Ah almonds... I've had a love hate relationship with them... till a few years ago when this turned into a definite love relationship!
I use to love them salted... or sugary (they are so good coated with sugar and cinnamon!).... However, trying to eat as healthy as possible, I knew there was good stuff in them but that I should skip the salt and sugar! Therefore you get my love/hate thing right? Love the salty and sugary one but hated the raw plain ones! Until I really learned to taste them! They actually have an exquisite taste on their own but I had to learn it. Kind of. I did so by eating soaked almonds. In that state, they become much more flavourful AND nutritious!
Soaked almonds are really easy to do: cover them with water overnight on the counter - the next morning, you rinse them out a couple of time, add fresh water to the jar and store in the fridge for up to a week rinsing and changing water every other day.
As for their nutritional value, here it is:
They are a very good source of (based on a 1/4 cup serving):
biotin (49% RDI), vitamin E (40% RDI), copper (26% RDI) and vitamin B2 (18%)
and a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, molybdenum and fiber.
Because of their high content of monounsaturated fats, they can actually decrease your risk of heart disease by up to 45% if they are used to replace saturated fat from animal source. They lower your LDL cholesterol lever (that is the bad cholesterol). Another reason why they could decrease your risk of hearth disease is their high content of vitamin E a powerful antioxidant. The magnesium they contain could also protect your heart from permanent damages in case of a hearth attack.
Eating almonds also decreases the blood sugar level and therefore may prevent diabetes in the long run. Therefore, if you know you are having a meal with a high glycemic index, why not add a few almonds to it?
Another reason why they protect your heart? They contain an unique combination of al least 20 flavonoids in their skin - some of which can be found in green tea and grapefruit. This is why you should eat almonds WITH the skin!
Further studies have shown that diet plans containing the same amount of calories and protein but one being enriched in almond (good monounsaturated fats) and the other higher in complex carbohydrates, the one enriched in almonds has shown better results in term of body fat reduction and waist circumference reduction. The same diet has shown that amongst people with type I diabetes using the almond enriched diet, a decrease of 96% of their medication was observed.
It also has been shown that people who eat almonds (and other types of nuts for that matter) on a regular basis tend to gain less weight then people who do not and in general eat better quality food.
As weigh gain is also associated to hearth disease and diabetes, this, to me, are more reasons to eat almonds!!!
As for the reason they are better soaked, it's because the water actually activate the enzyme they contain and make the nutriments in them more easily accepted and assimilated by our bodies.
Now, don't go and eat 1lb of them per day... as for everything else, moderation is best... they are after all high in calories! I would say that 1/4 cup per day would be enough! I usually have a portion of 15-20 almonds. I like to have them with dry apricots or dates. The combination of nuts and dry fruits has proven very effective to provide your body with lasting energy. Especially a few hours before a yoga session or a right after...
And if you do not like the taste of them you can always add them to smoothies or ground them and add to you pasta sauce or banana bread mix! Or muffin???
p.s. about storage- it is recommended to store almonds in the fridge! I personally transfer them to a glass jar and they keep very well!
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