Ancient Indian Ayurvedic practitioners believed that almonds were capable of increasing brain capacity, intellectual ability and longevity. I believe it too!
Despite being classified as a nut by most people, almonds are actually seeds, or pits, from the fruit of an almond tree. When cracked open, they are packed full of core nutrients needed for a new plant to grow, contained within the delicious nut meat we enjoy eating. The scientific name of these dry fruits is Prunus dulcis, a species native to the Middle East, India and North Africa. The United States, however, is now the world’s largest producer of almonds.
The nutritional attributes of almonds are as abundant as the nuts themselves. Notably, researchers have awarded high marks for the superfood’s contribution of magnesium, a mineral found lacking in many people’s diets. Optimum magnesium intake can have a favorable impact on health conditions such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Almonds offer the antioxidant properties of vitamin E, zinc and phytosterols. They also contain significant levels of copper, iron, calcium, protein, fiber, manganese, riboflavin, phosphorus and quite a few healthy fats as well. Studies have confirmed the potential dietary benefits associated with enhanced brain, skin, hair, bone and dental health, regulation of cholesterol levels, prevention of heart disease, strengthened immune system and reduced inflammation.
Few superfoods measure up to almonds when it comes to being available, affordable, appetizing and versatile in the ways they can be consumed. Due to the energy-rich density, moderation is urged for a daily almond-sourced food intake not exceeding 20 or 30 grams.
The taste of almonds ranges from sweet to bitter and both are readily available in supermarkets.
Sweet almonds are edible, while bitter ones are used for making oil, commonly added to foods for flavor. Almond milk is also a delicious and more nutritious beverage alternative to cow’s milk. For baked goods, almond flour can be combined with other gluten-free flours or coconut flour.
Almond butter offers endless possibilities as a tasty spread or ingredient for making breakfast and snack treats, including natural drinks. It’s not only healthy and delicious, but super easy to make. Try the recipe below for homemade almond butter and a simple way to enjoy it. Prepared almond butter can also be purchased in markets and stores, including the Nutrición con alma (eat local) brand at Organic and Natural Almacen in Tamarindo.