The Joy of Almonds
By Fiona Breslin
Almonds are native to the Middle East, but are grown now in many other places, including California. The healthy properties of the nuts are extolled by beauticians and nutritionists alike. Nutritionists love the powerful food benefits of raw almonds, while beauticians use their emollient oil to soften and repair dry skin and remove dark circles under the eyes.
Outer beauty notwithstanding, almonds really are an excellent source of nutrition for the inner you. Low on the glycemic index, 1 ounce of almonds (about a handful), contains 35% of the daily value of antioxidant vitamin E and 6 grams of protein. They are a source of calcium and iron, and of the healthy monounsaturated fats that the American Heart Association has linked to lowering bad cholesterol.
Raw almonds can be bought whole, blanched, sliced and chopped, or ground into almond flour and paste for use in baking and confectionary. The best way to enjoy almonds, and to get the most from their nutritional properties, is to include them in every part of your diet. Spread almond butter on toast, sprinkle toasted almonds on salads, fruit or oatmeal, substitute ground almonds for flour in cakes and cookies, and last but not least, replace sugary snacks with whole raw almonds.
Almonds have many uses. See how to use ground almonds with whole-wheat pastry flour in CFYL’s Chocolate Marble Cake recipe. For a healthy lunch or dinner recipe, toast some almonds, measure out some whole-wheat pasta and make Cook for Your Life’s Spicy Pasta with Kale and Almonds. With more vegetables than carbs, this dish packs great taste with great nutrition.
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