Almond is a light-loving and drought-resistant plant of the genus of pink plums. Ancestral Asia is home to this culture: there is evidence that in the Middle, Middle East and Transcaucasia almonds began to be grown several centuries before the beginning of our era. To date, the largest producers and suppliers of its fruits to the international market are the countries of the Mediterranean, China, the USA, Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Almond is a branched shrub, reaching six meters in height. The dark green leaves of the culture are oval-shaped with a pointed tip. Almond blossoms in February-April with small pale pink or white flowers. The fruit of the plant is a dry odnokostianka oval. Almond bones (which are called almond nuts) are also oval in shape, and their surface is densely dotted with small dimples and grooves. The fruits ripen in the second half of June or in July.
Sweet almond kernels are eaten unprocessed, salted, roasted and used as a spice in confectionery and liqueur preparations. Fresh fruits of the plant are used to make almond flour and milk, which is the most famous animal dairy substitute for vegetarians. Along with this, almonds and oil squeezed out of it are widely used both in official and traditional medicine (for the manufacture of medicines) and in the cosmetic industry (for the production of soap, creams, lotions, perfumes, etc.).
There are a few simple rules to follow when buying almonds. In order to choose tasty and high-quality fruits, you need:
- give preference to nuts sold in shell;
- make sure that the shell of the nuts is intact, and there is no light or red-brown coating on its surface;
- Make sure the nuts do not have a musty, rancid smell.
Store almonds in tightly closed containers (for example, in glass jars). Container with nuts put in a cool place, protected from sunlight and moisture.
Nutritional value of almonds and vitamins in its composition
Almond is a product with high nutritional value. The fruits of this plant contain an adequate amount of vegetable protein, fat, vitamins and other beneficial compounds.
Nutritional value 100 g almonds:
- 18, 575 g of proteins;
- 53, 699 g of fat;
- 12, 917 g of carbohydrates;
- 6, 698 g of starch;
- 5, 479 g of disaccharides, monosaccharides;
- 6, 844 g of indigestible dietary fiber (fiber);
- 4, 994 g of saturated fatty acids;
- 3, 653 g of ash;
- 3, 941 g of water.
Vitamins per 100 g of almonds:
- 3, 911 mg of vitamin PP;
- 0, 287 mg of pyridoxine (vitamin B6);
- 51, 916 mg of choline;
- 1, 491 mg of ascorbic acid (vitamin C);
- 0, 647 mg of riboflavin (vitamin B2);
- 0, 019 mg of beta-carotene;
- 0, 038 mg of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5);
- 24, 576 mg of tocopherol equivalent (vitamin E);
- 39, 597 µg of folic acid (vitamin B9);
- 6, 119 mg of niacin equivalent (vitamin PP);
- 2, 891 mkg of a retinol equivalent (vitamin A);
- 0, 246 mg of thiamine (vitamin B1).
- The caloric value of 100 g of almonds is 644, 898 kcal.
- The caloric content of 1 fruit of almond (average weight - 3 g) - 19, 347 kcal.
- Caloric content of almond flour - 601, 716 kcal.
- Caloric content of almond milk - 134, 121 kcal.
- Caloric content of almond oil - 817, 411 kcal.
- Calorie macaroons - 488, 132 kcal.
- Caloric content of marzipan - 478, 662 kcal.
Trace elements and macronutrients in the composition of almonds
Trace elements in 100 g of almonds:
- 4, 192 mg of iron;
- 2, 417 mcg of selenium;
- 138, 667 μg of copper;
- 2, 111 mg of zinc;
- 1, 918 mg of manganese;
- 90, 773 μg of fluorine;
- 1, 993 mcg of iodine.
Macroelements in 100 g of almonds:
- 272, 812 mg of calcium;
- 747, 488 mg of potassium;
- 38, 159 mg of chlorine;
- 233, 144 mg of magnesium;
- 472, 129 mg of phosphorus;
- 177, 836 mg of sulfur;
- 9, 814 mg of sodium.
Useful properties of almonds
- Almonds are a rich source of vegetable protein. Vegetarians and people who are forced to give up the consumption of meat and dairy products for medical reasons, can use the fruits of this plant to replenish the reserves of protein compounds in the body.
- In folk medicine, almond kernels are used as a fortifying agent.
- Almonds are a rich source of antioxidants. The daily consumption of almonds in food prevents the cells from aging too early, protects them from damage by free radicals, minimizes the risk of developing benign and malignant tumor tumors.
- Compounds present in almond composition help remove sand from kidney tissue. The fruits of this plant and dishes prepared on their basis are recommended for people suffering from kidney stones.
- Almonds and dishes based on it have choleretic properties.
- Substances present in almond kernels have a positive effect on the work of the spleen and liver.
- A water extract prepared on the basis of almond oil is used as a sedative and anesthetic for pains in the stomach or intestines.
- As part of almond there are substances that have a positive effect on the functioning of the hematopoietic system. Therefore, persons suffering from anemia, it is recommended to eat several fruits of this plant every time after eating.
- Almond is a natural analgesic.
- As part of the almond kernels there are compounds with anticonvulsant properties.
- Almonds are the most effective way to combat diseases that develop on the background of high acidity of gastric juice. For the treatment of pathologies belonging to this group, almonds are taken as follows: the first 3 days - 10 kernels each time before eating, the next 7 days - 20 kernels in the morning on an empty stomach.
- A daily intake of almonds and dishes based on it helps to increase brain activity, improve memory, increase concentration.
- Almond milk is an effective means of combating heartburn, inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and other disorders of the digestive system.
- The compounds present in the almond composition create conditions for the accelerated elimination of toxins and other harmful substances from the body.
- Regular consumption of almonds (2-3 kernels per day) contributes to increasing the potency in men, improving the composition of sperm and the processes of its production.
- Substances present in the composition of almonds have soothing properties and help reduce the negative effects of stress on the body. Regular consumption of the fruits of this plant helps to cope with insomnia and other somnologicheskimi disorders.
- Almond kernels are a natural appetite stimulant.
- Substances present in the composition of almonds, accelerate the regenerative processes and help speed up the process of recovery of the body after surgery.
- The almond-based cream is an effective remedy for stretch marks and helps women speed recovery processes after pregnancy and childbirth.
- Substances present in the composition of almonds, have a beneficial effect on the condition of the skin (help to increase their elasticity and elasticity, improve their shade) and hair (give them silky and healthy shine).
- According to traditional healers, almonds are an effective remedy for baldness in men. Fresh almond kernels are put in a mortar, poured with milk and triturated until a thick homogeneous mass. The mixture is rubbed daily in the affected areas.
Useful properties of almond oil
- Ointments prepared on the basis of almond oil have anti-cellulite properties.
- Almond oil is used to make masks and creams designed to combat excessive dryness of skin, peeling, acne, too large pores.
- Almond oil has light laxative properties and can be used to treat chronic constipation. In addition, it is used as an effective remedy for flatulence.
- Oil squeezed from almonds has anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties. For this reason, it is actively used for the treatment of bronchitis and other diseases of the respiratory tract, having an inflammatory nature (taken orally, 5 ml per day).
- Almond oil is an effective cough remedy. The product is taken together with sugar three times a day (5-8 drops of oil are applied to one piece of sugar).
- Oil squeezed from almond kernels is used to rinse with stomatitis and other diseases of the soft tissues of the mouth.
- Almond oil is used externally (for grinding) as a painkiller and coolant. In addition, it is used to lubricate the skin of patients who have to be in bed for a long time (for the prevention of bedsores).
Contraindications and harmful properties of almond
- Almond is a widespread allergen. For this reason, people who have an increased tendency to the occurrence of allergic reactions should carefully include in their diet the fruits of this plant. Persons suffering from individual intolerance to almonds, it is necessary to completely abandon the consumption of dishes prepared on its basis.
- Almond nuts and dishes cooked on their basis have an increased energy value. Uncontrolled consumption contributes to their weight gain.
- Almond abuse can adversely affect the condition of people who have previously been diagnosed with malfunctioning of the nervous system or heart rhythm disorders.
- The immature fruits of bitter almond contain amygdalin glycoside. Upon the occurrence of certain conditions, this substance is transformed into hydrocyanic acid, which can cause severe poisoning and provoke the occurrence of other serious disturbances in the functioning of the organism.