Almond

Latin name: Prunus dulcis

What is an Almond?
The almond, oval-shaped with a buttery taste, is not actually considered a nut. The almond tree is related to peach and plum trees, and similarly, almond trees bear fruit with stone-like seeds inside. The seed of the almond fruit consists of an outer hull and a hard shell with the seed inside—this seed is what we refer to as the almond nut. There are two forms of the plant: one, usually featuring white flowers, produces sweet almonds. The other, with pink flowers, produces bitter almonds. Sweet almonds are the type that is eaten. Native to the Mediterranean climate region of the Middle East, domesticated almonds first appeared in the Early Bronze Age of the Near East.

What are the health benefits of Almonds?
Almonds are said to improve the complexion, promote the movement of food through the colon, and help prevent cancer. In India, consumption of almonds is believed to be good for the brain and nervous system. Almond is a popular carrier oil in aromatherapy and has been used as a skin emollient by massage therapists.

Nutritionally, almonds are a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, fiber, copper, phosphorous, and riboflavin. High in healthy monounsaturated fats, many studies have associated almonds with lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduced risk of heart disease. Almonds are also high in vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant and also has heart-protective properties. In addition, a quarter-cup of almonds contains one quarter of your daily value for magnesium—this essential mineral benefits heart function, and has been said to relieve muscle cramps, aid in bone growth, soften stools, and protect skin from UV damage. A recent study published showed that people who ate nuts at least twice a week were much less likely to gain weight than those who almost never ate nuts.

Are there any precautions for Almonds?
Almonds are known to cause allergies in some people.

Where can I find Almonds?
Almonds can be found in most grocery stores.

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This entry was posted in Foods, Natural Health Dictionary.