Almonds: The Health Benefits
J. A. Young
Although popularly termed as nuts, almonds are actually fruit according to a botanical definition. Whether you call it a nut or a fruit, an almond is a nutritious food that may offer many key health benefits. The following article details the healthful properties of almonds.
Of course, it must first be noted that this discussion regards the domesticated almond. Wild almonds can produce the deadly toxin prussic acid, also known as hydrogen cyanide, when the seeds are injured. Domestic almonds do not contain this unfortunate toxic potential. Instead, domestic almonds are used widely in cooking and for their health benefits.
Almonds have the ability to: lower blood cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and are nutrient-rich in both calcium and Vitamin C. Almonds have a high caloric content, but since they are so filled with nutrients, they make and excellent and healthful snack. By adding roughly one ounce of almonds to your daily food intake, you may be able to reap the health benefits offered by them.
Although almonds are high in fat, it is monounsaturated fat. This type of fat can help to maintain a level of good (HDL) cholesterol. Eating almonds can actually help people drop bad cholesterol levels, which is good for heart health. Additionally, the high Vitamin E content of almonds has been shown to help combat heart disease. In some studies conducted in the U.S.A., people who had a diet including walnuts and almonds suffered less incidents of heart disease.
Other important health news regarding almonds is that they are the richest non-animal source of calcium to be had. Calcium is important to maintain strong bones. Almonds may also help boost the immune system, provide anti-inflammatory relief, and provide anti-hepatotoxicity effects. According to Ayurvedic tradition, almonds provide important benefits for the brain and nervous system.
When eating almonds for their health properties, keep in mind that unblanched almonds are more nutritious and healthful than blanched almonds sold in packages. Ideally, almonds should be stored in a jar and refrigerated. Once opened, almonds are good for a couple weeks. When it comes to cooking, almonds have terrific versatility. They can be toasted or used raw in salads, desserts or with a main course of poultry or fish. Add some to an ice cream sundae or keep some in a Ziploc bag raw for times when a healthful snack is needed.
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