Almonds have a variety of health benefits. New research indicates they may have a role in preventing colon cancer. Check out Almonds Are In to read specific research.
Almonds are the most nutrtionally dense nut whether compared calorie per calorie or ounce per ounce. 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. Almonds contain 66% monounsaturated fat (the kind that helps reduce "bad" LDL 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’ heart-healthy monounsaturated fat as being very satiating, helping satisfy the appetite and prevent patients from overeating.
Selenium, which is found in almonds and certain other nuts, as well as meats, fish, and cereals, was shown to be especially protective for smokers.
Buy California Grown
California almond growers produce 100% of our domestic supply of almonds and 75% of the world production. Almonds are harvested in September and October and are available throughout the year. Almonds were originally brought to California by the Spain. Learn More with the Almond Commodity Fact Sheet.
Almonds are grown in the 500 mile span of California's central valley. Almonds require a specific winter chilling and frost is a risk. The specific climate requirements limits production to a few regions in the world.
In the United States
In the World
Spain, Italy, Australia, Greece, Morocco, Turkey and Portugal
From November to early February, buds are already on the trees, but need a period of cold weather. The crop is at risk with heavy frost. In late February and early March the buds on the trees burst into bloom in preparation for pollination. The weather and variety influence the bloom time. This phase of the lifecycle influences the size of the crop that will ultimately be harvested.
Step 2: Pollination
Bees are brought to the orchard to carry pollen between alternating rows of almond varieties. Bees need warm, sunny and calm conditions for optimal pollination. Stormy, cold weather during the bloom stage can limit bee flight and reduce the size of the crop.
Step 3: Maturing & Hull Split
March through June the nuts mature in the almond hull. In July and August, the hull begins to split open exposing the almond shell, allowing it to dry. As the season progresses, the split continues to widen and the hull becomes tough and leathery, although still adhering to the shell.
Step 4: Harvest & Processing
Almonds are harvested in late August through October. Mechanical tree "shakers" vigorously shake the almonds to the ground. The almonds, which are still inside their shell and hull, dry naturally for 8-10 days in the orchard before they are swept into rows and picked up by machine. This drying period is critical for the almonds. Almonds are transported to the huller/sheller where kernels pass over a roller to remove the hull and shell as well as any remaining foreign material or debris. The hulls are used to feed dairy cattle while the shells are used as a bedding for livestock.
See the "Lifecycle of Almonds" presented by the Almond Board of California. www.almondboard.com