We like to think of Qnola as much more than just a breakfast granola - we see wellness as an all-encompassing lifestyle that supports the mind, body and soul, much like our range of superfood breakfast goods. We only ever use the purest, most natural ingredients in our granolas to deliver a delicious AND nourishing snack - morning, noon and night.

This week, we're exploring the history and health benefits of one of our favourite nuts: the almond. As one of the main ingredients in our best-selling original Almond & Vanilla flavour, this versatile little nut is one of the best out there...

Almonds are the edible seed of a tree typically native to the warm climes of the Middle East, India and North Africa. Spread by humans during ancient times, almonds are now widely grown in California, Spain, Australia, Iran and Morocco. In 2014, California accounted for a whopping 57% of the worlds almond production - that's a whole lot of nuts. 

Here are just a few reasons why we love the humble almond and why it will always hold a place in our heart as part of the original Qnola gang:

- Used frequently in both sweet and savoury dishes, almonds are incredibly versatile: they can be ground into flour for gluten-free sponge cakes or macarons, sliced and toasted to enjoy with a tagine or ice-cream, chopped and roasted for homemade granola, pan-fried with rosemary and salt as a dinner party nibble or simply eaten straight out of the bag as a healthy snack.

- A highly nutritious nut, almonds are a rich source of vitamin E - which helps maintain healthy skin and strengthen the body's natural defence against illness and infection. Research shows that people who ingest high levels of Vitamin E are 30-40% less likely to contract heart disease.

- Almonds are a good natural source of magnesium, a mineral that allows us to Wake Up Well each day feeling restored; magnesium is needed by the body to help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease and regulate blood pressure. 

- Owing to the amount of highly processed foods currently on the market, people in most countries aren't getting enough zinc or iron in their diets. Zinc is needed by the body for immune function, wound healing, blood clotting, thyroid function whilst iron is essential for muscle movement, growth, brain functionality and maintaining an active metabolism. Thankfully, our nutty little friend is a great way to up your intake of both.

- Almond milk is one of the best alternatives to cows milk and if you're vegan or lactose intolerant, it's a great source of calcium. Our favourites are Plenish and Rude Health

- Good for the brain, almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine which have been proven to increase brain activity. Riboflavin is also good for energy levels - another reason to grab a handful of almonds before or after your workout!

- If you struggle to regulate your gut, just four or five almonds a day will help contribute to a healthier digestive system - they're high in fibre so be sure to drink a lot of water. Dehydration is not a good bedfellow for smooth bowl movements.