Almond is a species of tree, which is native to Middle East and South Asia. The seed of almond tree is edible and widely consumed all over the world. The fruit of almond is actually its drupe, which consist of an outer hull and very hard shell, which contains the seed inside of it. Almonds are often eaten raw, bleached or roasted, but they can as well accompany various dishes. Almost every place in the world has a traditional way of consuming almonds. For example, in Iran the almonds are eaten as a snack prepared when the green almonds are dipped in sea salt. This delicacy is called Chaqalu bâdom, and it is often sold and enjoyed on the street.
Nutritional information on almonds
Almonds are very beneficial to human health, since they present a rich source of vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, magnesium phosphorus and dietary fiber. Only 100 g of almonds can provide about 20g of carbohydrates and 2,418 kj (578 kcal). About 2% of total carbohydrate mass is actually dietary fiber. This portion also satisfies as much as 175% of recommended daily dose for vitamin E. Almonds are also gluten-free and even people sensitive to this compound may enjoy them freely or as a wheat flour substitute. Because of its nutritional profile, almond is often used in cakes and breads by people on carbohydrate-restricted diets.
Health benefits of almonds
Almonds have been used in traditional medicine for many ages. Ayurveda practitioners believe that the almond provides outstanding benefits for brain and central nervous system. In Greco-Persian system of medicine, Tibb Yunani, almond oil was considered a nutritive aphrodisiac with anti-inflammatory, immunity boosting, and anti-hepatotoxicity benefits.
High levels of vitamin E are certainly responsible for LDL-lowering effects of almonds. This powerful antioxidant helps the body to fight against free radicals, lowers the bad cholesterol levels, and prevents all kinds of diseases. Eating almonds on the regular basis, even in the small quantities, may help to prevent the risk of death from cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases. For additional effect, this nut combines the flavonoids found in almond skins with the vitamin E, to deliver supreme antioxidant effects and provide most heart healthy benefits. Almond’s healthy fats can also help one to lose weight.
Almond-enriched low calorie diet is demonstrated to provide 62% greater reduction in body mass index and even 50% greater reduction in waist circumference, than other types of low calorie diet. Moreover, eating nuts can help to lower the risk of weight gain, at least twice.