Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Seriously Healthy Handful!

“The Seriously, Healthy Handful” - that’s how the Almond Board of Australia markets their product.

I mentioned in my last blog that a good snackeroo to take with you when you’re out and about, to avoid indulging in muesli bars, chocolate, or a quick stop at the café, is a simple handful of almonds.

Fresh almonds are quick, dry (not messy), crunchy and they fit in a small box or bag in your car or in your pocket and provide you with valuable nutrition when you need a snack.

Nutrition Facts:
Amount Per 50 grams – that’s 1 good handful
Calories 288 (But this may be lower.  See later)
% Daily Value
Total Fat 24 g
Saturated fat 1.8 g
Polyunsaturated fat 6 g

Monounsaturated fat 15 g

Trans fat 0 g

Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 1 mg
Potassium 350 mg
Total Carbohydrate 11 g
Dietary fibre 12 g
Sugar 2 g

Protein 10 g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin B-6
Vitamin B-12

Almonds look high in fat, but if you’re not mixing fats with carbohydrates there’s no problem with weight gain (click here to see my blog article on this interesting fact).  Almonds in fact provide good protein levels for muscle maintenance and help with weight loss.

When we stock up our fresh almond supply I store them in the fridge or freezer in a plastic bag or an airtight container.  Whole natural almonds can be stored for about a year in this way without loss of quality (by the way, it’s the same with grains and flour – store them in dry conditions in your fridge or freezer).

Here are some other great things about almonds:

Almonds Improve Blood Cholesterol
Almonds lower LDL1 (bad) cholesterol levels. One study found that a 73g serve of almonds each day reduced LDL cholesterol by almost 10% while 37g, or around a handful, reduced LDL by around 5%. The consumption of almonds as part of a vegetarian diet which was also low in saturated fat, and high in plant sterols, soy protein and soluble fibre, was found to reduce LDL cholesterol by a third.2

New study shows whole, natural almonds provide about 20% fewer calories than originally thought                                                                                                                                                          
This study indicates that many previous studies of the measured calories that can be metabolised, may have been overestimated. Traditional methods overstated the calories from almonds because they do not account for the fat that is not fully absorbed. This is thought to be due, in part, to the fibre content and/or the rigidity of almond cell walls.1

Almonds come in many forms
Almond Meal, or as we call it in NZ “Almond Flour
Roasted Almonds – with tamari, with chocolate, just salted
Diced, Flaked, Blanched, Whole, Natural

And what about “Activated Almonds” - the latest thing?
To activate almonds simply soak them overnight in clean, filtered water.  I know from my botanical science background that the seed coats of all seeds, including almonds, contain germination inhibitors; among them phytates or phytic acid.3 Those on paleo diets can tell you all about phytates.  In our bodies phytates bind up certain minerals like iron and make it less available to us.  As soon as a seed is soaked in water an enzyme is produced that neutralises the phytate.  Soaking, in preparation for germinating, a seed or nut converts some of its starch into simple sugars and some of its protein to simpler amino acids.  This means “fuel” is available for the growing seedling and for us when we eat the soaked seed or nut.  Thus soaked or “activated” almonds are thought to be lower in phytates, with partially converted starches and proteins which are better for our digestive systems.  Read more:

Free Almond Recipes

Blood Orange, Almond & Coconut Cake

Warm Rosemary Almonds

As always, not being fanatical, just learning to be wise.

No comments:

Post a Comment