Almonds are considered one of the super foods because they are loaded with valuable nutrients. They contain high levels of heart healthy monounsaturated fats as well as vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Don't let the fat content of almonds keep you from enjoying them. The fat that they contain is the heart healthy monounsaturated variety. This type of fat has been proven to improve blood cholesterol levels. Studies show that people who eat nuts on a regular basis actually weigh less than those who don't.
One study that followed over 85,000 nurses for 14 years, found that those who ate at least 5 ounces of nuts per week had a 35 percent reduced risk of dying of heart disease.
Almonds are an extremely versatile nut with a delicately sweet flavor. They work equally well as an ingredient in baked goods as they do in savory entrees. This makes it quite easy to incorporate these delicious nuts into a healthy eating plan:
1. Sprinkle slivered or sliced almonds onto your morning oatmeal.
2. Top your yogurt with crushed almonds.
3. Add slivered almonds to a rice dish for an interesting pilaf.
4. Incorporate almonds into your homemade muffins.
5. Use almond milk in your coffee or cereal.
6. Add chopped almonds to chicken salad.
7. Add in some almonds the next time you make an omelet.
8. Toss some almonds into your salad.
9. Snack on roasted almonds instead of chips the next time you're craving a crunchy snack.
10. Increase the nutritional value of cookies or brownies by adding in some almonds.
11. Spread almond butter on your toast or make an almond butter and jelly sandwich.
12. Keep a baggie full of raw almonds in your desk or purse for when afternoon hunger pangs strike.
13. When you are craving candy try munching on dark-chocolate covered almonds.
14. Bake some almond nut bread.
15. Make your pancakes with almond flour.
16. Fill pastries with almond paste.
Almonds can be purchased either in or out of their shells. If you are purchasing almonds with their shells, shake them and see how much they rattle. Too much rattle indicates that the almonds are shrinking which means they are old. Shelled almonds will usually have an expiration date on the package.
The high fat content of almonds allows them to go rancid quickly. Unopened raw, almonds can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 years. Unopened roasted almonds can be stored in the same way for up to 1 year.
Once opened almonds are best stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 3 months. They can also be stored in the freezer for extended periods, if they are packaged in airtight freezer bags.
Almonds can take on the odors of surrounding foods, so you should store them away from foods with strong odors, such as onions or garlic.