The almond tree is small in size and is closely related to the peach, apricot and cherry trees.
Almonds are classified into two categories:
- Sweet almonds are the type that we eat. They are oval in shape and wonderfully buttery in taste.
- Bitter almonds are used to make almond oil, which is used as a flavoring agent for foods and liqueurs, such as Amaretto.
Almonds contain up to 60% of fat and they are full of nutrients.
They are an excellent source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils, protein, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin E.
More importantly, almonds are a good source of important antioxidant flavonoids and of amygdalin. These components are responsible for their reputation as an anticancer food.
Almonds help fight against heart disease by regulating lipid profiles in the blood.
In a recent study, the effects of roasted, salted almonds and toasted almond butter were compared with that of raw almonds on blood lipid levels. All three forms of almonds significantly lowered LDL cholesterol. Both raw and roasted almonds significantly lowered total cholesterol. HDL cholesterol slightly increased with almond butter but no changes were observed with raw or roasted almonds. These results suggest that unblanched almonds can play an effective role in cholesterol-lowering diets.
Almonds may help fight many cancers.
In an animal study on the effect of almonds on colon cancer, animals were exposed to a colon cancer-causing agent and fed almond meal, almond oil, whole almonds or a controlled diet containing no almonds. The animals given whole almonds showed fewer signs of colon cancer and fewer rapidly diving cells. This might be due to the high fiber content in almonds.
- For more crunch, add them to plain yogurt.
- Add two tablespoons of almonds to your morning bowl of oatmeal.
- Have them as a mid-day snack.
- Add chopped almonds to your salad.
For the sake of simplicity, this article is kept short. If you need more details, leave a comment.
Reference: The encyclopedia of healing foods, Dr Michael Murray and Dr Joseph Pizzorno with Lara Pizzorno.