In this week’s editon of On Special we are looking at raw almonds. Inside one small nut is a powerhouse of goodness. Almonds are packed with nutrients and high in mono-unsaturated fats, antioxidants, fiber and minerals. Ringing in at 132 calories, a quarter of a cup of raw almonds contains:
40.2% Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin E, 26.5% RDI of manganese, 25% RDI of copper, 17.6% vitamin B2, 15.9% RDI phosphorus, 15.4% RDI magnesium, 15% RDI molybdenum, and 11% of your daily fiber needs.
Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Five large human epidemiological studies, including the Nurses Health Study, the Iowa Health Study, the Adventist Health Study and the Physicians Health Study, all found that nut consumption is linked to a lower risk for heart disease.
Technically speaking, the almond is not a nut per se, but is the seed of the almond tree, the seed inside of the stone inside of the fruit. Looking at an almond tree in full bloom, you can see that it is related to cherry and peach trees, and it so happens that the while the fruit of the latter are desirable, the pits are, well, the pits. The reverse happens to be the case with the almond tree.
Raw almonds are delicious and healthy whether you snack on them straight out of hand or blitz them up into a raw almond milk or almond butter. For a more substantial repast that celebrates this amazing superfood, why not serve a delicious pasta dinner tonight featuring a raw almond pesto tossed with healthy whole-wheat linguine? Here is a super simple recipe that you can whip up while the noodles are boiling. Or if you want to go totally gluten-free, toss it with cooked spaghetti squash or a “fettuccine” made of thinly sliced and quick sautéed zucchini strips
Almond Parsley Pesto
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cups lightly packed flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup raw almonds
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan
In blender or food processor, puree the garlic parsley and salt.
Add the olive oil in a thin stream.
Add the almonds
Add the parmesan
Toss pesto with hot noodles, zucchini strips or cooked and pulled spaghetti squash.