- Categories : Food Almonds

Available on shelves all throughout the year, the almond has a particular and delicate flavour. The almond that we consider to be a nut is in fact the the seed of the fruit of the almond tree, a tree that is average in size with pink and white flowers. Like its cousins, peach trees, cherry trees and apricot trees, almond trees produce fruits whose stones are hard and inside which are "seeds" or almonds. Rich in lipids, the almond is an oilseed. If the almond is picked before maturity, its skin is still green (green almond): green and fresh almonds have a soft and milky flesh, with a delicate flavour. In France, it is in June and July when they are harvested. Once fully mature, the almond becomes dry. It may then be sold in its shell, shelled or even blanched.

Nutritional information

Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E and manganese. They also contain magnesium, copper, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and phosphorus. Very rich in lipids, the majority of almonds provide "good" fats (omega-3s). Moreover, almonds are perfect healthy snacks that will help suppress the appetite because they are very high in fiber (about 30%), for most insoluble.

Almonds and cholesterol

Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, the same as those that are found in olive oil, today recognised (1) as a food involved in reducing LDL cholesterol. In addition to their anti-cholesterol effects, the ability of almonds in reducing the risk of heart diseases may also be due to the antioxidant action of vitamin E contained in almonds, as well as in the lowering of LDL cholesterol induced by the consumption of almonds.

Almonds and diabetes

You are able to fight against diabetes and its consequences by reducing the increase in free radicals caused by cholesterol, which is accompanied by a rise in the rate of sugar in the blood. This is one of the reasons why a diet made up of foods with a low glycemic index contributes to reducing the risks of diabetes and heart diseases. After a meal, not only do almonds reduce peaks of glucose (2), but they also provide antioxidants for absorbing free radicals. Eating almonds therefore helps to reduce the Glycemic Index.

Eating almonds

Almonds can be eaten in different forms. As snacks, to accompany coffee or tea, or as an appetizer. Avoid grilled, salted or blanched almonds and favour whole almonds from integrated or organic farming. In drinks, consumed hot or cold. In spreads for toast at breakfast. In powders to be added when preparing soups, tart dough or pastry, cake dough or pastry, sweet or savoury crumble dough or pastry, etc. When you eat foods with a high glycemic index, "offset" the rate of glycemia with a handful of almonds (other foods have this property such as cider vinegar, for example).

You may have noticed that in recent months the price of almonds soared significantly! And all products are affected, from almonds loose to spreads. Why is that? California, which provides 80% of world production has been suffering from severe droughts. As a consequence, even if you buy almonds from another part than California, prices increase by aligning with the global market.

References: (1) Abbey M, Noakes M, Belling GB, Nestel PJ. Partial replacement of saturated fatty acids with almonds or walnuts lowers total plasma cholesterol and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol. Am J Clin Nutr 1994. (2) (Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Journal of Nutrition).

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