Did you know that people on weight loss can actually snack on almonds to lose weight? The high amount of dietary fiber present in this dry fruit makes it an ideal snack for people trying to slim down. Apart from this, almonds are nutrient dense food with a whole lot of hidden benefits which we will uncover today.

Tidbits about Almonds

The almonds were native to Middle East and South Asia. It was then transported to other parts of the world chiefly in to Africa, Southern Europe, and West Asia.

One of the interesting things about this fruit is that the wild variety of almond is bitter and poisonous. When you chew the seeds, the component, glycoside amygdalin, present in the seed gets converted to the acid hydrogen cyanide, which is very fatal to human beings. But the domesticated or commercial almonds are devoid of the glycoside amygdalin and thus are safe for consumption. It still remains a mystery as to how the sweet almonds were domesticated from the wild poisonous variety.

Nutritional Importance of Almonds

This nutrition packed nut has a whole lot of health benefits as you will discover here.

  • Almonds are very beneficial for brain growth and activity. They are especially great for growing children whose brain is developing as they contain good amounts of manganese and phosphorous.
  • Almonds when taken regularly is said to reduce bad cholesterol and increase the level of high density lipoprotein.
  • Almonds contain generous amounts of potassium, monounsaturated fats, protein, vitamin E and magnesium making them ideal for heart. They are said to reduce the incidence of heart attack, stroke and other heart related diseases.
  • Almonds also contain folic acid which is a great food for pregnant mothers.
  • Almond milk, oil etc is good for enhancing skin complexion. A massage with almond oil can make your skin soft, supple and smooth. That is why many face masks, hair conditioners, scrubs contain almond in them.
  • Apart from these benefits almonds are also known to reduce blood pressure, diabetes, colon cancer and constipation related problems.

Blanched Almonds/ Soaking Almonds Overnight

Young children are often given soaked almonds in the morning. Did you ever wonder why? When you soak almonds with their outer skin, the nuts become easily digestible. The hard to digest beta starch of the almonds is converted in to easily digestible starch. Their nutrients are also easily absorbed in the body.

Almond Usage

Almonds are most often eaten raw, salted, blanched or roasted. They are also used in sweets and culinary dishes. Pastries, cakes, ice creams, biscuits, macaroons are tastier because of the addition of these crunchy nuts. Almond oil, butter, flour (gluten free, hence good for diabetic patients), milk, syrups are also available. In India and Pakistan it is mainly used in milk drinks, sweets, meat dishes and as salted snacks. In Italy, Morocco, Paris the almond is used while making macaroons, pastries and other desserts.  And in Middle East region it is used while preparing rice, curry delicacies etc.

Almond Beauty Recipes

As a beauty regime here are a couple of almond remedies you can try out.

Almond Cleanser:

Mix powdered almond (around 6 to 8) with two spoons of milk or milk cream and add a bit of lemon juice to the mixture. Now apply on face for a few minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. The vitamins present in almonds can soften skin while lemon is great for acne. You can also make a scrub using powdered almonds, milk, honey and chickpea flour.

Almond Hair Pack:

To make your hair smooth try out this almond and avocado recipe. Mix half a banana with one avocado. Crush six to eight almonds and add a bit of olive oil to this mixture. Stir and allow the mixture to settle down for about 15 minutes. Now apply on your hair, wait for 30 minutes before rinsing your hair with warm water.

Some Healthy Recipes to Try Out With Almonds

  • You can make almond cookies using unsalted butter, sugar, wheat flour, baking soda, vanilla extract and raw almonds.
  • Almond soups can be prepared with broccoli, pepper, milk cream. These are not only tasty but healthy as well.
  • Along with sesame seeds, add sliced almonds to get a wonderful winter chikki.
  • Almond cup cakes can be prepared using ginger, cloves, flour, eggs and raisins.
  • You can also make honey almonds for kids. Just mix honey, water and olive oil. Bring it to boil. Then add roasted almonds to it. Once the honey is absorbed by almonds allow it to cool before sprinkling sugar and salt mixture on it.

A Note of Warning

The recommended daily intake of almonds is a handful of nuts or about 1/3 cup. But do remember that they are high fat food. Also check if you are tolerant to almonds. Some people can suffer from mal-absorption of almonds in the body and can suffer from gas, stomach pain etc.