Healthy Foods: Almonds

Healthy Foods

“Nuts are the meat substitute” is what my mother said to all of us kids, worried that we didn’t eat well in the afternoons when she wasn’t around. I’ve never forgotten that. In recent years almonds have become my favorite nut so I was very happy to learn that almonds are the healthiest of all the nuts and offer much more than she promised.

Being a good source of protein, her big concern for her three teenage sons, low in sodium with no cholesterol and high in unsaturated fats, the good kind that helps to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (bad cholesterol), they are good for the heart.

They are an excellent source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Riboflavin, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper and fiber. And also contain Thiamin, Niacin, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, and Zinc.

All in all, almonds can help to curb hunger, regulate blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce the rise in sugar and insulin levels after meals and are said to be good for the complexion, bones and teeth. Their alkaline reaction in the body also helps to boost immunity.

If you soak raw almonds in water for 8-12 hours they will plump up and begin the sprouting process. These soaked almonds can be used to make an excellent milk product. The following almond milk recipe is delicious and oh so healthy!

Almond Milk:

Blend 1/4 cup of soaked almonds with 11 ounces of coconut water (a single serving size package of your favorite brand of coconut water will do perfectly). Leaving the skin on the almonds will increase the fiber content. If you prefer a classic milk product, the skins can be removed prior to blending or the mixture strained after blending.

I like to start my day with a banana, chocolate, almond milk shake. I add 1 banana, 1 tablespoon of raw cacao nibs, 1 date, 1+ tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil, to my almonds and coconut water and blend everything together–-a delicious, healthy breakfast.

Here’s another tip, I peel and freeze ripe bananas in the summer to use when I want a cold shake.