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Almonds: What's in This Nut? - Modern Alternative KitchenModern Alternative Kitchen

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I’m sure you know that almonds are a great whole food to include in your diet, but did you know ¼ cup contains more protein than an egg?  Almonds are also high in antioxidants which can reduce the occurrence of all kinds of health problems.  Read on to find out more on these nutritional powerhouses!

 All About Almonds

While we think of almonds as a nut, our little friend is actually a seed.  Almonds belong to the same family as peaches and cherries.  They grow on trees that produce beautiful pink and white flowers.  The almond tree’s fruit is fuzzy and green.  When ripe, it cracks open and the almond seed falls out.  Almond season occurs in mid-summer.  Luckily for us, the seeds keep well throughout the year so we can usually find them year round! 

Tercerintento

Tercerintento

There are two types of almonds: bitter and sweet.  Sweet almonds are the ones we are all familiar with eating.  They have a slightly sweet and buttery flavor.  Bitter almonds are used to make almond oil and almond extract.  They are inedible (and toxic) in their natural state so don’t try and eat these!

What’s in this Nut?

thiery49

thiery49

Almonds are full of restorative nutrients!  They contain large amounts of healthy fats and protein; this means you’ve got a snack that will fill you up– and those aren’t empty calories! Almonds contain high amounts of manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, iron and calcium.  All that in a tiny nut!  Almonds are also a good source of Vitamin E and some B vitamins.  If you eat the skins, you can also gain some flavonoids.

The Amazing Almond

I’m sure you can figure out that eating almonds can have all sorts of beneficial effects! Listed below are just some of the benefits of including almonds in your diet.

Almonds can:

  • reduce heart disease
  • reduce cholesterol
  • lower high blood pressure
  • decrease blood sugar rises after meals
  • increase energy levels
  • help prevent gallstones
  • help growth of beneficial bacteria in gut

Go Get Them!

It’s best to buy your almonds raw and “raw” almonds in the store aren’t really raw, they’re pasteurized.  Yup, those nuts are required to be treated before they get to the store shelves.  That pasteurization kills the enzymes needed to reduce phytic acid and help us digest nuts.  You can read more on phytic acid here.

Fear not, you can find truly raw almonds online.  I’ve bought mine here and have been happy with the quality, but there are several places that sell them.  Just make sure they specify that they have not been pasteurized.

If you choose to get your almonds in the store, you’ll also want to make sure they are fresh.  Nuts keep longer in the shell so those are a safe choice, but not always practical.  Nuts sealed in their containers will also keep longer than the nuts in bulk bins.  I like to choose the most economical choice though, which is usually the bulk bin.  If you do buy bulk, make sure there is a high turn over rate for the almonds so you are getting the freshest option.

Keep them Fresh!

It’s best to soak and dehydrate/bake your almonds as soon as you get them- before storing.  This way you can ensure maximum breakdown of phytic acid.  Since almonds have a high oil content, they can go rancid and it’s best to only keep what you will use in a couple of weeks in your pantry.  Store your almonds in the fridge (for a couple months) or the freezer (for up to a year).

Almond Attraction

I might be partial, but I think almonds are one of the most versatile nuts.  Not only do they make a great grab-and-go snack, but they are an excellent addition to baked goods, salads, grain dishes, a dairy free milk option- and don’t forget about baking with almond flour!  With so many ways to use almonds, it’s pretty easy to incorporate these nuts in your diet.

Recipe: Honey Glazed Almonds

Since it’s the holidays, I wanted to share a simple recipe that is not only great for parties and gatherings, but also makes a great real food gift.  I use soaked and dried nuts for these to increase their nutritional availability- who says a party snack can’t be healthy?  You can also put these on this fabulous Cranberry Spinach Salad!

[amd-zlrecipe- recipe:28]

Need some more inspiration?  Below are some yummy recipes that should provide some almond eating motivation!

Sources:

How do you enjoy almonds?

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10 Comments

  1. Wow, very interesting thank you. I didn’t know almonds were actually a seed. This makes me feel so much better about eating them. For some reason I feel easier eating a lot of seeds rather than nuts.
    I have recently started baking with almonds so it’s great to know more about them.
    Raw Almonds are extremely expensive when shipped to the UK so I’m not eating them raw at the moment but do aspire to do this at some point in my life!

    Reply

  2. […] Why you should be eating almonds /* If you liked this post, please share it, thank you.Pin It Food ← Peppermint Hot Cocoa Lip Balm Recipe […]

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  3. I love almonds. I actually buy them in bulk from a national chain and eat them right out of the bag. My husband and I recently bought a Vitamix and we are going to try and make almond butter for Christmas presents. We will see how that goes. 🙂

    Reply

    • Hey Janet, let me know how that works for you. I’ve tried to make almond butter in my Vitamix and it never worked well. I make mine now in my omega juicer but a food processor also worked well for me. I think the shape of the Vitamix jar makes it difficult to get good circulation of the thick butter.

      Reply

  4. Those almonds look delicious! I don’t really like almonds by themselves…unless they have something really yummy done to them. Thanks for this great post and recipe, Laura!

    Do you think it does any good to soak and dry almonds if they aren’t truly raw to begin with? I’ve been buying them in sealed packages from the grocery store, labeled raw.

    Reply

    • That’s a great question Joanna! I should have included a note on this in my post. Almonds that have been pasteurized will still sprout so it is still beneficial to soak or sprout them before eating. They will probably still have a higher level of phytic acid than truly raw ones but the soaking or sprouting still increases their digestibility.

      Reply

  5. almonds are fantastic! and while baking them might help preserve them, it also makes them taste a billion times better too 🙂

    thank you for sharing with us at the wednesday fresh foods link up! i’m looking forward to seeing what seasonal & real/whole food posts you have this week. hope to see you there! xo, kristy

    Reply

  6. […] lunch meat and raw cheese sourdough English muffin sandwiches, crispy almonds, fresh grapes (when locally […]

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  7. […] Almonds have tons of benefits and are a favorite in our house. Our favorite benefits are increased energy levels and the fact that they help with the growth in benefitcal bacteria in the guy. You can read more about them at Modern Alternative Kitchen. […]

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