Almonds

Benefits of almonds

AlmondsAlmonds are a healthy and tasty addition to both savory and sweet dishes. They are used in many dishes and are available everywhere in the world. Almonds are available all year round, but are the freshest during the summer period. This article will not only address the history of almonds, but will also provide an overview of the health benefits of almonds. Also, this article will provide some tips on how to store almonds.

History

Almonds have been around for centuries. They are considered to an ancient food since they have also been written about in historical texts. The Bible contains texts about almonds and its benefits, indicating that they have been around for many years. It is said that almonds find their origin in North Africa and Western Asia. Moreover, the Romans have always referred to almond as the Greek nut. It is thought that this is the case because the Romans thought that the Greeks were the first ones who had grown almonds. Nowadays, almonds are grown all over the world. They main areas where they grow are the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Almonds grow in Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Moreover, they also grow in California in the United States. Similar to walnuts, almonds have a history in California. It is interesting that these nuts mainly grow in California. It is said that the Californian climate allows for walnut trees and almond trees to grow optimally. Almond trees were originally brought to California by the Spanish. However, the cultivation of the almond trees was stopped when the Spanish missions were closed. The almond trees found their way back to California in the 19th century. They were originally brought to the Eastern side of the United States, however the weather did not support the cultivation of the trees. It is for this reason that they were brought to California.

Description

Almonds, as we know them, are actually the seed of the fruit of the almond tree. The tree bears flowers which are pink and white. The almond tree is also medium-sized. Related to this tree are the trees of peaches, cherries and apricots. All these trees bear fruits which have stone-like seeds, or pits, inside them. The seed of the almond fruit is the almond nut. Almonds have an off-white color and are covered by a thin brown skin. Moreover, they are encased in a hard shell. Almonds can be purchased in two different forms. There are almonds which have a sweet taste and there are almonds which have a bitter taste. The type that is sold most are the sweet almonds. This common nut has an oval shape. This type of almond usually has a bit of a buttery taste and its texture is malleable. Almonds in the supermarket can be bought either with their shell, or with their shell removed. The most common ones are the ones with their shell removed. Shelled almonds can either be bought sliced, slivered or as a whole. You can also buy them blanched, in their natural form or with spices added to them. Bitter almonds are not as popular as sweet almonds. Bitter almonds are mostly used to make almond oil and are used as a flavoring agent. The flavoring agent is added to liqueurs or foods. Moreover, it is not healthy to eat the bitter almonds. They contain toxic substances which are removed in the manufacturing process of almond oil.

Heart benefits

Almonds contain protein and potassium. They also contain mono-unsaturated fats. All these nutrients are important for a healthy heart. Vitamin E is another nutrient present in almonds which contributes to a healthy heart. Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant which contributes to a reduced risk of heart diseases. The presence of magnesium also plays an important role in keeping the heart healthy. Magnesium contributes to reduce and avoid the risk of heart attacks. Almonds also help to prevent artery-damaging inflammation. The presence of C-reactive proteins is reduced when consuming almonds. The C-reactive proteins are the proteins which cause artery-damaging inflammation. Almonds are also rich in folic acid. Folic acid helps to reduce the level of homo-cysteine. Homo-cysteine causes fatty plague to build up in the arteries, which eventually could lead to high cholesterol levels. Moreover, the skin of almonds also contains healthy nutrients. The nutrients in the skin of almonds combined with Vitamin E provide protection against artery wall damage.  Research has also suggested that by adding almonds to your diet you improve the functioning of your vascular system. This is especially true for men between the age of 20 and 70 years. Especially for this group in society it is recommended that they add almonds to their diet. It is recommended that you have 1 to 3 ounces of almonds a day.


Prevention of constipation

Almonds are also rich in fiber. Most foods which are rich in fiber contribute to the reduction of constipation. Research has shown that fiber-rich foods prevent constipation. When eating almonds, or any other fiber-rich food item, it is important to drink a lot of water. This is due to the fact that it will speed up the digestive process. Also, the beneficial effects of almonds will become clear when drinking significant amounts of water. It is not necessary to eat large amounts of almonds. Having about 4 or 5 almonds a day would be enough to keep the bowel movements regular and to keep the digestion system going well. Additionally, research has proven that almonds can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This is due to the fact that almonds are said to have a positive effect on the neutral activity. The consumption of almonds stimulates the creation of neural passageways and new connections. These new connection can keep Alzheimer’s disease and the neural degeneration from developing. While almonds have many health benefits, they also have a few downsides. Almonds contain oxalates. Consuming too many oxalates can cause crystallization. Crystallization in turn can lead to different issues. For example, people who have problems with their gallbladder or kidneys should avoid consuming almonds since almonds could have a bad effect on their kidneys or gallbladder.

Energy production

Apart from the nutrients mentioned above, almonds are also a source of copper and manganese. These two minerals are essential to the enzyme superoxide dismutase. Superoxide dismutase frees certain other minerals within the mitochondria. Mitochondria are the internal systems in cells which are essential in the production of energy. Both these minerals are present in almonds and almonds therefore contribute to the production of energy within our bodies. Vitamin B2, also present in almonds, also contributes to the energy production in our bodies. In the body, vitamin B2 attached to enzymes which allow oxygen-based energy production to occur in our cells. A handful of almonds are therefore a great way for getting an energy boost without filling you up with calories or fat. Moreover, almonds are also a great source of phosphorus. Phosphorus is known for contributing to the health of bones and teeth. Therefore, having a few almonds a day would contribute to the strength and durability of your bones and teeth. Also, phosphorus also prevents the onset of age-related conditions. For example, it would help prevent osteoporosis.

How to select and store

Almonds which are still in their shell last the longest. It is therefore recommended to purchase almonds in their shells when you want to keep them for a long time. When buying almonds it is important to check that they are not stained, moldy or split. Also, it is better not to buy almonds which are kept in bulk bins. The ones which are sold in bulk bins are mostly exposed to heat, humidity and air. It is therefore recommended to buy almonds which are stored in a sealed container. However, if you would still like to buy almonds in bulk bins, make sure to check the expiry date. Also, it is important that the nuts are fresh. Therefore, check that the store has a high turnover or buy the almonds at a delicacy store. The smell of almonds can also tell you whether they are fresh or not. If almonds smell nutty and sweet, they are fresh. However, almonds are more rancid when they smell bitter. If you prefer almonds which have a more roasted flavor, choose the ones which have been dry roasted and not the ones which have been cooked in oil. It is important to pay attention to the fact that no additions such as sugar, syrup or corn have been added to the almonds. Only in this way will you ensure that you have the real roasted flavor. It is also important to store the almonds well in order to prevent them from becoming rancid. It is recommended that once you have purchased almonds to store them in an air-tight container. They should be stored away from sunlight and kept in a dry and cool place. Similar to walnuts, when almonds are kept in the fridge they will last for a few months. It is also possible to store almonds in the freezer. When kept in the freezer they can last up to a year.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 1139x
Added: 29-06-2016 00:15
Last modified: 18-07-2016 22:08

Relevant links

Categories

There are already 325 articles added to this website.
The copyrights of infowiki.com apply!