Almonds are packed with healthy nutrients. Just a handful of almonds a day can make a significant contribution to supplying the body with important vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals. The drupe can be used in a variety of ways. We enlighten you about the superfood.
Almonds are a nutritious snack between meals. They taste good in both hearty and sweet dishes. Roasted almonds are a classic at every fair. Almond butter is particularly popular with vegans and health-conscious people. We’ll tell you what’s so healthy about nuts.
Almond Tree: Origin of Almonds
The almond tree (Prunus dulcis) is best known for its beautiful flowers. In spring they bloom in a soft pink color. The almond blossom is usually between January and April. When the flowers fall from the tree, solid drupes emerge that are initially light green and later dark brown. They can reach a length of up to five centimeters and a diameter of up to 3.5 centimeters. If the fruits are ripe, they will burst open over time. The stone core emerges, which is woody and usually very hard to crack. The almond is in the stone core. The fruits are ready for harvest in late summer.
Almonds are often categorized as nuts. Strictly speaking, however, these are not nuts at all, but the stones of drupes . Nevertheless, their composition is similar to that of other nuts such as walnuts.
The almond tree feels particularly comfortable in a warm climate with long summers and short winters. In Germany, wine-growing areas are suitable for growing almond trees. The tree can grow up to an altitude of 1800 meters. Although the almond tree also grows in Germany, it is mainly grown in warmer areas. The warmer the temperatures, the better the almond can ripen.
Almost half of the almonds harvested worldwide come from the USA, more precisely from California . In 2017, more than a million tons of almonds were harvested there alone . In general, almonds can be classified into three different categories. There are sweet almonds, cracked almonds and bitter almonds . The individual types of almonds come from different types of trees.
- Sweet Almonds : Sweet almonds are best recognized by their light brown, roughened skin. They are ideal for raw consumption and are often used for baking, for roasted almonds and for the production of liqueurs.
- Cracked Almonds : Cracked almonds are especially popular around Christmas time. They can also be eaten raw. The shell of the almond kernel is usually easy to crack.
- Bitter Almonds : One should refrain from eating bitter almonds raw. They contain amygdalin, which can produce toxic hydrocyanic acid. The characteristic smell of hydrocyanic acid is also strongly reminiscent of bitter almonds.
Almonds are so healthy: their effects
Almonds are extremely healthy. They have numerous great effects that can support the healthy functioning of the body. In addition, unlike other nutritious nuts such as cashew nuts, they should not make you fat. Many of the active substances in the almond are located in or under the shell. Therefore, almonds should preferably be eaten unpeeled. We will explain the effects of almonds to you.
Almonds contain numerous nutrients with important functions for the body. If you eat a handful of almonds every day, you can already absorb many important nutrients. One serving (about 30 grams) already contains around 6 grams of protein , important vitamins, fiber and essential minerals. Although almonds – like other nuts – contain a lot of fat, it is mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that the body needs for various metabolic processes.
Among other things, almonds contain important B vitamins , vitamin E and the provitamin A beta-carotene . Calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, folic acid and fluorine are also present in the nutritious nuts. They thus provide an all-round package of essential nutrients and can optimally support the body.
However, so that the body can also use the important nutrients, the almonds should be chewed well. If you swallow the nuts too hastily, they are heavy in the stomach and important nutrients cannot be utilized.
- Calories 612 kcal
- carbohydrates 4.5 g
- Protein 29,1g
- Fat 55g
- Dietary fiber 11.4 g
- Vitamin A 0,02 g
- Vitamin E 26.22 g
- Vitamin B1 0,22 mg
- Vitamin B2 1,01 mg
- Vitamin B6 0,14 mg
- iron 3.7 mg
- Zinc 3.1 mg
- Magnesium 268 mg
- Potassium 705 mg
- Calcium 264 mg
- Phosphor 484 mg
For the immune system
Some nutrients in almonds can act as antioxidants in the body. This includes vitamin E , among others . This can protect the cells from so-called free radicals, which could otherwise damage them. Free radicals are caused, for example, by UV radiation and air pollution. Just a handful of almonds can cover a large part of the daily requirement of vitamin E.
To lose weight
Almonds have numerous effects that can support the weight loss process. Among other things, they are said to reduce appetite and counteract cravings for sweet and fatty foods. A handful of almonds a day can already promote this effect. One of the reasons for this is the high fiber content in almonds. Dietary fibers ensure a longer feeling of satiety and can promote a healthy intestinal flora . However, if you consume too much fiber, you can suffer from digestive problems such as flatulence .
In addition, the high magnesium content can ensure a good metabolism . Magnesium is involved in numerous processes in the body and is essential for muscle and nerve function in particular. In addition, zinc also plays a crucial role in sugar, fat and protein metabolism. Even a portion of almonds a day can contribute significantly to the absorption of the important trace element. Nevertheless, one should not overdo it with the consumption of nuts. One serving (about 30 grams) already contains around 170 calories .
For young looking skin
The consumption of almonds is also recommended for beautiful, young-looking skin. Again, vitamin E plays a role here. Not only can antioxidants boost the immune system and protect against numerous diseases, they also play a role in maintaining soft skin by protecting skin cells from damage. Polyphenols , which belong to the secondary plant substances, can also have an antioxidant effect.
In addition, almond oil , which is extracted from almonds, is a real miracle cure for beautiful skin. Particularly dry skin types benefit from the valuable oil, which is rich in unsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid, which protects the skin. The oil can be applied to the skin either pure or in the form of a cream.
For a healthy cholesterol level
Almonds are also said to lower cholesterol levels. This is due to the high content of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids . While saturated fatty acids have a negative effect on cholesterol levels, unsaturated fatty acids can counteract elevated cholesterol levels. A study confirmed the effectiveness of almonds in relation to unhealthy LDL cholesterol. This could be reduced with a regular consumption of around 40 grams of almonds a day, while the good HDL cholesterol remained.
For a healthy intestinal flora
The intestine is not only essential for healthy digestion, it also plays a role in many other processes in the body. A disturbed intestinal flora can, among other things, promote acne and be the cause of many other ailments that you might not associate with the intestine at first. A healthy intestinal flora is also essential for the immune system.
A balanced intestinal flora is primarily promoted by a balanced diet. Almonds can provide important fiber that supports the intestinal flora and thus a healthy body. With the help of essential fats and nutrients, the growth of the important lactic acid bacteria can be promoted, which promote a healthy digestive process. Again, it is advantageous to chew the almonds sufficiently so that they are easier to digest.
control blood sugar levels
Almonds are also said to help control blood sugar levels, so they can be a good addition to a diabetic’s diet. People suffering from type 2 diabetes in particular can benefit from the effects of almonds. According to a study , these can have a positive effect on insulin levels after a carbohydrate-rich meal and keep them low. If carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread and pasta are eaten together with almonds, this can counteract an increased insulin level.
For a healthy cardiovascular system
The effective nuts can also ensure a healthy cardiovascular system. The valuable nutrients in almonds can sometimes reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and thus have a protective effect on the heart. It is assumed that the fiber, healthy fatty acids and polyphenols in the almonds are responsible for this.
Regular consumption of almonds can also have a positive effect on blood pressure and ensure lower blood pressure. The strong antioxidant effect of the contained vitamin E can protect against cell damage and thus also support the cardiovascular system.
Use almonds correctly
Almonds not only taste good, they are also very versatile and can be used in many different ways. Raw, for example, they are a good snack between meals, plant-based milk is an excellent alternative for those with lactose intolerance , and when made into a puree, they make a delicious spread.
Although almond butter has always been made from almonds, it has only been known in this country for a few years. The delicious mush is ideal as a spread , but can also be a great addition to cooking . Almond butter is often used by vegans as a cheese substitute for gratinating casseroles and other oven dishes. To do this, the mush is diluted with a little water and seasoned with salt and pepper. The rich mush is also suitable for the production of almond milk.
There are two different types of almond butter. While light almond butter is made from peeled almonds, dark almond butter is made from unpeeled almonds. Dark almond butter is full of valuable ingredients. On the other hand, light almond butter is creamier.
Almond butter is an excellent source of protein and rich in important nutrients. However, you should not eat too much of the mus. Although it is very healthy, it is high in calories . However, it can also be integrated into a diet. It is suitable, for example, for a low-carb diet and clean eating .
Make almond butter yourself
Regular consumption of almond butter can be very expensive in the long run. You pay between seven and ten euros for a glass of the versatile spread. However, you can also make the mousse yourself. It is advantageous to have a high-quality blender so that the almonds can be crushed well.
Before you start, you should first decide whether you want to make light or dark almond butter. If you choose light mush, you should peel the almonds beforehand. We recommend soaking the almonds in a little water overnight before preparing them. On the one hand, the questionable phytic acid in the almonds is lost, on the other hand, they can be processed more easily into a mush. It also helps to roast the nuts in the oven beforehand.
After soaking and toasting the almonds, add them (without the water!) to the blender. The mixer should be powerful so that the preparation of the almond butter really works. First, grind the almonds into almond flour on a low setting . After that, turn on the mixer on low and then slowly turn it up. Be careful not to overheat the blender.
After you have worked the flour for about a minute, you should let the mixer cool down for about ten minutes. This allows the valuable almond oil to escape, turning the flour into a mush. Repeat the process several times until you get a creamy consistency .
When the mousse is creamy enough, you can pour it into screw-top jars. The almond butter can be kept for several months. Sometimes it can happen that a little liquid forms on the mush. However, this is not a sign that the purée is bad. The liquid is simply stirred into the mush before consumption.
Almond oil can be used for cooking as well as for hair and skin care . When buying, you should make sure that it is sweet almond oil . This is made from sweet almonds, which are also suitable for consumption. Cold-pressed oil is of particularly high quality, since most of the nutrients are retained in the oil.
High-quality almond oil is gently yellow in color and contains important vitamins and fatty acids for skin and hair care. Linoleic acid , which makes up around 20 percent of almond oil, and palmitic acid , which makes up five percent of almond oil, deserve special mention . With the help of these components, almond oil can, among other things, help with skin irritations and support the healing of damaged skin – for example due to UV radiation. Vitamins A , E and the existing B vitamins also have excellent effects on the skin and can protect it from premature skin aging .
Almond oil is very suitable for hair care. It protects the hair from harmful environmental influences and provides a lot of moisture . It is also suitable for treating dry scalp . It can care for dry and brittle hair and provide a silky shine . It is also suitable for the care of eyebrows and eyelashes. Sometimes the valuable oil can even stimulate hair growth and thus ensure beautiful and well-groomed eyebrows and eyelashes.
Almond milk is a tasty and healthy alternative to cow’s milk. It is suitable, for example, for people with lactose intolerance , for vegans and people who want to avoid conventional milk for various reasons. The milk is now available in numerous supermarkets, drugstores and health food stores at a reasonable price.
However, you can easily make almond milk yourself. The procedure here is very similar to that used to make almond butter. First, soak the almonds in water overnight, then toast them in the oven for a few minutes before powdering them in a high-quality blender.
The powder is now mixed with a little water and left to stand for a few hours so that a slightly thicker and milk-like consistency is created. The liquid is then passed through a sieve so that any remaining pieces of powder are sifted out of the milk. If you want, you can sweeten the finished milk. Your own almond milk is ready.
Almond milk is in no way inferior to cow’s milk. It can be used in cooking and coffee, drunk raw and even frothed. The unsweetened version only contains about 15 calories per 100 milliliters and can therefore also be drunk during a diet.
Blanched Almonds: Peel the almonds
For example, if you want to make light almond butter, you have to peel the almonds before preparing them. This sounds complicated and time-consuming at first, but with a few tips it is easy to do.
Almonds almost peel themselves if you let them steep in boiling water for about ten minutes and then rinse them with cold water. Then you can gently rub them together with a clean towel. In this way, most of the shells are already detached from the almonds. If there are a few unshelled almonds left, you can easily remove the shells with your fingers.
To make almond butter and almond milk, you must first roast the almonds in the oven. To do this, preheat the oven to around 160 degrees circulating air and spread the almonds evenly on a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper beforehand. The almonds need about ten minutes to toast. Sometimes you have to turn them in between.
Alternatively, you can roast the almonds in a coated pan. You should avoid adding oil. Roasting takes about three minutes at a medium temperature . The almonds should always be kept in motion so that they do not burn. It is advisable to remain standing at the stove while the almonds are toasting.
You can easily make ground almonds yourself with a good blender, but you can find them in almost every supermarket at a reasonable price. They are excellent for baking and are used in numerous cake and cookie recipes because they ensure a light and moist texture . Ground almonds are often interchanged with almond flour, but the two products differ significantly from each other.
While ground almonds are simply crushed almonds, almond flour is de- oiled and therefore lower in fat and calories . This ensures that almond flour is an excellent substitute for other types of flour, as it absorbs liquid just as well. It is ideal for people with gluten intolerance who have to do without wheat flour products. However, almond flour is less suitable for making bread and rolls. However , pizza dough, cakes and pancakes are great to make with almond flour.
Roasted almonds are a popular and sweet snack that tastes good both around Christmas and at the funfair in summer. The delicious candy can be refined with various spices such as cinnamon and chilli and can also be easily made at home. Due to the high sugar content and their calorie density , roasted almonds are not particularly healthy and are real fattening foods. However, as an occasional snack and in moderation, the delicious candy can be consumed.
Make roasted almonds yourself
You can make roasted almonds yourself without much effort. In addition, the delicious candy is prepared within minutes. The ingredients for making the roasted almonds are inexpensive and often already available in the kitchen. For the preparation you need sugar, water, almonds and, if necessary, vanilla sugar.
Put the almonds in a saucepan with the sugar and water and let everything boil until the water has evaporated. If necessary, the vanilla sugar is used now. Simply add this to the pot and stir until the vanilla sugar melts and sticks to the almonds. Place the almonds on a baking sheet to cool.
You can buy almonds in any conventional supermarket. There are ground almonds, almond slivers, almond butter, almond milk and almond flour. The price varies significantly depending on the product. While ground almonds are usually available for around one euro, a jar of almond butter costs between seven and ten euros.
Conventional products are also cheaper than organic quality. Products such as ground almonds and almond slivers can be found in almost every supermarket. Almond butter and almond flour is often only available in organic quality and in selected supermarkets and drugstores. There are also many products available for purchase online. Here it is worth comparing prices to save a little money .