Almonds, like most nuts, are a very complete, energetic food rich in nutrients such as vegetable proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. In addition, almonds are one of the most alkalising foods. For this reason they should not be missing in our intake, especially if we do a sporting activity. In this post we will talk about all its beneficial properties, and we will also see how to make almond milk and almond cheese, to make the most of all its nutritional properties.
Its origin is in the warm and almost desert areas of Central Asia. Then it went to Greece and Rome from where it spread to the rest of Europe. In Spain they were introduced by the Phoenicians more than 2000 years ago. Since then, they have been consumed both for their high nutritional value and for the many beneficial effects of their nutrients. Therefore almonds are one of the oldest known foods.
Nutritional Values of Sweet Almonds
Among the nutritional values of almonds, its high carbohydrate content as a source of energy stands out: about 600 kc per 100 grams. Its consumption is highly recommended for people with a high energy demand, such as athletes.
They are a good source of Vitamin E, B-complex vitamins (Niacin) and vitamin B9 or folic acid.
Almonds have a high mineral content, including Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Calcium.
Almonds are very rich in essential fatty acids, among which the monounsaturated ones predominate, such as oleic, linoleic and palmitic acids.
If consumed raw and with skin, its high fiber content helps beneficial bacteria in the intestine and supports the digestive process. It also has flavonoids that when associated with vitamins are of great help against cholesterol.
Lets have a look at almonds numerous properties.
Properties and Benefits of almonds
Natural protein source
Almonds have a high protein value, about 19 g of protein, which makes them an excellent source of natural vegetable proteins. This is a very similar or higher value than that of animal protein. For example, the egg is 12.5 g. Therefore, its consumption is very indicated to replace or generate muscular tissue in those physical activities of great intensity, such as a long distance race.
High energetic power
This is due to the high content of carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins, which provides about 600 Kc per 100 g of almonds. For this reason, they are recommended to recover energy after an intense daily activity or sport.
Good fiber level
Almonds are one of the nuts with the most fibre, both soluble and insoluble, and are highly recommended for fighting obesity, reducing cholesterol and promoting transit.
Lower cholesterol and triglycerides
This is due to the presence of unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Linoleic acid helps to emulsify fats in the body by preventing the formation of atheromas in the arteries.
They help us fight osteoporosis
Thanks to their high calcium and magnesium content, they help us maintain strong teeth, bones and muscle tissue. They also help to combat anxiety, irritability and improve rest by preventing insomnia.
Fight high blood pressure
Its high potassium content helps to improve circulation, regulate blood pressure and body fluids and fight against hypertension.
Protect the heart and blood vessels
Amino acids and essential fatty acids Omega 6 and 9 present in almonds protect the walls of the arteries and thus reduce the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.
Due to their content of Vitamin E, almonds help us to fight against free radicals, slowing down aging and taking care of our circulatory system.
Other Beneficial Properties
The Phosphorus contained in almonds helps us to have greater physical and mental endurance. It also contributes to a good functioning of our nervous system. The Zinc content of almonds makes them a recommended food for diabetics, because it promotes the assimilation and storage of insulin.
Zinc also has other beneficial effects such as:
- Stimulate the overall growth of the body
- Boost the immune system
- Metabolize proteins
- Encourage the transport of vitamin A
- Helping to heal wounds
- Improve vitamin B9 absorption
- Helping to combat fatigue
- The presence of B vitamins makes the consumption of almonds highly recommended against migraines, insomnia and stress.
Ways to consume almonds
There are many ways to consume almonds. Below we will see two very simple ways to consume raw almonds, preserving all its nutrients and active ingredients: almond milk and almond cheese. As with Chickpea Cheese, these dishes are named for their texture and appearance, but they are totally vegan foods and animal milk is not used to prepare them.
I also recommend you watch the video that accompanies this blog post, where I show the procedure for making both almond milk and almond cheese.
How to make Almond Milk
To make this vegan Almond Milk drink we will need the following ingredients:
- 200 grams of almonds with skin
- 1 liter of mineral water. In my case I will use alkaline water
Preparation of Almond Milk
- Previously we will have soaked the almonds for 8-10 hours. In this way we will have eliminated all existing anti-nutrients.
- Once drained, peel the almonds. To facilitate this, it is convenient to keep them for a few minutes in very hot water.
- Then put the peeled almonds in the blender container.
- We also add one or two glasses of water to make it easier to beat them. I’ll use alkaline water.
- Then we beat with the mixer until obtaining a fine and homogeneous texture.
- Once beaten, add the rest of the water until the litre is full. Stir the mixture well for several minutes until it is as fluid as possible.
- The resulting mixture is poured over a cotton cloth. We squeeze the cloth with force to filter the liquid.
- Once the mixture has been squeezed out, the solid wet part that remains in the cloth is poured into a container, as it is then used to make the Almond Cheese.
Once this is done, we can transfer the liquid to a glass container and it is ready to drink. We can keep it in the fridge for consumption in several days. As can be seen in the picture below, the appearance, fluidity and color is very similar to animal milk. Optionally, we can add two tablespoons of turmeric and natural honey or stevia to taste. This changes the taste and adds new properties.
How to make Vegan Almond Cheese
To make the Almond Cheese we will need the following ingredients:
- The solid part resulting from having filtered the almond milk, which we have previously separated in a container.
- The juice of half a lemon
- Half a teaspoon of Himalayan salt or sea salt
- One tablespoon of unbitter nutritional brewer’s yeast
- Half a teaspoon of ground garlic powder
- One tablespoon of olive oil
- Half a teaspoon ground onion powder
You can give more consistency to the cheese by adding 10 grams of gelatin powder, or agar-agar. I’m going to make it without using either of them.
Making Almond Cheese
- Mix everything well and knead until it is well mixed and the dough has a suitable consistency.
- Before pouring the dough into the mould, spray it with oil to make it easier to separate later.
- We then pour the dough into the mould and distribute it evenly.
- Once this is done, we turn the mould around and have the almond cheese ready to eat.
As you can see, the texture and appearance is very similar to that of a fresh cheese.
Precautions about the consumption of almonds or nuts
Almonds, like nuts, contain various types of anti-nutrients such as phytates, tannins, oxalates and trypsin inhibitors. Anti-nutrients are plant compounds used by plants to protect their grains or seeds until they germinate. These compounds prevent or hinder the absorption and utilization of nutrients by the body.
However, we can easily remove these anti-nutrients. Just leave the almonds to soak for several hours. We should use clean water, preferably slightly hot between 45-65ºC and if its pH is a little acidic better. Just add a little lemon juice to the water. This will have eliminated most of the anti-nutrients.
It is always advisable not to abuse foods rich in anti-nutrients.
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Greetings and see you next time.