Meet the Ingredient: Almonds
Meet..almonds! It turns out today is National Almond Day! One of the most versatile nuts available to us plant based folks, this seed deserves it's own national holiday. Almonds give us delicious, plant based, cruelty-free milk as well as a base for plant based, vegan cheezes that are so delicious you simply wouldn't not believe it was made entirely from almonds!
So, let's give it up for this superfood!
Almonds contain monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and trace amounts of magnesium. An energy dense snack that provides crucial minerals needed to achieve optimal health, almonds are praised in the medical industry and are quickly gaining the recognition they deserve.
¼ cup of almonds nutrition provides about:
5 grams of protein
5 grams fiber
7 grams of carbohydrates
5 grams of sugar
16 milligrams vitamin E (61 percent DV)
0.4 milligrams riboflavin (44 percent DV)
0.8 milligrams manganese (44 percent DV)
97 milligrams magnesium (36 percent DV)
172 milligrams phosphorus (29 percent DV)
96 milligrams calcium (9.5 percent DV)
33 milligrams iron (4 percent DV)
Almonds can help prevent cancer. Due to almonds anti-inflammatory properties, they make an excellent food in terms of preventing cancer. The free radical content that helps to promote healthy skin, and prevent brain swelling also helps in the fight against certain cancers like colon, prostate and breast cancers.
Almonds protect against heart disease and heart attacks. Heart disease is the #1 killer in the US. Almonds specifically supply antioxidant flavonoids, plant-based compounds present in the skin of almonds that work with vitamin E to improve artery health and reduce inflammation in the body. Almonds contain magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium and potassium. Studies show almonds have a consistent “bad” LDL cholesterol-lowering effect, especially in individuals with high cholesterol and diabetes. (4) Almonds help prevent damage from forming within artery walls and protect against dangerous plaque buildup preventing heart attacks.
Almonds can protect against dementia and alzheimer's. Known as one of the best brain foods, almonds contain anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the risk of swelling leading to cognitive disorders. Almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, nutrients that are two key players capable of positively affecting neurological activity and preventing cognitive decline.
Almonds maintain bone and dental health. We are told that as we get older, weakening bones are just part of old-age, but does that have to ring true? With a proper, balanced, whole plant based foods lifestyle we can help to make aging a more naturally, graceful process. Almonds have been shown to promote good bone health, because they contain magnesium and phosphorous. Both minerals can fight osteoporsis, prevent tooth decay, and help fight cavities.
Almonds help prevent and manage diabetes. Almonds are a low glycemic food meaning they don't turn into sugar quickly in the bloodstream which spikes glucose in the blood. Low glycemic foods and snacks are essential to preventing and managing diabetes.
Almonds are essential to skin health. Almonds are an excellent source of Vitamin E, which is the key vitamin for youthful, age-free skin. Research finds that almonds contains high concentrations of catechin, epicatechin and flavonol antioxidants, compounds that fight against skin cancer. Almonds also help to reverse oxidative stress from a poor diet, pollution and UV light exposure. Their healthy fat content, plus their ability to improve circulation, also help keep skin hydrated and better able to heal wounds.
How to Use Almonds:
Well, you can start by making your own almond milk! Commercial brands of almond milk like Pacific, Silk and Almond Breeze have been found to contain the toxic carcinogen called "carrageenan." In addition, they have also been found to contain little to no actual almonds. So, ditch the store bought stuff and make your own!
A delicious an easy alternative to dairy cheese, try this recipe for almond cheeze!
Cover almonds with water and let soak for 24 hours.
Drain and rinse almonds.
Puree almonds, lemon juice, 3 tbsp olive oil, garlic, salt and water in blender/food processor until really creamy.
Place a triple layer of cheese cloth in a mesh strainer over a bowl and spoon mixture into it. ...
Chill for 12 hours.