Almonds are the most popular tree nuts that have been incorporated in many customary recipes across countries, continents, and cuisines. Apart from its mild earthy fragrance and crusty texture, the almond nut supplies a host of health benefits for heart, brain, skin, hair and digestive health, making it a wholesome food.
Almonds are scientifically termed as Prunus dulcis or amygdalin. It belongs to the family Rosaceae. In India, these aromatic nuts are called “Badam” in Hindi. The almond tree is native to Iran and southern Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, India, and Sri Lanka. Mediterranean climates with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters are preferable for Almonds. However, due to the fantastic health benefits of almonds, the plant is extensively propagated and cultivated in warmer parts of North America, Australia, and several other nations around the globe. Almonds are the seeds of a fruit that are widely grown of all the nut crops.
- Almond in Ayurveda:
The time-tested Indian practice of medicine, Ayurveda boasts of the umpteen health merits that almonds offer, for physical and mental well-being. The ancient Ayurvedic scholars claimed that these seeds were effective in treating anxiety and depression, anemia, as well as blood sugar levels in diabetes. Myriad herbal concoctions were prepared using almond extracts and used as plant-based medicine, which has been utilized to heal heart, brain, skin, and hair problems.
- Effect on Doshas:
Almond has a madhura rasa (sweet taste) with intrinsically light and dry qualities. It possesses ushna virya (heating potency), balancing the kapha (earth and water) dosha (element) while excessively influencing pitta (fire and water) and vata (air and ether) doshas. Moreover, it fosters positive and equalizing states of mind namely sattva and rajas, effectively eliminating tamas or a negative mindset. Almonds pacify Vata, lubricates the skin, and supports the seven dhatus, especially Shukra dhatu. People with Kapha imbalance should consume Almonds in small quantities. People with high Pitta should avoid almonds.
- Consuming soaked Almonds
Almond skin is hard to digest. Hence, Ayurveda recommends blanching them by soaking. It helps their digestibility and nutrients availability. The brown peel of almond contains tannin which inhibits the absorption of nutrients. The peel comes off easily with soaked almonds. Hence, allowing the nut to release nutrients. If consumed without soaking, Almonds can aggravate Pitta. The best way is to soak them overnight. Place almonds in a bowl, add warm water to fully cover them, and sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 8–10 hours. Drain the water and remove the skin for a smoother texture. Store them in a container. These soaked almonds will last for a week and you can consume them as per your requirement. Consume up to 6 almonds in the morning and evening. Almonds should not be eaten on an empty stomach. Consume it with milk, grains, or vegetables to avoid Pitta imbalance.
- Almonds promote heart health, prevent weight gain, and helps fight diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s. They are also effective in lowering blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
- Soaking almonds may make it easier for the stomach to digest, which can increase the absorption of nutrients. Soaked almonds are easy to chew and digest. Soaking almonds help release lipase, an enzyme that aids the body to digest fat.
- Almonds are low in carbs but high in protein and fiber – the two nutrients that increase feelings of fullness. Hence, reducing the overall calorie intake. Consuming a few pieces of soaked almonds on a regular basis may help you lose weight. It may boost the metabolism, which is linked to weight loss. Almonds can also help lose belly fat.
- Almonds are high in vitamin E which promotes alertness, preserves memory, and prevents cognitive decline. Vitamin E has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Hence, almonds are considered ‘brain food’. Get your daily dose of fat-soluble antioxidant to keep your brain sharp as well as healthy.
- Research suggests that consuming a handful of almonds daily can reduce LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol while maintaining HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol. Almonds contain high levels of unsaturated fat which does not raise the risk of LDL linked to heart disease.
- The magnesium content in almonds can help control blood pressure. Many people especially those with type 2 diabetes don’t get enough of it. Magnesium is important for managing blood sugar levels besides other bodily processes. Getting an adequate amount of magnesium can help improve metabolic syndrome and blood sugar profiles.
- For radiant, blemish-free, glowing, healthy skin, consume a handful of soaked almonds. The antioxidants in almonds, particularly vitamin E, can help reduce the signs of aging and protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals.
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- Almonds are filled with vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, healthy fats, magnesium, vitamin E, and other essential antioxidants. Since they’re high in calories, ensure that you stick to recommended serving sizes to get the most benefits.
- Almonds are a rich source of folate which aids labor and prevents neural tube and congenital heart defects in the baby. Soaked almonds increase the bioavailability of folate.
- Almonds contain plant protein, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients are great for preventing cardiovascular diseases. Soaked almonds contain polyphenols and antioxidants that may prevent heart diseases.
- Consumption of soaked almonds may help in enhancing metabolism, thereby boosting energy levels. Almonds contain riboflavin and potassium that help in increasing energy metabolism.
- The insoluble fiber in soaked almonds may help in relieving constipation. It regulates the bowel movements in the intestine, thereby reducing the symptoms of constipation.
- The almond paste helps improve hair health. Soak almonds overnight. Add Olive oil and make a paste to prepare a hair mask. This natural conditioner repairs severe hair damage reduces frequent hair fall and helps to grow new hair follicles. Consuming soaked almonds or applying the paste on the scalp provides nourishment to hair and makes it stronger.