On this occasion, we would like to talk to you about almonds, a superfood loaded with vitamins and essential nutrients to energise the body and strengthen bones. They also regenerate and repair damaged skin tissue.
We will tell you all about the characteristics of this powerful multivitamin dried fruit, including the different varieties on the market, and the different brands and prices, among other factors, so that you can choose the perfect almonds for you.
We will also inform you about the aspects you should take into account before buying almonds, whether they are natural or industrialised, so that you can evaluate all the particularities of this product before making a purchase decision
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- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Almonds: Our Picks
- 4 Buying guide: What you need to know about almonds
- 5 Purchasing criteria
- The almond is an energetic nut that is characterised by its high nutrient content, especially vitamin E, fibre, minerals, proteins and healthy fats. It provides great benefits for the skin, bones and digestive system, among other advantages.
- Almonds can be differentiated by the type of shell (soft shell and hard shell) and by the taste (sweet and bitter). These characteristics also determine the shape, texture, varieties and uses of this nut.
- When buying almonds, certain factors must be taken into account in order to make the best purchase choice. It is therefore important to know the different products made from this nut, their uses and contraindications, for example.
The Best Almonds: Our Picks
Buying guide: What you need to know about almonds
What are almonds and what are their benefits?
Almonds contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, E and A, as well as protein, minerals, fibre and healthy fats. Specialists say that with just 20 almonds a day we have covered our daily vitamin E requirements, as it is the nut with the highest percentage of this vitamin.
Among the many benefits of this superfood, we could mention that it provides energy, is excellent for the skin and bones, prevents cardiovascular diseases, improves and facilitates digestion, and activates brain function, among many other advantages.
Soft or hard almonds - what should you pay attention to?
Soft. Soft-shelled almonds, grown mainly in California, are the most valued and consumed, since their texture is soft, and it is easy to peel off the skin. They are also always sweet, which makes them much more expensive than hard-shelled almonds.
Hard. Hard-shelled almonds, grown mainly in Spain and Portugal, can be sweet or bitter. They are not eaten as much as soft-shelled almonds, because their texture may be too dry for some people.
|Flavour||sweet||sweet or bitter|
|Shape||rounded||rounded or elongated|
|Most known types||Mollar, Marcona, etc.||Marcona, Planeta, Largueta, etc.|
How to choose between sweet and bitter almonds?
Sweet almonds. Sweet almonds are the most valued and marketed for their tasty flavour and versatility, as they can be eaten as snacks between meals, or to prepare different types of food. They contain the most nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Bitter. Bitter almonds, also known as almond kernels, have amygdalin, which is a toxic component; therefore, they are not usually an edible variety of almonds. However, they are used in small doses to make foods, beverages and oils.
|Use||culinary||cosmetic and culinary (in very low doses)|
How much do almonds cost?
The prices of almonds alone or prepared (as milk, flour, cream, etc.), start at approximately MXN 100 to MXN 500. Oils processed for the cosmetics industry usually increase in value by MXN 100 or 200, which is not a substantial difference.
In this last section we will tell you what are the most important factors to consider when choosing almonds, whether they are natural or through commercial products. This information will help you to choose the right almonds for you.
Raw or roasted
As mentioned above, almonds can be eaten on their own, as a snack or appetizer, or with other foods. They can also be eaten raw or roasted, which will help preserve their natural properties:
Raw. Raw almonds, as they are not pre-treated, keep all their essential amino acids intact. They also have a lower content of unsaturated fats, so they are the best option to take advantage of all their properties without adding so many calories.
Toast. Although they maintain many of their numerous properties, roasted almonds have more unsaturated fats and do not conserve the essential amino acids as they have been previously cooked with oil. They also have a higher calorie content.
You can find this nutritious nut in both varieties on the market (although it is more common to find it raw). We recommend that you opt for raw almonds rather than roasted almonds, due to the aforementioned particularities.
Almonds are a superfood that is characterised not only by its many properties, but also by its versatility. For this reason, the market offers a wide variety of almond products for the food and cosmetics industry.
Almond milk. Despite its name, it does not contain milk but almonds soaked and processed with water. It provides vitamins, promotes metabolism, improves digestion and intestinal activity, which is why it is widely consumed, mainly by vegans, as a replacement for cow's milk.
Almond flour. As the name suggests, this flour is made by grinding almonds, usually peeled. Due to its high percentage of fibre and healthy fats, it is a good option to replace white flour, which has more carbohydrates and fewer nutrients.
Almond cream. Almond cream, also called almond butter, is a food that preserves all the properties of this fruit, making it very nutritious. Despite its name, it does not contain any additional cream, but obtains this texture through its preparation.
Almond oil. Almond oil is composed of monounsaturated fats and acids such as Omega 3 and 6. It is one of the most versatile oils available, mainly used in the cosmetic industry to moisturise the skin and strengthen the hair, but also for massages.
In order to take advantage of all the natural properties of almonds, it is important that you take into account the following two aspects when choosing them. Small details can allow you to take advantage of their powerful benefits for longer.
Shell. Shelled almonds retain all their natural nutrients better. Therefore, although it is easier and more practical to eat them without the shell, it is advisable to buy almonds with the skin on. In addition, peeled almonds are sometimes washed with chemicals to make them last longer.
Aroma. As almonds have a high lipid content, they sometimes go rancid, especially when they are in hot or humid places. When we buy this food we should check their aroma, which is a sign that they are fresh.
On the other hand, as we mentioned in the previous paragraph, almonds tend to decompose or lose their properties when they are in hot, humid or very bright places, so it is recommended to keep them in airtight containers, stored in cool, dark places.
Although there are many more advantages than disadvantages of this food, it is important to take into account certain side effects that could generate the consumption of almonds, since in some cases it could be very dangerous.
Allergy. Almonds contain highly allergenic substances, so they are strictly forbidden for people who are allergic in general, and to nuts in particular. The side effects of consuming almonds depend on the degree of allergy of the person consuming them.
Children. It is not at all recommended that children under three years of age consume this nut, as it can cause premature allergy. In addition, as almonds are hard and small, they could choke and suffocate when trying to chew and swallow them.
Nut intolerance. In this case, the consequences would be much milder than those caused by a nut allergy. Intolerance can lead to headache, migraine, diarrhoea, etc., while allergy can cause swelling, hives or breathing problems.
Excesses. We know that excesses are bad in themselves, and high doses of almonds can be counterproductive. Therefore, it is advisable to eat a handful of between 20 and 25 almonds a day to take advantage of their properties and not suffer side effects.
(Featured image source: Yelenayemchuk/ 123rf.com)