"... the almond tree shall flourish,..."(Ecle.12:5)
Being a good source of vegetable protein and calcium, almond occupies a special place in the list of dishes of vegetarian nature. It finds a special favor from lactose-intolerant people for its usefulness in strengthening bones due to richness in bone-building mineral (Ca). Alpha-tocopherol, a component of vitamin E, present in almond is considered beneficial in prevention of cancer. Biotin is known to promote hair growth and prevention of premature greying of hairs. Almond is rich in biotin and reported to be an excellent source of biotin. Consumption of skinned almonds is believed to delay aging process due to the presence of various polyphenols in the skin. Almond tree, a small deciduous tree with a 12 inches trunk, may grow to a height of 10 meters and a true gift to humanity to keep people physically and mentally fit in most respects. Tree is a member of Rosaceae family and belongs to genus Prunus. It is known botanically by the name ofPrunus dulcis in the Plantae kingdom. Although tree takes 5-6 years to attain full maturity, it starts bearing fruits when in third year of its growth.
Nutritional facts: Almond nuts have very high nutritional standards and kernels of the almond are highly delicious. High levels of monounsaturated fat along with polyunsaturated fat and omega-6 fatty acids are present in the almonds.
One ounce (28 g) of almonds provide 21 percent of daily requirement of fat, 2 percent of carbohydrates, 14% of dietary fibers, 7% of Ca, 20% of magnesium, 15% of phosphorous and 6% of iron of an adult. One ounce of almonds provide more protein (6 g) than provided by an egg. Almonds are also rich in vitamin E, magnesium and potassium. Manganese, copper and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) are other nutrients found in good amounts in almonds.
Common uses: The oil obtained from almond kernels is used in confectionery, pharmaceutical and cosmetic preparations. Research findings suggest that almonds are more beneficial to health than assumed to be by the people. Almonds are mostly used as ripe but green almond is also considered a great table delicacy. Sweet almonds are used for human consumption and bitter almond kernels in perfume, pharmaceuticals, and a small amount is used in making pastries. Chemical industry utilizes the by-products of almond.
Almonds had several substances as their chemical constituents such as 'quercetin' and 'kaempferol' (two flavonoids) that play strong suppressors of lung and prostate tumor growth and inhibit the tumor cell growth in culture in the studies at Pennsylvania State University.
Breast cancer cell growth is also reported to get inhibited on being exposed to cancer-causing agents as evident from other research findings.
For diabetic patients, almond butter is regarded as a good choice for fulfilling the fat requirement
Almonds are used to improve memory and weakness of the brain. It involve mixing of almond oil with milk for internal consumption, as nasal drops or applied externally on the head, soaking overnight and consuming after mixing with butter and sugar.
Consumption of almond paste with warm milk is believed to improve the vision and remove the cough.
Almond fruit is very much relished by the Indians due to its highly nourishing and great medicinal value. It is eaten raw and used in confectionery and very valuable oil called 'Badam Roghan' is extracted from its kernels.
Cosmetic uses of almonds:
Almond oil is used alone or as a mixture after blending with any of these depending on the use like coconut oil, castor oil, few strand of saffron, vitamin E capsules, and fresh lemon juice.
In ancient India, people used a paste made of crushed almonds as a body cleanser.
Almond oil is believed to keep hairs soft and shiny.
Regular use of almond oil mixed with honey or castor oil is reported to provide lips and skin of the face a natural color, glow, fairness and softness.
A mix of honey and almond oil clears black circles under the eyes.
Softness and glow is further enhanced with regular use of almond oil blended with fresh lemon juice.
Application of paste, made after soaking almonds overnight, on spots caused by small pox is known to have healing effect.
Consumption of few nuts help in healing of cracks on the lips
Continuous intake of overnight soaked almonds with bread, sugar and butter for few months help gain body weight in weak people