Almonds belong to the genus of Prunus and subgenus Amygdalus. It is a native tree of the middle east and South Asia. The fruit consists of the outer hull and hard shell with the seed inside. The height of the tree varies from 4-10 meters. Almonds are nutritious sources of vitamins, minerals and proteins.
There are two types of almonds, one is sweet in taste and another bitter. The sweet ones are eaten raw while the bitter ones can be poisonous. People use almonds in desserts, dishes and baked food for its rich taste.
Health benefits of almonds
Almonds are known to have good medicinal value, below are the few benefits which almonds possess.
- Almond reduces the risk of heart attacks.
- Almonds help in reducing the bad cholesterol level in the human body.
- They protect the walls of arteries from damage.
- Due to the presence of phosphorous in almonds, it helps in maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
- Almonds help in reducing the blood sugar level and insulin after the meals, thus protecting against diabetes.
- Almonds are known to boost the brain activity. They also help in maintaining a high intellectual level and longevity.
- They can also be used to reduce weight, hence it’s a good option to include it in your diet plan.
- Almonds are the only nuts that have alkaline forming capabilities. This capability reduces the risk of osteoporosis, poor immune system, weight gain and low energy levels.
- The presence of folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects in pregnant woman.
- Almond oil is very useful in maintaining healthy skin and even improves the hair growth.
- They help in preventing constipation due to the presence of fiber.
Nutrition facts of Almonds
A handful of almonds a day can help to provide a good level of recommended diet of proteins, minerals and vitamins.
- It is rich in monounsaturated fats that helps to reduce LDL and increases the HDL in the human body.
- It contains 26% of carbohydrates, because of which it is used as flour in baked foods to prepare low carbohydrate diet. They are also gluten free, so almond flour can be used in the preparation of gluten free formula foods.
- Almonds are rich in vitamin E, 100 gm of almonds contain 26 mg of vitamin E. This antioxidant helps to protect the cell membrane entirely.
- It is a good source of B-Vitamins complex like riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acids, vitamin B-6 and folates.
- They also contain minerals such as manganese, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and Phosphorous.
Tips and Warning
- Almonds are difficult to digest, so it is suggested to soak in water before having it raw or you can even roast them.
- Almonds along with the skin can contain more antioxidants.
- Store almonds in an air tight container so that it doesn’t turn rancid.
- People with nut allergies should be cautious before having almonds.
- People suffering from kidney problems or gallbladder problems should avoid eating almonds as it causes crystallization.