Nuts are fattening? Almonds beg to differ – and confidently so!
Studies show that even the daily consumption of almonds in vast quantities does not lead to weight gain. On the contrary, these small energy boosters can even favor weight loss. More to the point, they deliver unsaturated fatty acids, minerals such as magnesium, calcium and copper, as well as large amounts of vitamin B and E.
In popular belief, almonds bear somewhat exciting connotations. Due to their bittersweet taste, they represent marriage and the promise thereof, namely to stick together whatever may come. In the Italian tradition, people offer five almonds by way of wedding gift, as these stand for health, prosperity, luck, fertility and a long life. More importantly, current studies show that their regular consumption can protect us from diabetes, as well as from an excessively high cholesterol level and blood pressure, and also improves the bone density.
“Sweet and bitter like life,
Are the five almonds that we give to you!
We give the young couple five wishes for the future –
health, prosperity, luck, children and a long life.”
The almond tree has been cultivated for thousands of years. It prefers warm climate, is frugal and resistant to any weather, and therefore grows particularly well in the Mediterranean region, California and Near and Central-Asia.
The various kinds of almonds differ in taste and use. For example, sweet almonds with sweet tasting seeds are used in cosmetics, as well as for baking, and the production of marzipan.
Soft-shelled almonds and their sweet tasting seeds and thin, friable shell, are very popular as a Christmas sweet in certain cultures.
Last but not least, bitter almonds. Be careful though, as they taste bitter and contain poisonous seeds. In fact, a single bitter almond contains 1mg hydrocyanic acid, so 6-10 almonds can already be deadly for kids, and 50-60 can kill adults. Bitter almonds are used to treat asthma and diphtheria as well as in homoeopathy.
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