– Panchali Moitra
Enriched with superb nutritive value and wonderful health benefits, almonds are indeed ‘the nuts to watch out for’.
Considered to have originated from Central Asia, almonds are today available across the globe and much revered for their crunchy taste, versatility in varied recipes and disease preventing attributes.
Almonds qualify as an excellent nutrient and energy dense food. 100 gms of almonds provide approximately a whopping 575 kcal of energy, 20 gms of protein, 12gms of dietary fibre and a range of vitamins and minerals. They are rich in B complex vitamins (especially thiamin, B 6 and folates), vitamin E( essential for optimum cellular activity and free radical scavenging properties), magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and selenium.
Though quite high in fat content, research shows that most of the fats present in almonds are infact the heart friendly unsaturated fatty acids. The right balance of mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids lower bad LDL cholesterol and favor healthy blood lipid profile. They are also packed with antioxidant rich poly phenols.
Almonds Health Benefits
• Research indicates that substituting nuts such as almonds for saturated fats (as present in dairy products and meats) helps to lower risk for cardio vascular disorders. Munching on 6-8 almonds per day provides a team of heart disease fighting nutrients namely vitamin E( antioxidants), magnesium( improves blood flow) and potassium( blood pressure managing mineral).
• Being high in dietary fibre ensures a better blood glucose control, and improved satiety ( desired by weight loss seekers)
• Studies show link between moderate nut consumption and lowered risk for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and arthritis.
• Eating almonds is considered to be good for improving digestive functions and protecting against inflammatory disorders.
• Furthermore, massage almond oil on your face and hair for soft skin and luscious tresses. Apply crushed almond paste along with lime juice and honey as face pack to reduce wrinkles or use ground soaked almonds as an exfoliating face scrub.
Almonds Culinary Tips
Almonds can be consumed as raw, salted, roasted, sugar coated or ground. Opt for the unsalted or unsweetened raw ones if you are watching your weight or are diabetic.
Since they are quite rich in fat and calorie content, it would be best to stick to 5-8 almonds a day as a part of healthy balanced diet.
Almonds are best eaten as healthy snacks in between meals or sprinkled over salads and desserts
Crushed almonds can be added to cookies, cakes, rice dishes and even vegetable curry recipes.
Almond milk shakes and yoghurts are also popular.