Almonds are a sweet nut with a meaty texture. They are a rich natural source of the healthy unsaturated fats that our body needs to run and a good source of many vital nutrients. Almonds find their way in snacks, savory and sweet dishes and many sweets from foods around the world.
Almond is the name of the nut as well as the name of the tree from which we get it. The almond nut, technically, is the seed from the almond tree, a medium sized tree related to the peach, apricot, plumb and cherry trees. The almond tree grows a stone fruit with a seed inside. This seed we call the almond nut. They are off-white in color, with a thin red-brown skin, inside a hard outer shell.
The almond originate in west Asia in ancient times and spread along the Mediterranean shores into North Africa and southern Europe.
There are two types of almond the sweet variety and the bitter variety. The sweet almond is used for eating and consumable almond products. The oil of the bitter almond contains the essential oil of bitter almond as well as hydrogen cyanide. These compounds are removed before the oil is used as a flavoring in soaps and cosmetics or oil for massage and cooking.
Almonds are a very good source of manganese and vitamin E and a good source of magnesium, copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus.
Almonds also contain useable amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Although the fat content is over 50 percent, most of this fat content is heart-healthy unsaturated fats in the forms of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
A high fat food that is good for you.
Ayurvedic medicine considers Almonds one of the best nuts. They improve reproductive ability and bring life and vitality to the mind and spirit. The thin, dry, unstable, nervous and generally deficient person benefits most from nuts and seeds with their heavy and grounding nature.
• Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
• Tonifies the body
• Add weight and strength
Almonds eaten with their skins can resolve a moist lung conditions.
Almonds are freshest in the summer although they can be found in markets all year around
Almonds can be bough in their shells, already shelled, chopped, diced or turning into almond-meal. The more whole the nut when you buy them the longer before they will become rancid.
Almonds that are in their shells have a long storage life. Look for shells that are not split or moldy. Buy shelled nuts that are in well-sealed containers from a store with good turnover to ensure freshness. The nuts should be an even color and not soft of shriveled. The almonds should smell sweet and nutty. IF the smell is bitter or sharp, then the nuts are rancid. Taste one to be sure they are not old or rancid.
Buy only organic nuts and seeds as poisons and toxins seem to build up in all seeds and nuts.
Nuts and seeds become rancid when they are hulled, This deterioration begins immediately. Buy, store and eat only fresh nuts and seeds.
IF you want nuts with a roasted flavor, buy nuts that have been dry roasted without oil and no other additives such as sugar or preservatives better still, roast your own.
Because of the high fat content in almonds it is very important to store them well to stop them from becoming rancid. Store shelled almonds in a sealed, airtight non-plastic container in a cool, dry and dark place. Heat and light speed oxidization
Do not store in plastic, oil rich foods combine with plastics to form plasticides.
Shelled almonds will keep even longer, for several months, if stored in the refrigerator. Stored in the freezer they will keep for up to a year.
Eat nuts and seeds in moderation.
Shell the almonds if they are still in the shell. The almonds can be eaten whole, chopped by hand and added to yogurts, other deserts or into a healthy curry or sauté.
For the greatest health benefits, soak nuts and seeds overnight to initiate the sprouting process. This makes the fats and protein more digestible. They can then be dried and eaten raw, roasted or cooked.
Roasting reduces the effects of rancidity and reduces the oiliness making the nuts and seeds easier to digest. Lightly roast at 160-170°f for 15 – 20 minutes, to preserve the healthy oils.
The almonds can be crushed and turned into almond butter – a healthy alternative to peanut butter.
Almonds can be ground to produce almond-meal that is used in baking and other dishes.
Almonds can be liquefied and turned into a “milk”.
Chew well to increase the medicinal value of nuts and seeds.
Almonds are the A in LSA (Linseed (flaxseed), Sunflower seed, Almond), a highly nutritious combination of vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and other nutrients. LSA is a great addition to cereals, breads, cakes, muffins and even in stuffing for a raost dinner.
Eating too any nuts and seeds can cause problems with digestion, blemishes and pimples and can cause bad smelling flatulence.
People with damp conditions, who is sluggish with conditions such as overweight, edema, candida growth, cysts or mucus should avoid most nut and oil rich seeds. Almonds can increase phlegm and sputum.
People with signs of excess like a robust body and personality, ruddy complexion, thick tongue coating, strong voice and pulse should use most nuts and seeds little if at all.
Do not eat almonds that have been commercially roasted, as this process is a form of deep-frying, usually in saturated fats that can contribute to high levels of LDL cholesterol and the thickening of the artery walls
Almonds contain oxalates, a naturally accruing substance that found in plants, animals and humans. When these oxalates become too concentrated in the body they can crystallize to form health problems including stones in the liver and gall bladder. Also these oxalates can cause problems with the joints and arthritis.