Although it is believed that it belongs to the group of nuts, the almond (lat. Prunus amygdalus) is actually a member of the stone-fruit group. In this sense, it is a close relative of plums, cherries, apricots and peaches.
The almond has always been highly valued for its great health benefits and its cultivation was spread throughout the Mediterranean as well. In the 18th century the Spanish missionaries brought it to California, which has become one of the largest producers of almonds in the world since then.
There are two types of almonds: sweet almond (Prunus dulcis amygdalis) – that is the almond that we consume almost every day – and bitter almond (Prunus amygdalis amara).
The bitter almond is slightly wider and shorter than the sweet, but it is bitter and therefore not edible. However, the bitter almond is an excellent source of vitamin B17.
We will dedicate ourselves to the sweet almond and its many nutritional and health benefits.
Great source of vitamins and minerals
Almonds are good and healthy food, which contain a large part of the recommended daily quantity of vitamins, minerals, fiber and amino acids. A hundred grams of almonds contain 22g of carbohydrates, of which 12g of dietary fiber, which is 49% of the required fiber per day.
Most of the people who practice the classical western diet miss the dietary fiber. They are extremely important for regular digestion and serve as food for the good bacteria – probiotics – in our digestive system.
Almonds are rich in healthy fats, so 100 grams of almonds contains 49 grams of fats, of which 31 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids and 12 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Almonds are a great source of minerals and vitamins. 100 grams of almonds contain…
140% of the recommended daily amounts of manganese
75% of magnesium
60% of copper
50% of phosphorus
130% of vitamin E
51% of riboflavin (B2)
Prevention of a heart attack
Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. It is a type of acid which is contained in the olive oil, which is important in the prevention of a heart attack. Several studies have found that the regular consumption of almonds leads to reduction of the risk of a heart attack between 30 and 45%.
According to those studies, if you eliminate part of the unhealthy, saturated fats from the meat and milk and replace them with the appropriate amounts of beneficial fats from almonds, the risk of a heart attack is reduced by 45 percent.
This may not be due only to the monounsaturated fatty acids, but to their combination with vitamin E and minerals that the almonds contain.
Also, it is proved that the above mentioned combination of fatty acids, vitamins and minerals in almonds helps in reducing the bad LDL fats for 8 to 12%.
Control of the blood sugar
Several studies have been done in order to determine the effect of almonds on blood sugar levels. As it is known, a diet based on foods with a high glycemic index, such as white flour and sugar, significantly raises the blood sugar levels.
The continuous feeding with this type of food is one of the causes for diabetes and obesity. Studies have shown that eating 60 to 90 grams of almonds a day along with the food with high glycemic index reduces the glycemic index of a meal and the blood sugar level.
In other words, the almond regulates the sudden increase of the blood sugar and the negative effects on your organism.
If the almonds cause you digestive problems, try the trick with soaking the almonds in water overnight. In this way, the enzymes in the almonds are activated and they are easier to digest.
The antioxidants in almonds
The unhealthy lifestyle these days creates free radicals in the body. They were recently identified as the cause for more diseases and even the heaviest – malignant. In order to reduce the amount of free radicals and the damage they inflict, you need antioxidants.
Vitamin E is one of the antioxidants that will help you with that, and the almonds contain large amounts of this vitamin.
A hundred grams of almonds gives even 131% of the daily required vitamin E.
The skin of the almonds contains 20 flavonoids, which act synergistically with vitamin E and double the total antioxidant activity of almonds. This is another reason why you should use the food instead of individual food supplements.
Health benefits of almonds
– Protect against stroke and heart attack
– Alkalize the organism
– Regulate the blood sugar levels
– Help with heartburn
– Improve the functioning of the nervous system
– Reduce the levels of the bad cholesterol
– Improve the brain function
– Protect against free radicals
– Help the weight loss
– Prevent the formation of gallstones
– Excellent source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals
Recipe for Almond Milk
The almond milk is an excellent and healthy drink, especially if you have problems with lactose in cow’s milk.
1 cup of almonds
4-5 glasses of water
A little honey or agave syrup, according to your taste
Leave the almonds soaked in water overnight. In the morning, strain them and put them in a blender.
Add water and blend them several times until the almonds are totally fine. Strain everything well through gauze and sweeten it (according to your taste).
The almond milk is ready!
Recipe for Almond Butter
It is easy to prepare almond butter, but you will need some patience.
Put 1-2 cups of almonds in a blender. You can add a tablespoon or two of olive oil and a little salt.
The whole process will take 10 to 12 minutes, so you will have to turn on and turn off the blender several times.
You should grind almonds until they reach a fine structure.