10/10/2016 5:14:56 PM
|written By : Nithya Subramanian|
Hungry between meals? A handful of almonds is now considered the healthiest of snacks. One of the oldest nuts, the almond is native to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and North Africa.
While California today is the leading producer of almonds, these in fact travelled with the nomadic tribes. Wild varieties were found along the Silk Road that connected central China to the Mediterranean.
Nearly every ancient civilisation used almonds. By 4000 BC people were cultivating almond trees, which blossomed well in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
Hebrew literature from 2000 BC mentions almonds. Turkey, Romania and the Baltic peninsula also show early references to the nut. The Bible makes numerous references to almonds as an object of value and symbol of hope.
King Tut took several handfuls of almonds to his grave in 1352 BC, to nourish him on his journey into the afterlife. Persians and Arabs made a milk of almond meal and water, which they valued both as a refreshing drink and as an ingredient in other foods.
Today, North Americans give guests at weddings a bag of sugared almonds, representing children, happiness, romance, good health and fortune. In Sweden, cinnamon-flavored rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is a Christmas custom. Find it, and good fortune is yours for a year. Consumption of almonds in India is believed to be good for the brain, while the Chinese consider it a symbol of enduring sadness and female beauty.
1. Help prevent heart disease and heart attacks:
Almonds contain healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and antioxidants that prevent cardiovascular disease. Almonds supply antioxidant flavonoids. Compounds present in the skin of almonds work with vitamin E to improve artery health and reduce inflammation. It prevents damage of artery walls and protects against dangerous plaque buildup.
2. Support healthy brain function:
Almonds are often considered one of the best brain foods. Riboflavin and L-carnitine, two key nutrients, prevent cognitive decline. It reduces the risk of inflammation that can cause brain disorders including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Maintain skin health:
These nuts are a great source of Vitamin E and other antioxidants that nourish the skin and reduce signs of aging. . Research finds that it contains high concentrations of concentrations of catechin, epicatechin and flavonol antioxidants, including quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin — antioxidants, that fight skin cancer and damage.