Last year, I concentrated on two vegetables – watercress and spinach – for strengthening lungs, and now I’m following it up with the almond.
My family are nuts about nuts: peanuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, etc. After having a handful of nuts though, oftentimes they can irritate the throat. Alas, here’s another example of fighting fire with fire, or in this case, nuts with more nuts. Did you know that almonds, especially, are good for dry coughs? Even though the almond is not a true “nut,” it is chock-full (smile) of healthy nutrients, and it still baffles me that I have to eat more almonds in order to address irritating coughs.
Although there are a host of cough medicine and over-the-counter treatments for the cough – some of which actually list “almond” as an ingredient (or a flavor) – we have found relief in just a handful of almonds at a time. As for the issue of toxicity, stick with “sweet” almonds (as opposed to “bitter” almonds) or domesticated almonds. Bitter ones are toxic when raw. Finally, like for most things, take everything in moderation.
How to cook/eat almonds: Besides eating it roasted-crunchy (I like it with a touch of burnt flavor!), there are countless recipes on how to use almonds, from Cinnamon-Roasted Almonds to Herbed Almonnaise. Try something old, something new, mix it up.
Where to find it: Almonds can be found in most grocery stores, both in the raw and toasted variety. While in the nuts section, be sure to try some of your other healthy “nutty” selections.
What else: Ever heard of “seven almonds a day?” Almonds also strengthen memory, lower blood cholesterol, help in nerve transmission, and provide a rich dose of calcium, protein, niacin, copper, iron, zinc, vitamins B2, B1, and E.
Who’s done the research:
- Studies of the composition of almond have shown that the protein content of the almond is about 28% and its oil content ranges from 55% to 60%; more than that, over 90% of the fatty acids are of the unsaturated fatty acid (UFA) variety. – Ma Y, Dong C H. 2004. Almond Germplasm Resource and Present Situation of Research. Journal of Hebei Normal University of Science & Technology, 18(2):29-31
- As a nutrient-dense food, almond and its products have been shown to have health benefits in many areas, including cardiovascular health, diabetes, protein quality as well as body weight control. Relevant studies have indicated that various forms of almond products, whole, raw, or roasted, almond butter and almond oil, all have cholesterol-lowering effects and other health benefits. – Lapsley K G, Huang G. 2004. Health Benefits of Almonds. Cereal Foods World. 49(1):6-10.
- The almond is also abundant in mineral elements and vitamins; in particular, it has a high content of vitamin E, which can effectively reduce oxidation of LDL cholesterol. – Hyson D A. Schneeman B O, Davis P A. 2002. Almonds and almond oil have similar effects on plasma lipds and LDL oxidation in healthy men and women. The Journal of Nutrition. 132(4):703-7.