Crunchy, nutty and full of goodness - almonds when included in shakes, smoothies or desserts automatically take the delectability quotient a notch up. They work wonders as natural flavour enhancers by rendering a sweet, earthy aroma to the dish. If you like your food with added crunch, there is nothing like adding coarsely pounded almonds to your preparation. Sweet or savoury, these brown-cased nuts are versatile enough to get along with an array of preparations. Tossed in salads, baked into puddings, breads, cakes or simply added in curries, shakes, smoothies or candied - there is a world of quirky preparations that can be raked up and plated using these nutty delights.
Interestingly, almonds have been an active part of Ayurveda and home remedies since centuries in India. The essential immunity boosting powder, popularly known as churans/choorna as well as chyawanprash, make use of almonds. I remember my grandmother talking about badam pak, which would be mixed in milk and given to me twice a day. She believed that it induces good health, facilitates good digestion and strengthens immunity. My father would always soak two-three almonds and give them to me first thing in the morning, he believed them to be beneficial in increasing brain power.
All in all, there is no denying that almonds are a powerhouse of essentials Vitamins, minerals and nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. It should be a regular part of your diet. Nutritionists and health experts suggest snacking on a few of them as a mid-day snacking option to avoid binge-eating and facilitate energy replenishment. These humble nuts are easily available and can be one of the most inexpensive ways to ensure good health.
Health Benefits of Almonds: Just in case you need more convincing, take a look at the following points:
- These are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and protein- They aid in the smooth functioning of muscles
According to a Delhi based weight management expert, Dr. Gargi Sharma, it is better to consume soaked almonds. It is easier to peel off the covering when almonds are soaked and moist. The peel contains tannins, an element that obstructs nutrient absorption in the body.
"Soaking almonds release the enzyme lipase which is beneficial for digestion of fats. It also helps with weight-loss - the monounsaturated fats in almonds curb your appetite and keep you full".
- Almonds are a great source of antioxidants and aid in combating ageing- Soaked almonds are loaded with Vitamin b17 which contains cancer fighting properties.- These help in reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and improve HDL (good cholesterol)- Soaked almonds are a good source of folic acid- Those allergic to milk or gluten can give almond milk a try. It is packed with protein, Vitamin D, calcium, fibre and other essential nutrients like potassium, copper, selenium.
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