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Powerhouse of Nutrients-Almonds

Dr. Nidhi Luthra

Almonds have versatile qualities, are a tastier nut, rich in calcium, dietary fibre, protein, amino acids, vitamin E and are known to bring down cholesterol levels.

The Almond tree is a native of the warmer parts of western Asia and of North Africa, but it has been extensively distributed over the warm temperate region of the Old World, and is cultivated in all the countries bordering on the Mediterranean.

The tree has always been a favourite, and in Shakespeare’s time, as Gerard tells us, Almond trees were ‘in our London gardens and orchards in great plenty.’ There are many references to it in our early poetry. Spenser alludes to it in the Fairy Queen:

‘Like to an Almond tree mounted hye,
On top of greene Selinis all alone,
With blossoms brave bedecked daintly;
Whose tender locks do tremble every one
At everie little breath that under Heaven is blowne.’

Shakespeare mentions it only once, very casually, in Troilus and Cressida: - ‘The parrot will not do more for an Almond’ - ‘An Almond for a parrot’ being an old simile in his days for the height of temptation.

The Almond belongs to the same group of plants as the rose, plum, cherry and peach, being a member of the tribe Prunae of the natural order Rosaceae. The shell of the Almond is a yellowish buff colour and flattened-ovoid in shape, the outer surface being usually pitted with small holes; frequently it has a more or less fibrous nature. Sometimes it is thin and friable (soft-shelled Almond), sometimes extremely hard and woody (hard-shelled Almond). The seed itself is rounded at one end and pointed at the other, and covered with a thin brown, scurfy coat. The different sorts of Almonds vary in form and size, as well as in the firmness of the shell. The fruit is produced chiefly on the young wood of the previous year, and in part on small spurs of two and three years growth.

Almonds are a rich source of mono-unsaturated fats that are heart friendly.

Almonds are nutritious and have versatile qualities. Almonds are a tastier nut - rich in calcium, dietary fibre, protein, amino acids and vitamin E. You can have almonds throughout the year safely, even in summer.

Almonds make a healthy snack option: if substituted carefully, almonds can provide a powerhouse of nutrients without actually causing weight gain.

The almond is a plant based food that contains no cholesterol - 90 percent of the fat is unsaturated and regular consumption of almonds has shown to help bring down cholesterol levels. A handful of almonds a day as part of a balanced diet keeps cholesterol at bay.

A study with nurses in the Harvard Nurses Health Survey revealed that eating 1 ounce of nuts, approximately 23 almonds eaten with skin, five or more times weekly may help prevent Type II diabetes and heart disease.

Almonds are low in carbohydrates but have a dietary fibre content of 10 percent. Because of this low glycaemic load, almonds can come in handy to prevent diabetes with a regular exercise schedule.

Go Nutty with Some Almond Recipes

Green Beans with almonds (Serves 4)
  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • 4 cups water, salted
  • 3 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 Tbsp slivered almonds
(1) Clean and trim green beans. Simmer in lightly salted water until just tender, about 30-45 minutes. Drain and put in serving dish.

(2) Put remaining ingredients (except almonds) in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add the almonds and stir briefly to coat.

(3) Pour the oil mixture over the green beans and toss gently until beans are thoroughly coated. Serve warm.

Chicken sandwich with almonds
Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.
3 Cups chicken broth or water
2 Whole boneless chicken br***ts with skin (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved
1 Cup mayonnaise
1/3 Cup minced shallot
1 Teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves.
24 Very thin slices homemade-type 1/2 cup finely chopped smoked almonds (about 2 ounces).

In a deep 12-inch skillet bring broth or water to a boil and add chicken br***ts in one layer. Reduce heat and poach chicken at a bare simmer, turning once, 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and cool chicken in cooking liquid 20 minutes. Discard skin and shred chicken fine.

In a bowl stir together chicken, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, shallot, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste.

Make 12 sandwiches with chicken salad and bread, pressing together gently. With a 2-inch round cutter cut 2 rounds from each sandwich.

Put almonds on a small plate and spread edges of rounds with remaining 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, shallot, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste.

Put almonds on a small plate and spread edges of rounds with remaining 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, shallot, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste.

Nutritive Value

The outstanding value of the almonds as a source of special nutrients needed in the diet is indicated by its nutritive value: (per 100 g of edible portion)

 

Moisture
5.2
Calorific value
655
Protein
20.8
Carotene Vit. A.
trace
Fat
58.9
Vitamin B1
240
Minerals
2.9
Nicotinic acid
2.5
Fibre
1.7
Carbohydrates
10.5
Calcium
0.23
Phosphorous
0.49
Iron
3.5
Source: Fruits Books, written by Ranjit Singh.

Snack Healthy with Almonds

Almonds make a healthy snack. They can provide a powerhouse of nutrients without a healthy causing weight gain.

Keep Cholesterol at Bay

A regular consumption of almonds has shown to bring down cholesterol levels.

 


 

 

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