Discover the incredible weight loss benefits of almonds, how to best prepare them and how much you should eat to get maximum benefit from almonds – one of nature’s amazing fat burning foods.
We consider almonds to be nuts, but in reality they are seeds from the fruit of the almond tree. However, similar to a peach pit that is found in the center of a peach, these seeds are encased in a shell in the fruit of the almond tree.
Covered by a hard shell, the meat of the almonds is off-white, with a thin, grooved, brown skin. That is the reason that we consider them to be nuts: they are chewy like nuts, have the same consistency as nuts, and they are good for you, too!
Almonds can be divided into a couple basic types. Almonds may be sweet or bitter. The ones we eat are the sweet almonds. These oval-shaped almonds are on the malleable side and have a buttery taste. They can be purchased with or without shells in the stores. Plus, you can buy almonds that are whole, slivered, sliced, blanched (with skins removed) or unblanched.
There are toxic substances in bitter almonds and they cannot be eaten. However, they undergo careful processing and are utilized in the production of almond oil.
Almond oil (almond extract) is utilized as a food flavoring; it is also used to make liqueurs like Amaretto. When almond oil is processed, all the toxins are removed.
It is possible to buy almonds throughout the year in grocery stores, health food stores and whole foods markets.
Fat Burning Benefits of Almonds
In addition to being delicious, almonds are quite beneficial to your health — they can even help burn fat.
Almonds do have calories as well as fat, but it’s the good fat — the monounsaturated fat — that reduces cholesterol and assists in the prevention of strokes and heart attacks.
In addition to being a good source of dietary fiber, almonds are loaded with nutrients, including Vitamin E, manganese, potassium, magnesium, tryptophan, copper, riboflavin and phosphorus.
Almonds contain fiber that aids in shedding pounds and maintaining weight loss. This may be because the fiber in almonds helps satisfy you, making you feel fuller so you consume less. In addition, fiber helps digestion, provides energy, makes stools bulky, and speeds up the process of removing toxins from the body.
Tryptophan found in almonds also helps you feel full and satiated. Most likely, you will consume less at this meal as well in later meals.
Tryptophan causes serotonin to be released in the brain. This makes you feel good, assisting in controlling moods and fighting stress.
Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, is found in almonds. In addition to assisting in the lowering of cholesterol and providing cardiac protection, Vitamin E helps enhance circulation, promotes proper blood clotting and wound healing, relieves PMS and may shield women from developing some kinds of breast cancer.
Phosphorus is contained in almonds and it is required for the health, growth, development and repair of bones. Present in white blood cells, it also boosts sexual function, makes vital nutrients available to the nerves, and is critical for brain and muscle tissue. Phosphorus supplies energy, aids in protein digestion and sugar breakdown too.
Manganese provides energy by metabolizing fats, carbohydrate and protein. In addition, it keeps blood sugar levels stable and is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system as well as proper growth, development and repair of teeth and bones.
Almonds contain magnesium that boosts circulation and oxygen levels in the system. In addition, magnesium shields you from free radical damage, boosts energy, and assists in maintaining healthy bones, arteries and heart. Magnesium assists in the metabolization of fats, protein and carbohydrates; it also enhances digestion.
Potassium found in almonds decreases blood pressure, regulates water balance in cells, keeps muscles strong, and releases energy from fats, carbohydrates and proteins during metabolism. In addition, potassium may assist in shielding you from becoming obese and developing cardiac problems, diabetes, and renal disease. It acts to keep your bowels moving and it rids your body of toxins. In addition, potassium relieves stress and reduces confusion and irritability.
Riboflavin, a B vitamin, facilitates the conversion of food into energy within the body. It also promotes growth of strong hair and nails, and it may be helpful in treating carpal tunnel syndrome and cataracts. In addition, riboflavin is required for the production of neurotransmitters, which are helpful in providing emotional health and well-being.
Copper facilitates nerve function and bone growth, in addition to helping the body use sugar correctly. In conjunction with Vitamin C, it produces elastin, a connective tissue. In addition, copper is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect us from dangerous free radicals and helping to decrease our chances of having a heart attack or a stroke.
Preparation of Almonds
It is possible to purchase packages of almonds at your local grocery store. You can find them sold in bulk in whole food and health food outlets.
If you purchase large quantities, be sure that the vendor has a regular turnover of their bulk items so you can be sure the almonds are fresh. Check the nuts, which should be stored in a covered container, for any insects or debris. Nuts that are shriveled, limp or an off color should be avoided. Give the almonds a sniff; what you want is a sweet and nutty smell. If they smell rancid or bitter, do not purchase them!
Store almonds in an airtight container that is placed in a cool, dry location. Avoid exposing them to heat and light, particularly direct sunlight. If refrigerated, they will keep for a few months; if frozen, they will last for approximately a year. Keep in mind that almonds that have been cut into pieces or slivers will turn rancid faster than whole almonds. Unshelled almonds will last the longest.
How to chop almonds: To easily chop the almonds, place them in a food processor and use the pulse function. However, be careful that you do not run it too long. If you do, you will end up with almond butter.
How to remove the skins from almonds: It is possible to remove almond skins by blanching them quickly. As soon as the skin begins to swell, remove it. Drain and rinse using cold water. Last, use your thumb and forefinger to pinch. Then you should be able to remove the skin with ease.
As far as recipes go, you can eat them raw all by themselves. In addition, sprinkling whole, slivered or chopped almonds on salads makes them taste great. Mixing almonds with a variety of fruits and nuts, you can create your own trail mix.
Did you pulse your almonds too long and end up with almond butter? You can add that to a breakfast or protein shake for a great taste sensation.
Some other ideas include chicken salad with almonds, green beans with slivered almonds, cold rice salad with currents, almonds and garden peas. Adding sliced almonds is a great way to enhance any veggie dish. Almonds combined with fruit and yogurt provides a fast, healthy snack.
There are a great many dessert options that contain almonds. Following are just a few yummy dessert ideas: Pear-almond calfoutis with red wine glaze, almond biscotti, almond rice cookies (low fat), almond granola, raspberry almond torte, toasted almond cheesecake.
What Quantity Should Be Eaten?
A handful of almonds, or about 1/4 cup, is the average serving size. When a recipe specifies the use of almonds, follow the recommended portion size and ingredient measurement. A single portion of dry roasted almonds is 206 calories.