Here’s an interesting fact: The most popular nut in America isn’t even a nut at all, it’s a drupe. Nonetheless, almonds have been increasing in popularity over the past decade or so — demand has grown 220% since 2005 — and with good reason. From an article that quotes a registered dietitian with the Almond Board of California: “Almonds have been studied extensively for their benefits on heart health, diabetes, and weight management…. The unique nutrient combination of almonds — plant-based protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats, plus key nutrients like vitamin E and magnesium — help make them a heart-healthy snack.” True, almonds are high in fat, but two thirds of it is monounsaturated fat, which is heart-healthy.

While snacking on almonds instead of picking at other, less healthy foods has many well known and well documented benefits, probably their best known quality is that they are good for your heart. Studies suggest that eating nuts rather than an equivalent amount of carbs or other refined foods can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30%. That is certainly not an insignificant number. Almonds are also a good source of potassium, which is also essential for heart health.

With all the health benefits associated with almonds, one would do well to replace other snacks with them. Keep them in the car, or by your desk at work, rather than a bag of chips or a candy bar. While this alone is clearly not going to be the sole component of a healthy lifestyle and a healthy heart, all of the research suggests that it can be a key aspect of a good diet.

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