Almonds

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The Almond, known as the king of nuts, is highly nutritious. Rich in almost all the elements needed by the body, this sweet nut is an effective health building food, both for the body and mind and a valuable food for many common ailments.

== Why should I be aware of this? ==Almonds are one of the best nuts and seed foods. They are loaded with protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin E and other antioxidants and phytonutrients. Being a plant food, almonds contain no cholesterol. Almonds are abundant in phosphorus, which is good for bones and teeth. They are higher in calcium and fibre than all other nuts. And although almonds are high in fat, most of the fat is monounsaturated, considered beneficial fat.

Medicinal values

The medicinal values of almonds arise chiefly from pharmacodynamic action of copper, iron, phosphorous and vitamin B. These chemicals exert a synergic action- i.e. increased energy due to chemical interaction and help the formation of new blood cells, haemoglobin and play a major role in maintaining the smooth physiological functions of the brain, nerves, bones, heart and liver. Almond is thus highly beneficial in preserving the vitality of the brain, in strengthening the muscles and in prolonging life. It forms a vital part of all tonic preparations in Ayurveda and Unani medicine.

Almonds and health

The folic acid in almonds is believed to help lower levels of homocysteine, the amino acid that is thought to contribute to the buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries. And studies have shown links between almond consumption and lower risk of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and other chronic illnesses. Almonds also provide protection against diabetes and cardiovascular disease, prevent osteoporosis and they regulate blood pressure.

  • Anemia -- Almonds contain copper in organic form at the rate of 1.15mg per 100 gms. The copper along with iron and vitamins, acts as a catalyst in the synthesis of blood hemoglobin. Almonds are therefore a useful food remedy for anemia.
  • Constipation -- The use of almonds has proved highly beneficial in the treatment of chronic constipation. It works as an excellent laxative. 11 to 15 seeds taken at bed time will help in the morning. Those who suffer from a weak stomach can take about 7 gms of almond oil with hot milk
  • Impotence -- Almond are very useful in case of loss of sexual energy which usually results form nervous debility and brain weakness. Their regular use will strengthen sexual power. Chewing of equal quantity of almond kernels and roasted gram also helps.
  • Skin Disorders -- Wild almonds are considered useful in skin diseases especially eczema. For this purpose, a few leaves of the wild almond are ground with water and the cream is prepared us applied to the affected parts. Almonds are also beneficial in the treatment of pimples or acne. In this condition, the endocarp, which is the hard cover of the seed, should be ground with water and applied. In case of inflammatory conditions of the skin, the external application of almond oil will ease the pain and cool the heat.
  • Respiratory diseases -- Am emulsion of almonds is useful in bronchial diseases, hoarseness and tickling cough. It is prepared by pounding the nuts and mixing the powdered kernels with orange or lemon juice. A teaspoonful of the oil given with 10 drops each of fresh white onion juice and ginger juice, daily thrice for a fortnight is useful in whooping cough, bronchitis and asthma.
  • As a Natural Beauty Aid -- Paste of almonds with milk cream and fresh rose bud’s paste applied daily over the face is a very effective natural beauty aid. It softens and bleaches the skin and nourishes it with the choicest skin food. Its regular application prevents early appearance of wrinkles, black heads, dryness of the skin, pimples and keeps the face fresh.
  • Almond Oil-- Sweet Almond oil is one of the most popular vegetable oils, which is also used in the form of carrier oil or base oil in Aromatherapy. It has a very light, sweet and nutty aroma and is absolutely clear in color with a tinge of yellow. When used as massage oil, It balances the moisture in the body. Almond oil is suitable for all skin types, but is especially good for dry or irritated skin. It softens and soothes the skin without clogging the pores.

A teaspoonful of almond oil mixed with a teaspoonful of gooseberry juice, massaged over scalp, is a valuable remedy for hair loss, thinness of hair, dandruff and premature graying of hair.

All about almonds

Almonds are among the earliest cultivated foods in history. It has been cultivated from ancient times. The Romans called it the 'Greek nut'. It was also grown in the regions of present day Syria and Palestine during the days of the Bible. It is now grown in several parts of the sub tropical regions, especially in Morocco, Italy, France, Portugal, Australia etc. It is also being cultivated in several parts of Southern Africa and many parts of Asia.

Types of almonds

There are two varieties of almonds, the sweet and the bitter. Among the sweet variety, there are thin skinned and thick skinned, the thin skinned being the more preferred kind. Bitter almonds are not considered edible as they contain prussic acid, a deadly poison but they are used commercially for producing almond oil, perfume and cosmetics. They are also used as a flavoring agent for foods and liqueurs.

Nutritive value chart

(All values per 100 gms edible portion)

  • Moisture -5.2%
  • Protein- 20.8%
  • Fat-58.9%
  • Fibre- 1.7%
  • Minerals – 2.9%
  • Carbohydrates- 10.5%
  • Calcium- 230 mg
  • Phosphorous- 490 mg
  • Niacin- 4.4 mg
  • Iron- 4.5 mg
  • And small amounts of Vitamin B Complex
  • Calorific Value- 665

Almond preparations

One of the ways to use almonds is to soak them in water and grind them into a fine paste of blanched almonds i.e. after peeling of the skin. This paste is called almond butter. It is easily absorbed and is preferred to dairy butter by many vegetarians. This butter is of special value to older people who are generally bothered with the problem of not getting enough protein in their diets. By taking almond butter, they will be able to get not only high quality protein but also other excellent food ingredients, contained in the almonds in the most digestible form.

Another useful preparation from almonds is the almond milk. It can be easily prepared by grinding the blanched almonds to a smooth paste and adding cold boiled water to the consistency of the milk. With the addition of little sugar, it makes a delicious and nutritious drink. 1 kg of milk may be obtained from about 250 gms of almonds. This almond milk can also be converted into yoghurt and butter as in the case of ordinary milk. Almond milk is rich in vitamins. It possesses certain advantages over the ordinary milk. It is more easily digestible than the cow’s milk and is useful for children and people who are lactose intolerant.

The fat in almonds in unsaturated and as such they provide one of the most beneficial kinds of fat. In specific terms, every 100 gms of almonds contain 22 gms of linolenic acid. This fatty acid is one of the most polyunsaturated and highly beneficial in lowering serum cholesterol levels.

What can I do?

Almonds should be consumed properly though for beneficial results. They should be thoroughly chewed and they should not be eaten immediately after meals. They are a very concentrated food, with high calorific value. They should therefore be mostly used with bulky vegetables and fruits like raw turnips, lettuce, cucumbers and apples. Though traditionally it is believed that the skin must be removed as it contains irritating properties, new research on almonds adds to the growing evidence that eating almonds with the skin is the best way to promote optimal health. It is so because of the flavonoids found in almond skins, which work together with the vitamin E, found in their nut itself to more than double the antioxidant factor.

Some do-it-yourself recipes

  • Put some chopped almonds and dried fruit to plain yogurt.
  • Enhance a healthy sauté of curried vegetables with sliced almonds.
  • Add some almond butter to a breakfast shake to boost its taste and protein content.
  • Almonds and apple slices make a wonderfully simple, on-the-go power snack.
  • Add sliced almonds to chicken salad for the crunchy taste and beneficial effects.

CopperBytes

  • Three ounces of almonds a day actually lowered a person's cholesterol by 14 percent.
  • Ninety percent of the fat in almonds is unsaturated fat, and frequent consumption, as a result, could help lower blood cholesterol levels.
  • Almonds are seeds of the fruit of the almond tree, a medium-size tree that bears fragrant pink and white flowers
  • Because of the presence of Oxalates, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating almonds.
  • Eating almonds can help you maintain and even lose weight.
  • Consume unroasted, unsalted almond nuts for maximum benefits

See Also

References

  • Almonds have many health benefits
  • Almonds Are In!