Ground almonds in your pastries, slivered almonds on your sundae – and almond nutritional benefits in that handful of whole almonds you’re eating. Recently, there’s been a spate of articles concerning almonds – these sweet nuts are a real super-food. Researchers are conducting studies which have uncovered some amazing nutritional facts about almonds – and yes, they are facts, because these studies are being done by qualified researchers who are showing that almond nutritional benefits are even greater than previously believed.
Did you know that almonds are crammed with vitamins, essential trace elements like potassium and manganese, fiber, protein and the all-important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids? These are the anti-oxidants which destroy free radicals and help fight cancers in the body. Almonds are also rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic and palmitoleic acids which lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. And that means that almonds can prevent coronary artery disease and stroke.
More almond nutritional benefits – extra vitamin E, all the B-complex vitamins, NO cholesterol – and a handful of almonds each day provides enough recommended daily amounts of protein, minerals and vitamins for an adult. And almond oil is a wonderful emollient – I recall my mother making almond paste (marzipan) and, at the end of the day the skin on her hands and wrists was so soft and elastic that she kept a ball of marzipan in the fridge, just to rub on her hands! These days, the oil from almonds is also used by pharmaceutical companies for medicines, cosmetics and aromatherapy.
Munch on a handful of almonds each day – take them to school or to work. They’re so high in protein that they’ll stave off those mid-afternoon hunger pangs. Plus – you’re getting all those vitamins.
You can buy your almonds at your grocery store. But having said that, let’s take a look at what’s available. To get the most almond nutritional benefits, you need to get the unpasteurized organic ones. Most of the almonds sold around the world come from California and before they are shipped to US stores, the US Food and Drug Administration has decreed that most of them undergo pasteurization. This process removes many of the nutrients and vitamins – yet the FDA considers almonds unsafe unless they’re pasteurized – but they do permit a certain amount to be sold in their raw state. Seems a bit conflicting, but there you go. So make certain you buy the raw ones otherwise you’re not going to get any of the almond nutritional benefits.
When you bring them home, put them in cool, filtered water to soak for up to forty-eight hours. This will remove the enzyme inhibitors in the brown skins on the almonds which can make them hard to digest. And if you soak them long enough, they’ll begin to sprout – which means that you’re unlocking all those nutrients it needs to grow into a tree! And now that all those almond nutritional benefits have been increased by over 200% – you get to eat them.
You can also buy almond butter. Fill a celery stick or two with it as a protein-packed snack. Sprinkle chopped almonds on your morning cereal; spread them on your toast – or just plain much on them. There’s no limits to the ways in which you can include almond nutritional benefits in your daily diet – and they even help you lose weight.