Almond tree, whose scientific name is Prunus dulcis; a 10m tall plant belonging to the Rosaceae family with its white flowers that arrive in spring and its oily fruits; almonds enclosed in a woody shell that acts as a casket for a concentrate of nutraceuticals, a team of nourishing principles with many beneficial effects for health..
They are among the most popular dried fruit and their cultivation is widespread.
Its done to get to its seeds; the almonds used both by the confectionery to make desserts and for the wooden shells which, reduced to ashes, are exploited in the soap industry.
After harvesting, the almond is cleaned from the husk that covers the wooden shell, left to dry in the sun to ensure storage for long periods and, therefore, put on the market.
Depending on the characteristics of the almond, the varieties that we usually find available are distinguished: bitter, often toxic with its seeds containing hydrocyanic acid and used in minimum but safe doses to prepare amaretti, dulcis variety whose seeds are used in food, in the confectionery industry and to obtain almond and fragilis oil with sweet seeds.
The secret of this food is not contained in its taste but has to do with the beneficial effects that distinguish it..
A long love story..
That of the queen of Thrace Phyllis and of Acamante, son of Theseus, who fell madly in love with her..
At the end of the Trojan War, the queen waited for her beloved for ten long years and never seeing him return, she let herself die in grief.
Athena, moved by this poignant love story, decided to transform Phyllis into an almond tree. But Hamacante returned and when he learned of the death of his beloved, he went under the tree into which his body had been transformed and hugged him.
The almond tree, feeling the warmth of love, made many flowers sprout from its branches: from that day on, that embrace of love is repeated every spring!
Its a tree native to western Asia and the hot countries of the Mediterranean..
Its very long-lived as it can even exceed one hundred years of age with its dimensions that vary depending on the variety, climate and soil conditions
A complete food
Rich in fiber, proteins and vitamins, in particular vitamin E which protects our body from free radicals and those of Group B with a strong presence of vitamin B2 essential for the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes, Omega-3 and many minerals which carry out important biological activities.
Their seeds contain fixed oil; a natural non-volatile vegetable oil and have anti-inflammatory and immunostimulating effects.
They counteract the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and are also useful for the treatment of constipation.
In the case of diseases affecting the intestine, almonds help to correct any deficiencies caused by impaired absorption of the various nutrients.
The presence of some mineral salts guarantees the health of our organism.
Magnesium, in particular, has beneficial properties for the nervous system, helping in case of stress and fatigue.
Calcium intervenes in the process of forming and maintaining healthy bone structure, preventing osteoporosis and iron becomes a precious element for those suffering from anemia or in a state of deficiency.
So rich in proteins and minerals that they are considered a very beneficial food during pregnancy: galactogenic foods able to stimulate milk production after childbirth.
Allies of the heart
Thanks to the presence of unsaturated fats, almonds prove to be a valuable aid in combating cardiovascular diseases.
Protect the arteries by improving circulation and lowering the levels of C reactive protein in the blood, thus decreasing the risk of heart attack.
In addition, the presence of vitamin E guarantees significant benefits to the body as it fights the increase in blood pressure and lowers the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) by freeing the arterial walls and improving blood flow.
Did you know that..
If eaten as a snack, do they help keep appetite under control, resulting in a lower calorie intake at lunch and dinner?
Recent studies have also shown that the high presence of vitamin B2 and zinc contributes to the maintenance of a young and healthy skin while copper is a valid help for the hair.
Antioxidants and restoratives
The presence of vitamin E and quercetin make almonds a powerful antioxidant and a great ally for the immune system.
Furthermore, being rich in proteins, also toning and repairing the tissues so as to be one of the most used foods by athletes.
Did you know that..
Are almonds also recommended to increase brain performance and to mitigate mood swings?
Fatty acids and phosphorus make almonds useful in countering memory loss and mitigating sudden changes in mood.
Almonds in the kitchen..
Every 100g of almonds correspond to 570Kcal: very caloric yes but if used wisely they are a real elixir of well-being..
To benefit from all the active ingredients, it is suggested to eat about 15-20 a day and to prefer those with the skin.
In the peel that contains the fruit that the main substances with antioxidant properties are concentrated: phenols, flavonoids and phenolic acids
From almonds obtained a fragrant and healthy drink; is the almond milk made by diluting the ground almonds with water.
Try my recipe now and prepare homemade almond milk: a healthy alternative and a drink free of lactose, gluten and cholesterol too
200g of peeled almonds
1lt of water
A sweet and creamy drink rich in vitamin E, antioxidants, iron, calcium and phosphorus. Digestible and purifying; preparing it at home is very simple!
Leave the almonds overnight to soak in the half of the water provided for the recipe.
After the time has elapsed, therefore, drain the almonds conserving the water.
Put almonds in the mixer and start blending at intervals of time of a few seconds to prevent the blades from overheating by slowly adding the soaking water and the remaining 500ml provided.
Chop almonds well.
With the help of a narrow mesh strainer (or gauze) we filter the water in order to perfectly separate it from the pulp.
Pour the milk into a bottle.
Keep in the fridge and consume within 3-4 days.
When decide to prepare this drink must choose sweet almonds and avoid salty or sweetened ones in order not to alter the taste of the milk and compromise the final result.
Dont forget to soak the almonds: this is the step that allows you to obtain soft almonds inside and out and a creamy result obtained with the release of more liquid.
Its possible to customize the taste of the drink: leave the almond milk "smooth" without adding a teaspoon of rice or maple syrup and the result of a drink without other flavors.
For cinnamon lovers it is possible to obtain a flavored almond milk: just soak the almonds with a teaspoon of cinnamon (even 1/2 bitter cocoa).
Its absolutely forbidden to use old almonds to avoid an unpleasant finish!
Before consuming our almond milk, always remember to shake the bottle because know that the fats dispersed in an aqueous liquid are separated.
Excellent ingredient to be consumed absolute but also to make breakfast cakes and biscuits.
Almond flour is another product that we can get from this fruit.
Versatile, makes desserts soft and is excellent for making biscuits and baked desserts.
Flour widely used in vegan cuisine for its alternative protein content to products of animal origin and in raw food cuisine as it does not necessarily require cooking.
Excellent food also for those intolerant to gluten as it is absolutely gluten-free.
Try it now in the recipe for soft almond and chocolate donuts: very soft and fragrant without butter and sugar and are ready in 5 minutes!!!
60g of cookies flavored oats
60g of almond flour
5g of yeast
2 eggs (medium)
120g of Greek yogurt 0%
For the topping:
50g of hazelnut and organic cocoa sugar free cream
Almond grains to taste
In a container, work the eggs with the yogurt for a few minutes until a creamy mixture is obtained.
So let's combine the dry ingredients and turn well with the mixer positioned on a medium-high speed.
Pour the cream obtained into the silicone molds for donuts.
Cook at 350F (preheated) for 20 minutes.
Let it cool completely in the molds.
Cover the surface with the cocoa cream and chopped almonds.
Gayla J. Kirschmann and John D. Kirschmann, Nutrition Almanac Small dictionary of mythology and classical antiquities, ed. Mondadori