Worried about weight gain?? Many people think that this is because they eat nuts and seeds. But, studies have concluded that eating nuts as part of a healthy diet is good for the heart. It is understood that nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients and are a great snack food — inexpensive, easy to store and easy to pack when you’re on the go.
Among nuts, almonds are one of the oldest and most widely grown crops in the world. Here, through this article Dr. Jignesh K Kevalia explains the different ways almonds can be consumed for most effectiveness.
Raw Almonds or Soaked Almonds?
Choosing between soaked almonds and raw almonds isn’t just a matter of taste, it’s about picking the healthier option. Soaked almonds are better, because the brown outer covering of almonds that peels off while soaking contains tannin which inhibits nutrient absorption and may aggravate acid in blood. Once you soak almonds it can be peeled off smoothly and this allows the nut to release all nutrients easily.
It is advisable to soak enough quantity of almonds in water. Cover them and allow it to soak for atleast 8 hours. Drain the water, peel off the skin and store them in a container. These soaked almonds will last you for about a week and you can consume them as per your requirement.
Raw vs. Roasted
Almonds are available in a variety of preparations and it is tough to understand which is the healthier option. Raw, unsalted almonds are a safe bet, but some people prefer the roasted taste. Both raw and roasted almonds have a high dose of nutrients and minerals. Raw almonds have more naturally occurring beneficial fats while roasted almonds lose some of these beneficial fats while roasting. Dry roasted almonds have the same amount of calories as raw almonds, while almonds roasted in oil contain slightly more calories.
Ways to Consume: Almonds may be consumed as such or along with dates and raisins to subsidize its hot nature. Because of its hot properties it is adviced to consume only a handful of almonds in the day preferably in the morning and evening. It should not be taken as such in an empty stomach, but should always be mixed with other foods such as milk, grains or vegetables, to avoid Pitta imbalance. Since they are so versatile, you can add them to most of your dishes. You can sprinkle and add chopped almonds on puddings and also to muffins and breads.
You can even mix them in your grains and cook them together. Add toasted almonds to your salads, or blend them with the salad dressing. Toasting enhances the flavor of the nuts and helps their digestibility. Make an almond milk shake or a fruit smoothie for a satisfying drink. Mixed with walnuts, sunflower seeds, dates and raisins, they provide a delicious and nutritious snacks. Spread organic almond butter on your bread for breakfast. Since they go with everything, there is no excuse for not including them in your diet.
They lubricate the skin and the microcirculatory channels and support all the seven dhatus (tissues), especially Shukra dhatu (reproductive tissue). Almonds are also good for Pitta, but people with Kapha imbalance should eat them in small quantities. Due to their heavy quality, you need a strong agni, or digestive fire, to metabolize them. If your agni is low, strengthen it first before you take almonds. The only people who should not consume almonds are those with high Pitta in the blood.
You can add almonds to almost every meal and cuisine. Almonds are used in Mughlai cuisine and to prepare sweet dishes. Almonds have a nutty yet pleasantly sweet taste. They can be enjoyed in both salted and unsalted forms. Roasting almonds before serving them brings out their crunchy taste and their healthy oil.
The sweetened almond drink is a very popular Indian beverage which is made by using almond milk. Blend almond milk, fruits, and frozen yogurt to make a delicious smoothie.
Almond skin is edible, but has a bitter taste. If you do not like the bitter taste, then you can remove the skin. Purchase whole almonds and cut it just before using it. Blanched almond works well as an attractive garnish on cakes, cookies and other sweets. Almond paste is used in the preparation of soups or vinaigrettes to add body and nutrition.
Slivered blanched almonds are sprinkled over desserts, particularly sweet dish and ice cream. Diced almonds work best for stuffing and coatings. Almond is also used to prepare almond butter, which tastes simply amazing.
There are other forms of Almonds one can have as per their tastes like
Almond Cookies, Almond Biscuits, Almond Flour, Almond Syrup, Almond Milk, Almond Oil.
Things to Know:
- California is the world’s largest producer of almonds.
- 473ml of almond oil is obtained from 453kg of almonds.
- 40% of the almonds produced are utilized in the chocolate industry.
- Weight Gain
Almonds can also cause weight gain, Consuming almonds in large amount can result in gaining weight. The suggested amount of almonds is 1 ounce that is 23 almonds, which contains 164 calories and 14.36 g of fat.
In case you eat around 4 or 5 ounce almonds daily without maintaining your diet plan in accordance of calories your body requires each day can make you weight gain.
- Drug Interaction
Almonds are high in manganese. If you eat far too many almonds, especially if you already have a rich manganese diet, this may possibly induce drug interactions.
Excessive amounts of manganese in your blood can get in the way with some antipsychotic drugs, and also antacids, laxatives, blood pressure medications and certain antibiotics.
- Overdose of Vitamin E
Around 7 mg vitamin E is present in 1 ounce of nuts, approximate one-half the quantity you require on a daily basis.
Too much amount along with other Vitamin E supplements may lead to stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, tiredness or blurred vision.
In a nutshell Almonds are aphrodisiac, brain-Tonic, high fiber laxative, promotes- virility, build-semen, muscle tonic, skin tone enhancer, bone strengthener, nutritive, tonic.
Just a handful of nutrient-rich almonds a day helps promote heart health, prevents weight gain, and it may even help fight diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s. They are also effective in lowering blood sugar levels, reduces blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss.
“One drawback to nuts is that they’re high in calories, so it’s important to limit portions. But choosing nuts instead of a less healthy snack may just help you stick to a heart-healthy diet”.
Dr. Jignesh K Kevalia
Head, Dept. of Pharmacognosy
Indian Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Sciences,
Gujarat Ayurved University
M: 9016 4999 52