There’s some enlightenment that the almond is not a nut: it’s a fruit, a drupe to be precise. What does it matter? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Fruit, dry fruit, seed, fake nut, drupe….the almond is still nature’s benevolent contribution to glowing good health.
Nuts about nutrition
Almonds are chock-full with nutrients:
- Vitamin B: riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate
- Vitamin E
- Essential Minerals: calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorous, zinc and potassium
- Choline, a water soluble vitamin-like essential nutrient
- Dietary fibre
- Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are good for lowering harmful LDL cholesterol
- Phytosterols like beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol, sitostanol, and campestanol. These are similar in structure to the human cholesterol and ‘nudge out’ human cholesterol by competing for absorption in the digestive system, resulting in the lowering of blood cholesterol.
A cupful of almonds, about 100 grams, can give you more than 20% of the daily value of essential vitamins and minerals. The cupful also contains 20 grams of protein! Some insist that almonds are best eaten soaked and skinned. Others insist that the intact dry version is the best.
If your motto is to eat to live well, then look at some of the benefits of including a handful of almonds in your diet:
Your heart beats for almonds
There are several ways in which the nutrients in almonds can keep your heart beating with health.
- Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant which safeguards heart health
- Magnesium keeps heart attacks at bay
- Folic acid reduces and prevents fatty plaque build-up in the arteries keeping blood flow smooth
- The skin of almonds contains flavonoids which in combination with Vitamin E protect against artery wall damage
- High blood pressure and elevated levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood are markers for heart disease. The low sodium and high potassium content of almonds regulate blood pressure, while their ‘good’ fat content busts ‘bad’ cholesterol levels as does their content of phytosterols. May the good guys win!
Gain without pain
Almonds contain oleic and linoleic fatty acids which are remarkable for their anti-inflammatory properties.These acids cannot be manufactured by the human body and almonds provide the much-needed source.
A fistful of almonds, especially soaked ones, prevent the dangerous blood sugar spikes that diabetes-sufferers are heir to. Diabetes is a galloping lifestyle disease today. Almonds make a good snack to ward away hunger pangs that many diabetics face. But it should be remembered that the control of diabetes is a war against calories. Almonds are nutritionally dense and high in calories, so they should be eaten instead of and not in addition to.
The wealth of general health
The vitamin and mineral content of almonds, especially of Vitamin E, annihilate harmful free radicals in the body and thus boost the immune system. Free radicals are free with the damage that they cause by attaching to the cells of vital organs and causing damage resulting in ill health. Almonds will give you that healthful glow.
Digest the goodness
The high fibre content of almonds makes them aid the digestive process and ease constipation. During the process of digestion, almond flour ferments into short-chain fatty acids, notably butyrate, which form a substrate in the large intestine and provide the surface for enzyme reactions.
Almonds don’t go straight to your hips!
Almonds contain magnesium which helps regulate blood sugar- a key factor in reducing food cravings. The monounsaturated fats, fibre, and protein also help in controlling that yearning for a quick snack. Ditch that bag of chips and pop in a handful of almonds instead.
Beauty from within
Put those roses in your cheeks with your daily dose of almonds. Good digestion and overall good health is the secret to good looks: not those impossible beauty routines and unmentionable treatments which zap your purse and leave you looking green around the gills.
Almonds repair damaged skin tissue and accelerate the formation of new cells. Vitamin E and the phytosterols in almonds check the aging process. Your grandma’s beauty secret was probably a handful of soaked almonds.
Within you and without….
Here are a few top secret recipes to add to the shine of a healthful skin.
- For a glowing skin and de-tan:
Make a powder of 4 to 5 almonds or a paste of soaked and skinned almonds; to this, add a teaspoon of milk, a few drops of lemon juice, and some gram flour (besan) to make a face pack. If your skin is dry, add a teaspoon of cream (malai) and honey. Apply over your face and leave on for 20 minutes. Wash gently with warm water.
- Face and body scrub:
Make a rough powder of half a cup of almonds with their skins. Add 2 tablespoons of milk or enough to make a thick paste. Massage gently onto skin. Let it stay on for 15 minutes. Then, wash off with warm water. This is a good exfoliant.
- Almond face mask for dull and acne- marked skin:
1 tablespoon of almond powder added to 1 egg white, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice makes a good face mask to treat those battle scars got fighting acne. Make a thick paste; apply on the face; keep for 20 minutes and wash away with warm water.
Make almonds your travel companion on your journey to Health, Beauty, and Weight Loss. These are very reachable destinations if you choose a good organic brand of almonds of the best quality, fresh and chemical-free as nature intended them to be.
The oil content of almonds makes them prone to rancidity, so buy them from a reputable store which seals in the freshness and protects all the beneficial traits of these nutritious ‘nuts.’
The Almond Chronicles: Looking Good, Feeling Beautiful
By Terra Greens Organic
Beauty is never skin deep: the vitality of good health will give you a glowing skin and a pleasing figure. Have it all with nutrition-dense almonds.