Almonds are popular because of their taste, nutritional content and health benefits, and gifiting them has traditionally been a sign of prosperity and happiness.
Throughout history, almonds have had religious and social significance, and been considered lucky in countries like Italy, Sweden, US and India. It Italy, wedding guests were given sugar coated almonds as symbols of good health, fertility and good fortune. Almonds are rich in nutrients, which have many health benefits.
Composition of Almonds
Almonds are packed with nutrients essential for good health.
A Tufts university research shows that the amount of flavonoid antioxidants in 28 gm of almonds is equal to that found in a serving of cooked broccoli. Almonds are also rich in tocopherol, a form of vitamin E.
They contain protein and dietary fiber, but are low in carbohydrates.
Almonds have minerals like magnesium and calcium. Twenty to 25 nuts contain calcium equal to a quarter cup of milk, while almonds have more magnesium than spinach and oatmeal. The nuts are also rich in copper.
Ninety percent of the fat in almonds is mono-unsaturated fatty acids.
Health Benefits of Almonds
The composition of almonds contributes to their many health benefits.
Antioxidants prevent cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases by fighting harmful free radicals. Vitamin E is also good for the skin.
According to a study conducted by the University of Toronto, almonds lower LDL or bad cholesterol, so they are good for the heart. The oily constituent relieves heartburn. The low glycemic load makes almonds suitable for diabetics. Since there is no cholesterol and low saturated fat, almonds can satiate hunger without adding extra fat, while the fat protects skin cells.
The calcium content prevents osteoporosis and strengthens the bones, teeth and muscles. Potassium boosts blood circulation, while magnesium helps in release of energy by the body and movement of muscles. Phosphorous leads to strong teeth and bones. Copper helps to circulate oxygen and maintains healthy blood vessels, bones and nervous system.
Dietary fiber prevents heart diseases, diabetes, constipation, colon and rectal cancer.
Protein supplies energy and boosts blood circulation, muscles and organs.
Almonds are easily available and can be consumed at any time and in all seasons. In fact, almonds are recommended to beat the heat. They are versatile, and can be eaten as a snack or used as an ingredient to enhance dishes. Almonds can be used in shakes or added to salads. They are tasty and contain nutrients essential for good health. Almonds’ nutritional benefits are similar to soy and oats, but the greater advantage is that they are easier to carry and eat.
Tip: Almonds should be stored in tightly closed containers in a cool, dry place. They can also be stored in the freezer for longer shelf life.