Almonds in uneven numbers of three, five or seven are considered tokens of good fortune and happiness for christenings, weddings and religious ceremonies.
- Almonds are the most widely-grown and eaten tree nut.
- Almonds are nutritionally dense: a quality emphasized in the government’s Dietary Guidelines. Independent analyses show that almonds are the most nutritionally dense nut, whether compared calorie per calorie or ounce per ounce. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 encourage Americans to choose nutritionally dense foods, that is, to get the most nutrition possible out of the calories you eat. A one-ounce, 160-calorie serving of almonds, or about a handful, is an excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium, and a good source of fiber. It also offers heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, protein, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and iron.
- Eating a daily handful of almonds a day may lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. In a clinical trial published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, men and women who ate one daily ounce of almonds for a month lowered their LDL cholesterol by 4.4 percent. Those who ate two daily ounces of almonds lowered their LDL cholesterol even more by 9.4 percent and maintained their weight.
- Eating almonds may help maintain or even lose weight. A 2003 study in the International Journal of Obesity found that adding a daily ration of almonds to a low-calorie diet enhanced weight loss, as well as significantly improved risk factors associated with heart disease, when compared to a low-fat, low-calorie diet. Researchers cited almonds as heart-healthy monounsaturated fat as being very satiating, helping satisfy the appetite and prevent patients from overeating.
Almonds in California Almonds Photo Almonds are California’s largest tree nut crop in total dollar value and acreage. They rank as the largest U.S. horticultural export. Approximately 6,000 almond growers produce nearly 100 percent of the commercial domestic supply and more than 80 percent of worldwide production. Nearly 80 countries import California almonds. The United States is by far the largest market for almonds, overseas, Spain is the largest market for almonds. Other major importers include Germany, The Netherlands, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, India, China and Spain. The Pacific Rim nations are a rapidly growing market for California almonds.