Why I’m nuts over almonds.

I’ve been fond of nuts for many years. However, growing up I remember seeing all the hype about cholesterol, fatty foods, low calorie this, healthy that and so on and so on. The humble nut didn’t escape this barrage of abuse and attention. I recall many times being warned to ‘not eat nuts, they’ll make you fat’.

Thinking about it, I recall hearing that about almost every food I came across growing up and well into adulthood. There is truth in many, but let’s not put all the blame on these lovely little fellas. Yes, they contain fat, but good fat.

Now, I can hear some of you out there, and plenty of people I know, saying ‘How can fat be good for you?’ There is good fat and bad fat and, a bit like the book Animal Farm says about animals, not all fats are made equal. The human body needs healthy fats that contain EFAs, essential fatty acids, a major component in tissue and cell repair and regeneration. Nut oils, such as avocado, olive, coconut, hemp and flaxseed are amongst the healthiest for humans rather than vegetable, corn, canola, rapeseed and other processed oils.

Which brings me to my favourite nut, almonds. They are full of protein and vitamin E, are a powerful antioxidant and contain dietary fibre, as well as healthy oils. In addition, they are packed full of essential minerals such as magnesium, which helps blood flow, and potassium, which helps muscle control, including the most important muscle we have, the heart.

Almonds also have been shown to help improve energy due to their copper and manganese content. This forms part of an enzyme that also helps attack free radicals within the energy productions areas of cells. Quite an amazing little nut.

A great way to eat almonds is raw and organic, as a snack during the day instead of sweet items. Snacking on almonds reduces sugar spikes, which reduces the risk of diabetes. The best way to enjoy almonds is soaking them in cold water for about eight hours. This helps start the germination process and the release of the enzymes which are most beneficial to humans. This is the best way to get the maximum benefit from all the vital nutrients of what is technically a seed of the fruit of the almond tree.

Add a handful to your own homemade muesli or granola, or eat them with some almond milk and a banana for an incredibly healthy homemade smoothie full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and protein.

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