According to archaeological finds, the almond tree was cultivated as long ago as 3000 BC and, thanks to its early flowering, has remained an enduring symbol of watchfulness and promise that was mentioned in the bible several times. Yet did you know that the organic almond is also a mineral rich superfood that can offer a number of health benefits, making it an extremely relevant addition to our modern diet?
Indeed, this nutritious and exceptionally delicious snack can help boost our energy levels, strengthen our immune system, combat obesity, stimulate muscle recovery and growth, balance cholesterol levels, prevent high blood pressure and reduce the risk and manage the symptoms of many of the contemporary diseases currently plaguing our society, including Parkinsons, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis (brittle bones), arteriosclerosis and diabetes.
Below we investigate three astounding health benefits attributed to organic almonds in more detail. But first, more about amazing almonds…
Almonds grow on the almond tree (Prunus dulcis), which is native to Mediterranean Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. Raw organic almonds, which are available in both peeled and unpeeled varieties, are an alkalising superfood that is rich in vitamins (such as vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B11 and antioxidant vitamin E), minerals (including potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, selenium, iron, copper, zinc and phosphorus), fibre, vegetable protein, monounsaturated fatty acids (like oleic and palmitoleic acid) and folic acid. They are traditionally used to prepare almond paste, marzipan, nougat, almond oil and almond milk – a healthy alternative to cow’s milk that’s extremely suitable for those who suffer from a lactose intolerance or wish to avoid dairy products – and due to their high concentration of polyphenols have been a popular ingredient in skin care products since ancient Egyptian times.
Organic almonds for healthy teeth and bones
We all know that calcium is essential for strong teeth and bones, however, calcium also works closely with another important mineral that plays a crucial role in bone health – phosphorous. The NHS positively recommends consuming 550 mg of phosphorous, in addition to 700 mg of calcium per day, not only to promote healthy teeth and bones, but also to help prevent osteoporosis – a debilitating condition that causes bones to become weak and fragile and more likely to break and, although commonly associated with post-menopausal women, can also affect men, younger women and children. Organic almonds contain a whopping 25% of our recommended calcium intake (20-25 almonds contain as much calcium as 1/4 cup of milk) and around 14% of our recommended phosphorous intake per every 100 g serving, thus making them an ideal superfood for those wishing to benefit from healthy teeth and bones and avoid osteoporosis or any other disease related to the skeletal system, such as arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatism.
Organic almonds for a strong heart
Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests that when foods known to lower cholesterol levels, such as almonds, are combined with a healthy diet, they can significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels, the type of cholesterol most associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. That’s because organic almonds contain large amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic and palmitoleic acid (the same type of health-promoting fats that are found in olive oil and avocado), which have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, folic acid, which balances homocysteine levels and helps to prevent arteriosclerosis, magnesium, a deficiency of which is linked to a greater chance of heart attack, potassium, a mineral that maintains normal blood pressure and heart function, and vitamin E, which can help to prevent artery walls from damage.
Organic almonds for demonstrable weight loss
Many of us purposely avoid eating nuts when trying to lose weight, believing them to be too high in calories. Yet, whilst nuts are high in fat (heart-healthy monounsaturated fats), regular nut eaters are thinner on average than those who rarely consume nuts (data from the Nurses’ Health Study). Organic almonds are packed with fibre that promotes healthy digestion and delays the absorption of nutrients (resulting in a prolonged feeling of fullness), minerals including manganese, copper and magnesium and B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin and biotin, which are integral to the cellular processes that trigger energy production within our body, as well as high levels of protein – increasing the amount of protein and healthy fat in your diet, whilst simultaneously reducing the quantity of carbohydrates results in demonstrable weight loss. In fact, a study in the International Journal of Obesity demonstrated that those eating a restricted diet with added almonds shed considerably more weight than those on the same restricted diet with the same calories of added complex carbohydrates, despite the fact that the almond enhanced diet consisted of 39% total fat and the complex carbohydrate diet only 18% total fat.
Organic almonds – the responsible snack between meals
Organic almonds are an especially responsible snack between meals, a filling addition to raw salads, breakfast cereals and trail mix and a delicious ingredient in sweet treats such as raw chocolate, cakes and biscuits.
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