Almonds (Prunusdulcis; Prunusamygdalus) are considered the most nutritious of all nut varieties. Almonds are native to the Middle Eastern, South Asian and North African continents. The almond although not a true nut, is actually a fruit with an outer hull, hard shell and seed. Almost all almonds are sold without the shell which is referred to as "shelled" almonds. Almonds grow on a 13 -33 ft. high deciduous tree. The almond fruit measures 3.5 - 6cm in length. Almonds come in various products, including almond butter, almond flour and almond extract. These tiny fruits are extremely beneficial to health. They are high in monounsaturated fatty acids and contain no cholesterol. Because of the health benefits of almonds, they are extremely popular in today's market.
Benefits of Soaked Almonds
Almonds are consumed, most often, soaked as they are extremely healthy. Soaked almonds are also beneficial as a cosmetic product. Everything from Vitamin E, protein, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and niacin, omega-3 as well as omega-6 fatty acids etc. are all packed in this tiny fruit. Below are some of the ways in which almonds help your health.
- Digestion - Soaked almonds are excellent for improving digestion. For example, when soaked, almonds release enzyme inhibitor that protects the seed till germination. As a result, it's easier for people to digest the fruit. Soaking the almonds also releases enzyme lipase that is beneficial to digest fats, which has been proven by the Institute of Food Research.
- Weight Loss - Soaked almonds are excellent for weight loss. Monounsaturates present in the almonds, inhibits appetite. Eating almonds, therefore, prevents you from overeating, which aids to lose weight. Consuming 1 soaked almond can help reduce 10 pounds of your body weight. If you wished to gain weight you should eat fewer almonds, and eat more if you wished to lose weight.
- Cardiovascular Diseases - Soaked almonds are excellent for lowering cholesterol. They increase high density lipoproteins (HDL), the "good" cholesterol and lower low density lipoproteins (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol. Moreover, Vitamin E in the soaked almonds acts as antioxidants which lower heart disease risks. And folic acid present in almonds helps clear clogged arteries. Eating soaked almonds can also reduce inflammation, which ensures that your arteries are not damaged.
- Cancer - According to the Adventist Health Study, soaked almonds also contain vitamin B17 which is vital for fighting cancer. Almonds that contain rich amount of Vitamin E and low levels of saturated fats also minimize the risk of cancer. In addition, breast cancer risk is significantly reduced as soaked almonds contain flavonoids that suppress tumor growth.
- Diabetes & Blood Pressure - Soaked almonds are beneficial in lowering glucose levels and high blood pressure. When you consume soaked almonds with low calorie meal, this can decrease levels of sodium, insulin and blood sugar, and increase levels of protective antioxidants and magnesium, as a result, regulating diabetes and hypertension.
- Pregnancy - Soaked almonds contains folic acid which can greatly reduce the incidence of birth defects happening to newborns. Therefore, women are recommended to consume more soaked almonds during pregnancy.
How to Soak Almonds
Chewing and digestion is made easier with soaked almonds. However, you should know how to soak the almonds properly in order to receive its full health potential. To do this, you should purchase raw, organic almonds. Following shows the procedure of soaking almonds.
- Place raw almonds in a glass.
- Add 2 cups of water per ½ cup almonds.
- Almonds should be soaked overnight.
- Drain and store in the refrigerator in plastic bags or jars.
- Proper storage ensures they remain fresh for approximately 1 week.
Sprouting for More Health Benefits
Further health benefits of almonds can be obtained by going one step further. This is called sprouting. This is the best method of ensuring the release of enzyme lipase for fat digestion.
- Soak almonds overnight for 10 to 12 hours.
- Rinse and place them in a jar in the fridge.
- Sprouting can be seen after one or three days in the fridge.
Add a serving of few almonds to your meals to enjoy the health benefits it brings. Soaked almonds are the best, but if you are running out of time, pop some dry almonds and chew on your way to work or while working at home to give your body a healthy quota of nutrients and essential oils.