Almonds: benefits and harms

Photo by Lorena Galeano from Pexels

Almond history
The modern regions of Turkey are considered the birthplace of almonds. Here, the almond culture appeared many centuries before our era. In ancient times, the almond blossom was a symbol of the beginning of the new year. For example, the Israeli “taxis” with the first almond blossom undertook their job – they set tithes from fruit trees. Almonds were also used to embalm the dead. So traces of nut oil were found in the tomb of the Egyptian king Tutankhamun.

If we talk about the post-Soviet countries, then the earliest of all began to grow almonds in Tajikistan. It even has a separate “almond blossom city” called Kanibadam.

Now more than half of the world’s almond crop is grown in the USA, in the state of California. Almond trees are popular in Spain, Italy, Portugal.

The benefits of almonds
Almonds are beneficial due to their natural composition. It is considered an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. It contains a lot of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9), as well as tocopherol (vitamin E). Almonds are good for the heart and blood vessels, as they contain many unsaturated fats, amino acids, and minerals. Nuts are rich in plant flavonoids, which are activated by vitamin E.

To maintain the nervous system and the normal functioning of the brain, doctors recommend consuming 20-25 nuts a day. For people aged 50+, almonds can help cope with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The plant antioxidants found in nuts normalize sleep and relieve senile insomnia and seasonal depression.

Fatty acids protect the body from the excessive flow of glucose into the bloodstream. Therefore, almonds are good for people with diabetes. It also has a beneficial effect on microcirculation and immunity.

Dietary fiber helps to “cleanse” the body, nourishes the intestinal microflora with beneficial bacteria and affects prebiotic function. It is important to combine almonds with foods that contain a lot of antioxidants – vitamins C, A, zinc, and selenium. This includes cabbage, bell peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits, turkey, veal, chicken.

Calories per 100 g 576 kcal
Fat 49.42 g
Carbohydrates 21.67 g
Proteins 18.6 g
Water 4.7 g

Almond harm
Almonds are an allergenic product. Therefore, people who have a tendency to allergic reactions need to be careful with this nut. Monitor dosage. Allergies include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, and nasal congestion.

Also, do not overeat almonds, because the nut is high in calories and can cause an excess of fat. As a result, extra pounds may appear. Moreover, the restriction applies not only to overweight people. Overeating can cause flatulence, diarrhea, and even headache.

Do not overuse nuts for cores that have a non-standard heart rate. It is also better not to eat unripe almonds, as you can get poisoned because of the high cyanide content.

The use of almonds in medicine
Almonds are often recommended to be consumed for various different diseases of the body. Since the nut is useful for blood vessels and the heart, it is recommended for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Almonds are rich in various beneficial trace elements. In particular, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. It contains a lot of monounsaturated fats and choline, which help the liver and central nervous system stay functional for as long as possible. Almonds can be used as a cough suppressant. Due to a large number of antioxidants, it can serve as an excellent anti-age agent and prevents early aging. Zinc strengthens the immune system and reproductive function (sperm health in men). A handful of almonds after a meal will discourage cravings for the usual dessert. Almond oil can only be used for cosmetic purposes: it improves the condition of the skin and hair.

The use of almonds in cooking
Almonds are used in different forms: fresh, toasted, salted. Nuts are added as spices in the manufacture of sweets from the dough, chocolate, liqueur. Almonds give dishes a delicate and sophisticated taste.

Fortified milk is made from almonds. Moreover, it can be drunk even by those who are lactose intolerant. It is often consumed by vegetarians and vegans. For example, in Spain, a drink based on almond milk is called horchata, in France they prepare horchata.

Many sweets are made from almonds. Marzipan – sugar syrup is mixed with almonds, praline – ground nuts are fried in sugar, nougat and macaroons are also prepared. Whole nuts are sprinkled with coconut and chocolate. Recently, almond butter has been used as an alternative to peanut butter.

In Chinese and Indonesian cuisine, almonds are added to many meat dishes, salads, and soups.

How to choose and store almonds correctly?
For almonds, go to the market or to the nut and dried fruit store. When choosing, pay attention to the appearance and structure of the walnut. Fresh almonds have a smooth and velvety surface. If there is mold or signs of rust, then it is better not to take such a product. Pay attention that the color of the kernels is uniform and uniform.

Smell the almonds. Good nuts give off a slight sweetish odor. Nothing should interrupt this aroma. If bitterness is felt, then the almonds are spoiled.

The nuts must be dry. If there is dampness, then the almonds will not be able to be stored for a long time. Also, do not use overdried kernels. If the almonds are sold in their shell, pay attention to the integrity of the almonds. There should be no chips, cracks, or other damage. Also, kernels from the same batch should not differ in color or smell.

Store almonds in a cool, dark place, away from direct sun. The ideal place is a pantry or refrigerator. As a container, you can use a glass jar with a tight lid or vacuum packaging. Almonds do not like to coexist with other nuts, so it is better not to mix them with hazelnuts or pecans.

The average shelf life of almonds is 6 months.

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