you longer and leads to the healthiest smoothie bowl possible.
- Top your pancakes with plant-based whipped cream and almonds for a cream, crunchy blend.
The Nutritional Composition of 1 Cup of Almonds
The “Why” Behind the Benefits of Almonds
First, let’s cover the basic nutritional profile of almonds. They definitely have a brag-worthy amount of essential nutrients, making them one of the healthiest raw foods available today. Some of the amazing nutrients found in almonds include:
- Vitamin E
- Healthy fats
One quarter cup of almonds provides you with 40% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin E, which is no small feat!
Next, let’s take a closer look by examining the nutrition facts for 1 cup (143 grams) of almonds:
- 17.9 grams of dietary fiber
- 30.24 grams of protein
- 71.40 grams of healthy, unsaturated fat
- 30.82 grams of carbohydrates
- 827 calories
Don’t let the high number of calories scare you away! Interestingly, the calories in almonds don’t mean as much they would coming from other foods.
This is because your body is physically incapable of absorbing about 15% of the calories in almonds. In other words, your body’s natural digestive enzymes just don’t have what it takes to digest all the calories in almonds.
And finally, a tidbit for those of you who follow low-carb diets: almonds are naturally low in carbs!
The 9 Surprising Health Benefits of Almonds
1. Almonds Promote Weight Loss
This is a truth that shocks a lot of people at first, until they understand that our bodies simply aren’t made to absorb all of the calories from almonds. Additionally, there are multiple research-backed studies showing a favorable connection between weight loss and eating almonds.
Yes, almonds are highly caloric foods. However, your body doesn’t absorb all of their fat, and multiple studies have linked almonds to successful weight loss!
For example, consider these most recent studies:
1. The first study found that almonds were a helpful part of a weight reduction program. In order to do so, the researchers compared two groups. One group consumed complex carbohydrates daily, while the other snacked on 3 ounces of almonds daily.
The results were a stark contrast: the participants who ate almonds everyday lost significantly more weight, presented with lower BMIs, and had smaller waist measurements than at the beginning of the study.
2. According to a another study published by the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating almonds might actually speed up your metabolism, helping you naturally shed unwanted pounds with ease.
3. Still not convinced? Consider the following study of 100 overweight women.
The women who regularly ate almonds shed more pounds than the nut-free control group. Additionally, women who ate almonds regularly showed better overall signs of physical wellness!
2. Almonds Reduce Your Risk of Disease & Premature Aging
In addition to helping regulate weight, the benefits of almonds include reducing your risk of disease. Oxidative stress occurs when there are uneven levels of cancer -fighting antioxidants and disease-causing free radicals in your body, and this can cause premature ageing and some rather serious diseases, like cancer or stroke.
However, almonds are here to help!
Since almonds are full of antioxidants, they help fend off premature aging, heart disease, and diabetes. Interestingly, one study suggests that daily consumption of almonds may actually reverse damage from oxidative stress.
Notably, most of the antioxidants in almonds are found in their outer layer of brown skin. Therefore, blanching almonds (removing the skin) dramatically reduces the amount of nutrients you’re taking in.
3. Almonds Use Magnesium to Help Fight Type II Diabetes
Magnesium is an especially important nutrient; it’s an integral component in over 300 bodily functions! This valuable nutrient helps your body maintain proper blood sugar levels.
Currently, the recommended daily intake of magnesium for adults is 310-420mg. Just two ounces of almonds provide your body with 150mg of magnesium. Not too shabby, considering that this is almost half of the daily recommended intake!
Roughly one third of people with Type 2 diabetes are deficient in magnesium.
Luckily, changing your diet to include magnesium-rich foods is very effective at stabilizing blood sugar levels and improving insulin function.
Even people who don’t have diabetes observe less insulin resistance when they supplement their diets with magnesium.
Given all of this data, a reasonable conclusion to draw is that foods high in magnesium may help reverse Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.
4. Almonds Help Lower Blood Pressure
Magnesium deficiency is linked closely with high blood pressure, which can lead to serious complications like kidney failure, heart disease, or stroke. However, like many conditions, these ailments are reversible through nutrition. In this case, lowering your blood pressure means eating foods rich in magnesium, like almonds.
5. Struggling with High Cholesterol? Almonds Can Help!
You’re most likely aware of LDL Cholesterol, or the “bad” cholesterol that can clog your arteries and cause heart attacks. I find it comforting to know that clean nutrition can naturally lower bad cholesterol. In addition to some other whole foods, almonds are some of the best clean foods to eat to lower your LDL levels.
Take a look at the following studies, because their findings are impressive!
Researchers conducting each one of these professional, scientific studies discovered that people who ate almonds on a daily basis successfully lowered their “bad” cholesterol levels while maintaining their “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
Almonds and Cholesterol: Study #1
The first study examined nearly 70 individuals with pre-diabetes. For 16 weeks, these people ate a diet in which 20% of their calories came from almonds. At the end of the study, researchers found that the almond consumption caused LDL cholesterol levels to drop at an average rate of 12.4 mg/dL per day.
Almonds and Cholesterol: Study #2
Another group of researchers discovered that consuming 1.5 ounces of almonds on a daily basis reduced LDL cholesterol by 5.3 mg/dL. As an added bonus, participants also observed a noticeable reduction in belly fat!
6. Beat Chronic Fatigue with Fresh, Raw Almonds
Another one of the major benefits of almonds is that they can increase your energy level. It’s very common to experience unwanted fatigue, and it can get annoying when you don’t know how to fix it. If you’re exercising and getting enough sleep, the culprit could be your diet. In this case, you should make a point of only eating foods that provide sustainable energy.
Mu Mu Muesli is a good example of such a food, since it keeps you feeling full for several hours.
The manganese and copper in almonds are essential for helping your body maintain comfortable energy levels. Almonds also contain riboflavin, a type of B Vitamin that helps you feel more lively.
7. There Are Multiple Almonds Benefits for Brain Health
It’s time to add almonds to your Best Foods for Brain Health list! Here’s a quick breakdown of the ways almonds’ nutrients improve your mental health:
- First of all, Vitamin E is one of the best vitamins for brain health. This is because it helps prevent the slow deterioration of your brain cells by counteracting oxidative stress.
- According to a study published in Nutrients, Vitamin E promotes enhanced cognition and diminishes the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Magnesium is also important for brain health. Deficiencies may diminish the brain’s ability to concentrate and relax. Furthermore, low levels of magnesium are linked to depression and anxiety. What better way to correct this than working almonds and other magnesium-rich foods into your regular meal planning? For inspiration, check out this eye-opening study entitled Rapid Recovery from Major Depression Using Magnesium Treatment.
8. Almonds Are Great for Your Skin & Hair
The eighth almond health benefit that I want to mention is that almonds are great for your skin and hair! Your diet is truly just as important as the products you use when it comes to skincare. The Vitamin E and other antioxidants in almonds help reduce free radical damage from both pollution in the air and sun damage.
What does this mean for your skin? Less wrinkles and fine lines and a more youthful, glowing complexion! These nutrients also promote shinier, fuller, healthier hair.
Almonds also contain more building blocks of healthy skin and hair: protein, healthy fats, and magnesium.
The protein encourages protein synthesis in your skin cells, while the healthy fats help give your skin a natural sheen.
And since low magnesium levels are linked with stress, it should come as no surprise that a diet rich in magnesium helps combat acne, premature aging, and other ways stress shows up in your complexion.
9. Almonds Health Benefits Are Extremely Helpful for Pregnant Women
Just like eating dates can help ensure a smoother labor and delivery, almonds also have great benefits for pregnant women.
Overall, there are 8 key ingredients in almonds that promote an easier pregnancy:
- Dietary Fiber
- Vitamin E
In order to understand why these nutrients are so essential for pregnant women, check out the list below.
Are you interested in learning more ways almonds can promote a better pregnancy? Check out the 9 Life Changing Benefits of Dates!
1. Folate Encourages a Healthier Pregnancy
Simply put, the folate content of almonds encourages a healthier pregnancy. Folate is simple a type of B Vitamin that helps change carbs into natural energy, assists in the formation of new white blood cells in your bone marrow, and it also helps your body produce more RNA and DNA.
As you can see, folate helps regulate certain bodily processes that help facilitate growth. Now, when the body is growing more rapidly than usual, it can easily become deficient in zinc. Examples of “faster growing times” include pregnant women, teenagers, and infants.
2. Almonds are Rich in Protein
Ah, almonds truly are superfoods! Since they are strong vegan sources of protein, they fit into most diets. And this is excellent news for expecting mothers.
During pregnancy, women requires more protein than normal. This is because it promotes a healthy birth weight for the baby. Additionally, healthy protein from whole foods gives a huge boost to the baby’s growing muscle mass.
3. Magnesium-Rich Foods Are Good for Mama
This is because magnesium supports proper bowel movements and a healthy central nervous system. Both of these will help mom feel much more comfortable during her pregnancy and delivery.
The History of Almonds
Almonds have been around for a long, long time. In fact, the first recorded mention of almonds occurred around 1400 BC, in the Bible. Evidence of domesticated almond trees have been found in Jordan dating back as far as 3000-2000 BC.
Here is a brief timeline of almonds, as adapted from Almonds.com:
- 1400 BC: The Bible first references a rod that blossomed into an almond tree.
- 100 AD: Romans began to use almonds as wedding gifts for newlyweds; almonds were thought of as “fertility charms.”
- 600-900 AD: Almond trees grew with a vengeance in Israel, Spain, Morocco, and Greece. The almonds piqued the interest of explorers passing through the Silk Road to China.
- 1700S AD: Franciscan monks transported almond trees from Spain to California. However, it took an entire century before these trees actually started flourishing in a strange new climate.
- 1900 AD: By now, the almond industry in California was going strong. Farmers started crossbreeding, which created the wide variety of almonds we’re accustomed to today.
- 2000 AD: The production of almond trees in California has grown like crazy in the past few decades. In fact, the number of almond trees is four times bigger than it was 30 years ago.
- Today: Interestingly, almonds are the United State’s largest specialty crop export. What a turnaround!
Different Types of Almonds:
What Are Blanched Almonds?
Blanching an almond involves removing its exterior skin, or gently whisking away the rougher outer layer. This results in a smoother texture that’s easier to bake or cook with. You can buy pre-blanched almonds at the store, or you can blanch them yourself at home. This is a simple process; simply drop the almonds in boiling hot water for a couple of minutes. Then, drain the almonds in cold water and easily slide the outer skin off with your finger.
Blanched Almonds vs Raw Almonds
If you’re devoted to following the healthiest possible diet, then it makes sense that you’re wondering whether blanched almonds or raw almonds are the healthiest. In truth, there are pros and cons to both types of almonds.
Blanched almonds are easier to use in recipes and often deliver a more consistent finished food product. However, the skin on raw almonds contains important nutrients that blanched almonds lack.
The flip side of this is that, according to Breaking the Vicious Cycle, the fibrous skin on “unblanched” almonds can irritate sensitive stomachs.
What Other Ways Do People Eat Almonds?
In addition to the different types of almonds listed above, here are four more variations to be aware of:
- Continental Almonds are simply chocolate covered almonds. Yum!
- Green Almonds are soft, tart, delicate almonds that work best in cooking projects.
- Ground Almonds are essential ingredients in almond flour or almond meal.
- Honey Glazed Almonds are homemade with honey and spices.
If you’re looking for a good clean eating snack, search Pinterest for “Honey Glazed Almond Recipes” …You’ll find plenty!
What Are the Most Popular Types of Almonds?
In California, there are three overarching types of almonds: California, Mission, and Nonpareil.
What Are California Almonds?
“California” is a blanket term that covers many different types of almonds. For example, well-known California almonds include the Carmel, Monterey and Sonora almonds. This type of almond possesses a thicker exterior, but it is still easy to blanch.
What Are Mission Almonds?
“Mission” almonds have incredibly sturdy exteriors that are hard to break. Interestingly, once you do manage to break through the tough exterior, the seed inside is smaller than the seeds in both the California and Nonpareil almonds. Mission almonds stand apart in their appearance due to their wrinkly, dark skin. Understandably, they are rarely blanched, since their skin is so hard to remove.
What Are Nonpareil Almonds?
“Nonpareil” almonds are the smoothest, most attractive type of almonds, and they are what we use in our special vegan, organic muesli mix.
Nonpareil almonds are the quintessential California variety of almond. These tasty drupes have shells that are easy to remove, making blanching very easy. Furthermore, they tend to mature early and are long and thick in size, with delicate, pale skin and shells.
Nonpareil almonds are fabulous table snacks, and they are perfect for using as an ingredient in a manufactured food product.
Do Almonds Go Bad?
Yes, almonds go bad eventually. But they can last up to 2 years if you treat them properly. The secret? It’s all about how you store them.
Since the fatty acids in almonds turn sour when they oxidize, it’s essential to store them in a well-sealed container. It’s best to keep them away from heat, light, and air.
Whether or not you’ve cut your almonds into smaller pieces or left them whole also plays a role. Intact almonds tend to last longer.
Are Almonds Tree Nuts?
Yes, almonds are tree nuts. This is something to file away in your mind if you know anyone with allergies to tree nuts!
Almonds Health Benefits:
Milk vs Butter vs Oil
In general, people like to be creative with almonds! They make almond flour, non-dairy milk, vegan butter, plant-based oil, and delicious almond pies. Let’s dig a little deeper below as we examine the health benefits of almond milk, butter, and oil.
Almonds Milk Benefits
Almond milk is particularly beneficial because of the pH of almonds. To understand pH, remember that your body is always keeping opposing things in balance. For example, this includes stabilizing pH levels, or alkalinity vs acidity. Almond milk helps your body form more alkaline. In other words, this nutty plant-based beverage may:
- Reduce symptoms of acid reflux, gout, or heartburn
- May promote more enhanced muscle mass
But the benefits of almond milk go beyond their pH.
To summarize, here are 3 almond milk benefits:
1. Almond milk is also a rich source of Vitamin E. In fact, 1 ounce gives you more than 37% of your daily recommended intake for Vitamin E! Your body needs this valuable vitamin, since it’s a potent antioxidant that eases stress and inflammation in your body. Vitamin E is also one of the best vitamins for brain health and may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
2. Since almond milk is low in calories, it’s great for any clean eating meal plan with the goal of losing extra weight.
2. Additionally, almond milk is an excellent dairy-substitution. This is perfect for anyone who is lactose intolerant. It is also a must on any Vegan Grocery Shopping List!
Almond Oil Benefits
Almond oil is rich in Vitamin E, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as Vitamin K. Overall, however, almond oil’s secret weapon is its healthy fats.
These healthy fats lead to a host of benefits, including:
- One of the many almond oil benefits is a reduced risk for problems like heart disease, since it helps reduce “bad” cholesterol. According to one reputable study, consuming plenty of almond oil lowered bad cholesterol while increasing “good” cholesterol by over 5%!
- Another benefit of the healthy fats in almond oil is their effect on reducing blood pressure in individuals suffering from diabetes.
- My third favorite benefit of almond oil is that the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats help with weight loss! In fact, it may even help reverse obesity and excess belly fat.
Almond Butter Benefits
Like almond milk and oil, almond butter is a great vegan substitution for cow butter. Comparatively, it is much healthier for you!
Substituting almond butter for processed, sweetened peanut butter gives you the following health advantages:
- The first obvious almond butter benefit is its nutritional value. It has many of the same health benefits of raw almonds. In other words, it is full of dietary fiber, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals. But the great thing about almond butter is its versatility! You can use it to thicken breakfast smoothie recipes, slather it across homemade muesli bread, and even use it as a smoothie bowl topping.
- Comparatively, almond butter is slightly healthier than peanut butter. This is because it contains less saturated fat than peanut butter. Additionally, it can boast of more “healthy” unsaturated fats and more fiber.
What Types of Almonds Are in Mu Mu Muesli?
Mu Mu Muesli uses Nonpareil Supreme Almonds that have gone through a safe steam pasteurization process.
In order for the “Supreme” part of the name to make sense, it’s important to know that almonds are organized into four different grades, or quality levels. The almonds are judged by the presence of any chips and scratches, broken almonds, and the presence of any foreign materials.
Nonpareil Supreme Almonds are one of the highest grade almonds on the market. In order to make it into this grade, the almonds must:
- Possess lower than 10% scratches or chips
- Less than $0.05 foreign material present
- Less than 1% split or broken almonds
Why Does Mu Mu Muesli Use Steam Pasteurized Almonds? (Maximizing the Natural Benefits of Almonds)
Interestingly, California almonds are the only seed, nut, or fruit that are required by law to undergo a pasteurization process. This law was caused by a few salmonella outbreaks back in the early 2000’s. In order to prevent future breakouts, the Almond Board of California issued a law requiring all California almonds to be pasteurized. (This became known as the “almond rule.”)
Overall, there are two ways to pasteurize almonds: one method is to fumigate the almonds by spraying them with a chalmemical known as propylene oxide. The other method is to use steam to cleanse the almonds.
At Mu Mu Muesli, we use steam pasteurized almonds 100% of the time. This is because we are dedicated to making sure that our customers only come into contact with the purest, safest foods. We have zero tolerance for chemicals like propylene oxide or glyphosate.
As defined by Almond Lane, steam pasteurization is “a flash heating process using natural water steam that kills bacteria.” After steam exposure, the almonds go through a hot dehydration tunnel, which gets rid of any residual moisture from the steam.
In contrast, the propylene oxide used to pasteurize almonds in the “spray method” contains harmful trace ingredients that can potentially cause respiratory disease, skin irritation, and cognitive issues in consumers. Wee are committed to never using this harmful pasteurization method.
Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Clean Eating Lifestyle?
The Health Benefits of Almonds and Beyond!
I can tell you one thing: After learning about the health benefits of almonds, I’ve definitely added steam pasteurized almonds to my weekly vegan shopping list! Almonds are excellent whole foods with too many health benefits to pass up. Just like coconut, hemp seeds, and organic dates.
How about you? What’s your favorite whole food? Your comments are always welcome!