Feeling Nutty

From crunchy crackers to creamy butters, nutrient-packed almonds are a healthy snacker's delight.

Satisfying snack, versatile ingredient, nutritional powerhouse: Almonds are a go-to food. Studies have repeatedly shown that almonds—used in cuisines around the world—improve heart health and lower the risk of coronary heart disease, thanks to their high monounsaturated fat content. Almonds are packed with key nutrients like vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants, and their protein content makes them a boon to vegetarians and vegans. As the health benefits of almonds have become more widely known, almond consumption has skyrocketed, and you can now find them in more and more places on grocery store shelves. In fact, almonds were in nearly a third of all new products launched worldwide last year.

Whether you prefer plain almonds or one of the many toasted, flavored varieties like tamari or vanilla bean, whole almonds will fuel you for a long meeting or a demanding yoga practice. Sprinkle chopped nuts over your morning yogurt or muesli, or spread almond butter, widely available in natural-food markets and other grocery stores, over whole grain toast. Mildly flavored almond oil is a favorite for dressing salads. And the nuts are ideal for baking: Ground almond meal adds a nutritional boost and a nutty flavor to your favorite muffins, breads, and cookies.