Almonds are a commonly used nut. But did you know that these almonds which are referred to as nuts are not true nuts from the botanical point of view? They are indeed the edible seeds of almond trees. They are nuts in the culinary sense. Almonds are one of the earliest cultivated foods and have a mention in the Bible too. It holds some meaningful depictions according to various cultures. The health benefits of almonds make them very valuable.
- They were a symbol of watchfulness and promise in the Hebrew Bible due to their early flowering.
- The Chinese consider almonds as a symbol of female beauty and enduring sadness.
- Christian symbolism often uses almond branches as a symbol of the Virgin Birth of Jesus. Paintings and icons often include almond-shaped haloes encircling the Christ Child and as a symbol of Mary.
- The Romans shower newlyweds with almonds as a fertility charm.
- Almond trees flower early in the spring making them a symbol of new life.
- In Sweden, there is a Christmas custom of finding an almond hidden inside a cinnamon-flavored rice pudding. Finding it gives you good fortune for a year.
Hidden Facts About Almonds
Since time immemorial Dry fruits and Nuts have been a staple in the human diet. We just read about the ancient depictions of almonds. Let us have a look at some amusing facts about it:
- According to superstition, eating almonds before taking a drink reduces your chances of getting drunk and having a hangover.
- It takes about 1000 pounds of almonds to make 1 pint of almond oil.
- Around 40% of the world’s total almonds are used in making different types of chocolate by chocolate manufacturers.
- There are around 30 varieties of almonds, however, only 10 of them are used for human consumption.
- The outer shells of almonds are not eaten by humans but are used as cattle feed all over the world.
- Almonds are members of the rose family and are sometimes called, “the queen of the rose family.”
- There are two main types of almonds. One variety produces sweet almonds, which are edible. The other variety produces bitter almonds, which are used for almond oil and used in the manufacturing of flavoring extracts for foods and liqueurs, though hydrogen cyanide is first removed.
- California produces more than 80% of the world’s almonds.
- The pollination of Californian almonds is the largest annual managed pollination event in the world, with close to 1 million hives. It is nearly half of all beehives in the United States, which are trucked in February to the almond groves. A lot of the pollination is managed by pollination brokers, who contract with migratory beekeepers from at least 49 states for the event.
Health Benefits of Almonds
Almond offers extensive health benefits. It is one of the most nutritious nuts. From plain and roasted almonds to almond flour and almond milk, it is the star of every supermarket. We all know that almonds are beneficial but do we know why it is considered so healthy? Let us have a detailed look at the benefits of almonds and the properties that make them so healthy. Check out our blog ‘Meal Prepping: Useful Tips & Recipes’ and get ideas about including almonds in your meals to avail yourselves of all its benefits.
- Rich Source Of Vitamin E:
Almonds are among the best sources of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an essential nutrient from the family of fat-soluble antioxidants. It plays a vital role in decreasing inflammation and reducing oxidative damage besides many other functions.
- Power-Packed With Nutrition:
Almonds contain several B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium. It also has zinc, selenium, copper, and niacin which is very beneficial for the overall health of the body. Almonds are also high in phytic acid, an antioxidant that binds certain minerals and prevents them from being absorbed. Almonds are also rich in plant-based protein.
- Nourishes The Skin And Hair:
Almonds are rich in flavonoids and Vitamin E. It can be very nourishing for your skin and helps fight hair issues and repair damaged hair. The oil of sweet almonds has been traditionally used by massage therapists to lubricate the skin during a massage session. It is considered to be an effective emollient.
- Helps In Controlling Blood Sugar Levels:
Research suggests that almonds may contribute to better glycemic control. Nuts are low in carbs but high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. This makes them a perfect choice for people with diabetes. Another benefit of almonds is their remarkably high amount of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that is useful in blood sugar control. This makes almonds beneficial in controlling the blood sugar level.
- Aid In Maintaining The Blood Sugar Levels:
Almonds also prevent many diseases. The high amount of magnesium in almonds helps lower blood pressure levels. High blood pressure is one of the leading reasons for heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. Eating almonds regularly maintains optimum magnesium levels in the body, which further maintains the blood pressure and helps to avoid such diseases. Studies show that deficiency in magnesium is strongly linked to high blood pressure.
- Help Lower Blood Cholesterol:
Almonds are also beneficial in lowering blood cholesterol. Several clinical trials demonstrate that the consumption of almonds can help reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol while maintaining or possibly increasing HDL levels. Almonds do more than just lowering the LDL levels in the blood. They may also protect LDL from oxidation, which may otherwise lead to the development of heart disease. One human study showed that snacking on almonds for one month lowered oxidized LDL cholesterol levels by almost 14%.
- Rich In Protein:
Almonds are a rich source of protein. They offer a high amount of protein per gram which is 21.2 grams of protein per 100 grams. Protein is a main component of the human body that is responsible for building every tissue including muscles, bones, skin, and hair. Protein intake is also essential for creating energy, enzyme production, and metabolism.
- Aids Weight Loss:
Almonds are low in carbs and high in protein and fiber. Protein and fiber increase the feeling of fullness. Due to their satiating properties, nuts are a great addition to an effective weight loss diet as they help in eating fewer calories. Additionally, eating nuts can slightly boost the metabolism.
Almonds are a protein-rich powerhouse of nutrition. It is a versatile seed that is used as a snack, as a seasoning, and sometimes as a flavoring ingredient too. Check out our Instagram post about this healthy almond salad bowl. It is ground to make almond flour. This almond flour when combined with sugar or honey as marzipan is often used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour in cooking and baking. Almonds are also used to make almond butter, which is the best alternative for people who suffer from a peanut allergy and cannot eat peanut butter. Almond milk has a creamy texture and a nutty taste. It does not contain any cholesterol or lactose and can be consumed by lactose-intolerant people and others who wish to avoid dairy products, including vegans. With so many uses and innumerable health benefits, the Himalayan Natives Almonds are as close to perfect as a food can get.