|Effect: Ojas, Sattvic, Alkalizing|
Recommended for: Autumn-Winter
Nutrient: Fats, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Protein, Vitamin-E
Nourishes: Bone, Marrow, Muscle, Reproductive, Plasma
Moves energy: Downward
Serving Size: 1 tbsp
Species: Prunus dulcis
About Pharmacological Effects
The list of actions below have not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
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Strength & Energy Building Tonic
Long before the agricultural revolution, humans feasted off nuts. This ancestral food is still one of the best ways to strengthen your body. Warm and creamy almonds contain more protein per serving than any other nut (20% by weight).
That makes them an important protein source for vegetarians and those wishing to build muscle mass. Their calcium and magnesium content supports smooth muscle function, including the heart. Their rich nutritional profile makes both serves as a blood tonic for anemia and to nourish the bones.
Unlike chilis that ignite a short-lived metabolic flare-up, almonds nourish a deep, slow burning metabolic fire that simmers with lasting warmth. Almond's hearty fuel will sustain you through a long workday. Their mild stimulating qualities keep you warm even as the thermometer starts to dip in Autumn.
Calm Your Nerves
Most of us feel a little frazzled these days. We live demanding lives, we're on the go, and some of us struggle with an over-active nervous system. Ayurveda has some unique tips to ground your nerves. Every nerve in your body is coated in fats, called the myelin sheath, that insulates, protects, and guides the electric impulses of your neurons. Without this protective fatty barrier, your signals will go haywire, and be scattered. Nourishing this fatty layer of the nervous system is key to settling your mind.
Almonds are rich in natural oils and fatty acids, from 36 to 60% by weight. Almonds and sunflower seed are also the top two whole food sources of fat soluble vitamin E. By adding almonds to your diet, you will feel calmer and more at ease, and improve your ability to think a little clearer. Almond also contains minerals like magnesium that support muscle relaxation. In the ancient science of Ayurveda, almonds have been used to preserve intelligence for thousands of years. To receive the brain building benefits of almonds, simply soak, peel and enjoy 10 almonds daily. Note: Despite their oily nature, they are generally good for those with high cholesterol. So don't shy away from healthy fats - you need them!
When it comes to its aphrodisiac and reproductive support qualities, almonds are second to none. Don't you find its sweet flavor and aroma arousing? There's probably a reason so many beauty products contain almond oil. Celibate men beware - eating almonds encourages a build-up of "vigor" or Ojas
(the vital nectar of life). If this vigor remains "pent-up" it may cause great discomfort in the prostate and testicles. Almonds are also symbols of male fertility and its high zinc content aids in sexual potency. Sexually active men should drink a glass of Almond Milk with Saffron
(homemade) after ejaculation to rebuild fluids and vitality.
The Beauty of Almonds
Looking for soft, firm, supple skin? Adding almonds into your diet will nourish you from within. Topical uses are also very popular, as the rich almond oil adds luster, promotes hair growth and reduces breakage. Almond oil provides moisture to dry skin, helping to reduce the signs of aging. You will notice a youthful glow to your skin, and who doesn't want that?
Nutritional Information & Other
Almonds are high in oil, fatty acids, protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, phosphorous, zinc & vitamins B1 and E. Like most tonics, almonds are heavy & concentrated, and may provoke stagnation in the upper GI. Soaking almonds, then preparing them with cinnamon and other spices is a great way to improve their digestibility. Almonds oily nature lubricates the intestines. Together with it's high fiber, almonds are a general laxative encouraging regular elimination.
The skins of almonds provoke pitta dosha due to high tannic acid content. Due to their energizing nature, do not consume almonds if you have high pitta in the blood. Peeled almonds are sattvic
Almonds contain goitogens, which may inhibit thyroid function, so we suggest cooked almonds (cooking neutralizes the goitogens) for those concerned with thyroid issues. Since almonds also contain zinc, roasted almonds may improve thyroid function. In chinese medicine, almonds are used to move stagnant lung qi.
As the most widely grown tree nut in the world, these crunchy little nuggets are highly revered for building strength and intelligence across many ancient cultures. Originally native to the levant and in Northern Africa as far west as Morocco, almonds are prominently featured in Greek, Unani, and Ayurvedic medicine.
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buying & preparation
Almonds are frequently shelled, but are also sold with the beige, hard outer shell in many mixed nut preparations. Almonds with the seed coat are brown whereas once blanched and peeled they are white. They may be purchased raw, pasteurized or roasted. They may be purchased slivered, ground into a flour, mashed into a paste, or as almond butter. You may also purchase in the form of almond oil, almond extract and almond milk.
If desired, soak almonds for thirty six hours before eating to help activate the seed. We also recommend peel the skin; it contains tannic acids that are stimulating and irritating. After soaking, a few minutes in hot water makes the skins easy to peel. Pinch the butt of the almond to make the seed pop out of the skin.
Almonds may be served raw or roasted. Their hearty crunchiness makes a great garnish for savory vegetable dishes. They may be blanched, skinned, and elegantly slivered atop your favorite cookies and cakes. Almond paste is featured in desserts worldwide, from pastry fillings in Morocco and marzipan in Turkey. Crunchy slivered almonds provide a welcome contrast of textures when mixed into a soft rice pudding in India. Almonds are enjoyed worldwide as snacks, and especially in Iran where sour green almonds are dipped in salt. In Ayurveda, almonds are commonly pureed to form delicious and nourishing drinks, especially in the fall. Cinnamon and other spices go very nicely with almonds.
Although almonds are a great addition to desserts, diabetics can safely indulge. You won't get any spikes in blood sugar with these little delights. Almond flour is also a fitting substitute for diabetic friendly cakes and cookies. For those with celiac, Almond flour is a great gluten-free substitute for wheat. Allergic to peanuts? Try almond butter. Almonds are cooling and easier to digest than peanuts. For our lactose intolerant readers, your palate will love the creaminess of almond milk. Soak a cup of almonds overnight in water, puree until smooth, then strain for your very own homemade almond milk treat.
About the Author
John Immel is the founder of Joyful Belly, helping people confidently choose food that restores their healthy glow
through wisdom, personal growth and balance.
John's approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, as if it were second nature.
His articles, books,
and Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week eCourse provides tools for gracefully healing your mind and body.
John also directs Joyful Belly's Master of Ayurvedic Digestion & Nutrition
500 hour certification program, where practitioners learn advanced clinical skills for digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition.
John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia.
John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion.
John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing.
In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
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Almond skins are brown because they contain tannins, an acidic and astringent substance that provokes Vata and Pitta. The cyanide in almond skins is toxic to the liver and starves the cells of oxygen (prana).
Skinned, the creamy, gentle, oily sweetness of almonds is wonderful for Vata in small amounts. But even skinned nuts can provoke Vata because their density makes them difficult to digest. Almonds are much easier to digest when soaked for thirty six hours first.
Oily nuts, when eaten in excess, stress the liver and may increase Pitta. Nuts, brown rice and other foods are also high in arginine, an amino acid that encourages proliferation of the virus that causes cold sores in infected indviduals.
My question is about almonds. I know I'm supposed to soak them overnight and peel them, but that's hard to do when I'm traveling, and I'm wondering if almonds with skins which have been soaked and dehydrated (like you can buy from some health food stores) are ok for Pittas. My other almond question is, is almond butter ok for Pittas?
- Jess, Austin, TX
, 04-22-10 (Reply
Sometimes I buy the almonds blanched. At my local supermarket, blanched almonds are actually cheaper than almonds with the skins. Pre soaking the skins and then rehydrating them greatly reduces the number of tannins, making them easier for Pitta Vata to digest. Almond butter usually contains the skins and can be aggravating for Pitta dosha.
Very interesting to find out recently that the majority of Almond farms are pasteurizing them through the mandate of FDA. The farmers markets and health food stores carry non-pasteurized almonds. The first 2 days of soaking, the water turns deep copper and soon clear. Very aromatic!
- ShuLei Tong, Santa cruz, CA
, 05-30-10 (Reply
I find that both toasted almonds and soaked almonds are received well by my body. Does the toasting alter the tannins and cyanide in some way?
- Tracie, Williams, OR
, 12-31-10 (Reply
Yes - toasting the almonds does destroy the tannins.
I love almonds and would love to try some recipes but I am focusing on Kapha balancing. The guide says almonds increase Kapha. However, at the same time the skins provoke Vata and Pitta. For a Kapha imbalanced person, how should almonds be eaten if at all? Are almond milks a good alternative if taken warm?
- Michele, York, PA
, 12-14-11 (Reply
Almonds are generally ok unless there is a strong Kapha imbalance. They should be chewed carefully and ideally taken with spices like cinnamon, cayeene, and cumin. Yes, warm almond milke with turmeric, ginger and cardamom is generally safe for Kapha. We have a number of almond drinks on the website that are Kapha pacifying. Enjoy!
After peeling the almond, how are they best stored?
- Karin, Alamogordo, NM
, 07-27-12 (Reply
Storing soaked or blanched almonds for an extended period should be down in a refrigerator, in a basin of water if they're still raw (uncooked). They don't store for very long, even if they're raw, in most households, because of the presence of naturally occurring microbes that float around and (naturally again) love almonds and all fresh foods. Adding turmeric powder or a little powdered food-grade clay can keep your soaked or hot water-blanched nuts fresher longer (and can then be drained/rinsed away when you decide to eat). Almonds can be hard on irritated stomachs, even if they've been soaked or blanched, so avoid them if you're trying to heal ulcers or tummy inflammation (unless blending them with fruit, honey, or more stomach-friendly ingredients). Almonds are one of the best things for increasing ojas! Consistently I've noticed that almonds brighten the following day better than vegetables, grains, other nuts - even most "ojas" foods! If you're feeling overburdened, stressed, and depressed because of depletion of ojas or vital fluids, take a night off of cooking and eat only soaked almonds and cinnamon-(raw)honey (or just raw honey) for dinner, skipping breakfast and only having a midday snack of organic fruit. You'll feel fantastic the next day, or my name's Charley.... (It's not!) Almonds combine well with meats, if you're eating them. Almonds are also delicious when gently toasted or fried with ghee - but always use enough oil to keep them from burning, and always after soaking/blanching! Almonds themselves are very good for the teeth and bones. Convalescent food can be made with ghee, rice, almonds, and a zucchini or regular squash - just cook the rice, add in the ghee and fry, then add your peeled almonds and vegetables, maybe a little salt or turmeric or black pepper (no garlic unless you have a bacterial infection), and ta-da! A very welcome meal when you're recovering from headache and fever or nausea. Buy your almonds organic, even though they're more expensive, because the non-organic almonds are more often than not fraught with pesticides, and contain less life energy. Some foods are so low in life energy that they can sap your own from you during digestion (though this risk mainly applies to processed foods, specifically to meats and long ago pasteurized products). Even when heat pasteurized or gas pasteurized, fresh organic almonds will maintain much of their life-promoting potency (because being seeds, they're very hardy). Almond mixes well with purely-sweet fruits like ripe banana and date, but it's also good when combined with less sweet nuts and seeds, fruit preserves, sweet potato, savory foods, and milk products (especially ice cream - but I'm not supposed to say that). Hope this helps!
- Colby, 07-10-13 (Reply
Some of the best info ever on almonds. Thank you...
a traditional home remedy for
This information has not been validated by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.