While commonly considered a nut, almonds are actually the seed of the almond tree fruit. Almonds are a great source of high quality protein and vitamin E and among the richest plant-based foods in calcium and phosphorous.

Disease/Ailment:

High cholesterol
Nervous system disorders
Cardiac disease and arteriosclerosis
Bone disorders, osteoporosis

Health benefits:

Invigorates the nervous system: The appropriate balance of calcium, magnesium, and potassium help to maintain muscle tone and prevent nervous system irritability.

Reduces cholesterol: Due to almonds’ balanced fatty acid composition and high vitamin E content, almonds lower blood cholesterol levels.

Maintains strong bones: Almonds contain high levels of minerals that form the skeleton (calcium, magnesium, phosphorous). In addition, almonds are alkalizing, which foster calcium retention for maintaining strong bones.

Heart health: Calcium is directly involved in controlling the heartbeat and arterial pressure. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that prevents the formation of arteriosclerosis.

Good source of:

Vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous

Purchasing, storing, & enjoying:

Purchasing: Almonds can be purchased in many different forms: shelled, unshelled, slivered, sliced, chopped, roasted, salted, etc. They will have the longest shelf like when purchased in the shell. When buying whole, shelled almonds, look for unshriveled and uniformely-sized nuts with a dark, rich color. They should smell sweet and nutty. If they smell sharp or bitter they may be rancid.

Storing: Store nuts in an airtight container in a cool, dry place that is away from direct sunlight. Refrigerating almonds will make them last for several months, and freezing almonds will make them last for up to a year.

Enjoying: Almonds can be enjoyed in multiple ways.

  • A handful of almonds is a great nutritious snack that can sustain you in between meals.
  • Almonds add a great crunch to any dish! Add them to salads, oatmeal, cereal, or dessert. 
  • Try grinding almonds with a food processor or blender to make almond flour or almond butter. Almond flour is often used in gluten-free baking. 
  • Making your own almond milk at home is easy and cheap! All you need is raw almonds, water, and any other seasonings such as honey, dates, or vanilla.

Resources & recipes:

Almond mayonnaise: http://www.elanaspantry.com/marcona-almond-mayonnaise/

Almond milk: http://thevedge.org/2012/09/homemade-almond-milk/

Almond biscotti: http://www.fannetasticfood.com/2013/02/14/vegan-vanilla-almond-biscotti-recipe/

Almond parmesan: http://thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-sprinkling-we-go-almond-parmesan.html

 

References:

Present Knowledge in Nutrition. International Life Sciences Institute, ILSI-North America, 1990, 6th ed., p.252.

WHO, Technical Report Series, 797. Diet, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. Report of a WHO Study Group. Geneva, 1990, p. 90.

Spiller, G.A.; Jenkins, D.J.; Cragen, L.N. et al. Effect of a diet high in monounsaturated fat from almonds on plasma cholesterol and lipoproteins. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 11: 126-130 (1992).

http://www.livestrong.com/article/104143-high-protein-foods-almonds/


About the Author

Ashley Kim

"Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners." – William Shakespeare

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