Mind & Body

Updated: Apr 27 2008, 05:50am hrs
Karen Lapsley, Director of Scientific Affairs, Almond Board of California

Almonds biggest secret

Is Vitamin E and proteins. One ounce or a 30 g serving of almond provides for nearly 50% of your daily requirement of Vitamin E and also 6 g proteins. An ounce of red meat, roughly speaking, has similar amount of protein. And with just 160 calories per ounce, its not too high in calories either. It is a boon for vegetarians because there arent many food sources they can rely on otherwise for Vitamin E. Epidemiological evidence suggests that people who eat a diet rich in Vitamin E experience a reduced risk of heart attack. Vitamin E is also called the fertility vitamin. Its deficiency can affect sperm mortality in men and menstrual cycles of women.

Role in weight management

Every ounce of almonds has three grams of dietary fibre and 80% of this fibre is insoluble. This positively affects colonic health and cholesterol levels. Inconclusive studies also state that this fibre may be responsible for blocking the digestion and absorption of fat from almonds into the human body. In a nutshell, the decreased fat absorption may reduce the calories contributed by almonds. Studies also show that the combination of protein and dietary fibre may have an effect on satiety. You feel fuller faster and therefore consume fewer calories.

Heart friendly

As much as 70% of the fat present in almonds is in the form of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and most of that is oleic acid. MUFA have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. Almonds also contain Omega-6 fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated fatty acids. Research suggests they may have an added benefit to the heart.

The best way to have it...

In India people usually soak almonds in water overnight. I am not convinced about it though. About 50% of the phytochemicals or antioxidants present in almonds are water soluble. So, make sure you drink the water you soak the almonds in. Its best to have them roasted dry.

Picking up the best

Theres a huge variety available in the market Kashmiri, Afghani, Iranian, Californian etc.... Some are bigger, some darker, some have wrinkled skin... However, their composition is all the same. There might only be a marginal difference in their moisture content.

As told to Kiran Yadav