Almonds have a rich history not only as a culinary ingredient, but also as a medicine. In the Middle Ages, almonds were called "the king of nuts", modern research has proven that almonds are truly unique in their nutritional and medicinal properties.
Types of almonds
The almond is a stone fruit of an extremely beautiful, decorative almond tree. Currently, two types of almonds are grown - sweet (Prunus amygdalus dulcis) and bitter (Prunus amygdalus amara). Sweet almond kernels are edible both raw and processed, they have a sweet aroma and a pleasant taste. Bitter almonds contain about 2-3% of the glycoside amygdalin, which, in the presence of water and certain enzymes (also contained in the human digestive tract), releases deadly hydrocyanic acid. Only 6-7 nucleoli of raw bitter almonds are enough to poison an adult. At the same time, thermally processed bitter almonds become harmless. Bitter almonds in their raw form have an astringent, bitter taste. It is smaller and has a sharper tip. For medicinal purposes, sweet almonds are consumed raw, almond milk is prepared from it, essential oil is squeezed out of both types of almonds.
To make almond milk, grind 6 tablespoons of almonds and 500 ml of filtered boiled water in a blender. Strain through a fine sieve or gauze filter and store in the refrigerator.
Nutritional value of almonds
Raw almonds contain 22 grams of protein and 20 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams of product. Protein consists of essential amino acids, is a structural element of cells, necessary for the production of nucleic acids and red blood cells. Carbohydrates are a source of energy. The same dose of almonds contains 12 grams of dietary fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels, prevent constipation and reduce appetite. Almonds and a source of monounsaturated acids, zinc, potassium, iron, B vitamins, vitamins A and E, selenium, manganese and magnesium.
Almonds contain essential amino acids, which are so lacking in vegetarians who refuse animal protein.
Almonds contain gluten, a property that makes almond flour suitable for baking cakes and cookies. Delicious almond desserts can be consumed even by people with wheat food allergies and diseases such as celiac disease.
Almond milk can be drunk by people with lactose intolerance.
Benefits of almonds for the digestive system
Almonds are helpful in treating chronic constipation. If you eat 10-15 tonsils before bedtime, in the morning you will not have problems with stool. If constipation bothers you irregularly, then almond oil will come to the rescue. Just 7 grams of sweet almond essential oil diluted in a glass of milk will make you feel a significant improvement very soon.
Almonds and the cardiovascular system
The high content of monounsaturated fats noted in almonds is beneficial to the cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of various diseases by 30%. Magnesium, also present in the almonds, expands the walls of veins and arteries, facilitating the flow of blood, and, consequently, oxygen and nutrients to all organs in general and to the heart muscle in particular. Studies have shown that low magnesium levels not only lead to heart attacks, but also contribute to free radical damage to the heart muscle. Antioxidants contained in almonds are good for the heart, blood vessels, reduce the risk of diabetes, as well as some other chronic diseases.
Almonds help to cope with anemia, as they contain about 1.5 mg of copper per 100 grams of nuts. Copper, along with iron and vitamins, serves as a catalyst for the synthesis of hemoglobin.
Health Benefits of Almonds for Skin, Hair and Nails
Almonds relieve irritation in skin conditions, especially eczema and psoriasis, as well as redness, rashes and itching. Massaging your face regularly with almond oil will help you reduce wrinkles or prevent early formation. The same remedy is effective in combating acne. Almond oil applied to the skin around the eyes will remove black circles underneath. By rubbing almond oil into the scalp, you will avoid hair loss, dandruff and maintain a rich color for longer, avoiding premature gray hair.
Almonds taken internally, through alpha-tokferol (a form of vitamin E), will nourish the hair and skin, leaving the former shiny and silky, and the latter shiny and smooth.
Other health benefits of almonds
Almond emulsion is useful for bronchial diseases, hoarseness and coughing. The tryptophan found in almonds promotes brain health, good memory, and reduces stress levels. Almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, nutrients that increase brain activity, including reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. The high content of B vitamins, in particular folic acid, makes almonds useful for pregnant women, as it is this acid that helps reduce the possibility of birth defects in newborns.
Almonds contain oxalates, so they are not recommended for people with kidney and gallbladder disease. If you are allergic to almond oil, your skin may begin to swell, so test the product on a small area near the back of your hand before using.