The King of Nuts

Alisha Shinde
Tuesday, 12 February 2019

The tiny nuts have great health benefits so making almonds a part of your daily meals can be a great idea

Often referred to as the king of nuts, almonds offer natural goodness in every bite and help create a variety of delectables. Recently, a cookout session was held in the city, which was organised by Almond Board of California. The cookout was conducted to put forward the idea that almonds can be the main ingredient in many of the meals that we consume throughout the day. The session was conducted by nutritionist Avanti Deshpande and Nitin Shitole, sous chef, JW Marriott Hotel.
 
Talking to the nutritionist and the chef, we found out more about the hearty nut and how it can be made a part of our everyday diet.   

Almonds are superfoods
Once you start having almonds, you will reap several health benefits. “The way mango is the king of fruits, almonds is the king of nuts — this is because almonds are not only tasty but also versatile,” says Deshpande adding that even though almonds are tiny in size they have great health benefits because they contain a lot of healthy fats, protein, fibre, magnesium and vitamin E.
 
Activated nuts
Many a time,  we come across the concept of ‘activating’ nuts, which is basically, soaking the nuts overnight in water and then peeling off the skin and roasting them on flame. There’s no doubt about the fact that it is a good technique because in this way you activate the germination process of the nuts which in turn is the powerhouse that provides us with the nutrients that the human body requires, but it is not feasible every single time.
 
“Sometimes people are in a hurry or they simply forget the entire activation process. It is a good thing to do, but is not completely necessary. What is important is the fact that one must consume the nuts on a daily basis,” Deshpande says.
 
She further mentions that if people suffer from almond allergy, they can probably try soaking them first and then consuming them after peeling off the skin, however, it is advisable to do so only if one has consulted the doctor.
 
If not the whole nuts
If you are not fond of nuts, you can try consuming almonds in some other way, and there is no dearth  of options nowadays. “Almond milk and almond flour are a few of the ingredients that are easily available in the market, and they are equally healthy. One just needs to introduce them in the daily diet and you can see the wonders it starts doing for your body,” says Deshpande.
 
She points out that when it comes to almond milk, opt for the milk that is made from almonds and not the one that is infused with almond flavour, because many a time, it could be an artificial flavour which though tasty will not add any value to one’s health.  

Maintaining A Balance
Deshpande says that we may plan our major meals like lunch and dinner but may not put a lot of thought into mid-afternoon or an early evening snack. That said, nuts make a healthy snack.  

“While most of the people are not even aware of what is healthy and what is not, some choose to completely skip out on the small meals. And then there are some who overindulge in healthy food. The key to a healthy body is a balanced diet. Along with having a balanced diet, which must include a fair amount of nuts, one should also devote at least an hour everyday to exercise, to make optimum use of calories that have been consumed through the day,” says Deshpande. 

Cooking with almonds
In recent times, people all over the world have turned to eating clean and healthy. The chef says that even though there are several types of diets that are being followed worldwide, sometimes, the diets don’t give the desired results. “When it comes to cooking with almonds, as a chef, I have realised that it is one of the versatile ingredients that can be paired with absolutely anything under the sun,” says Shitole.
 
He mentions that be it savoury or sweet, a regular dish or something festive — almonds can be added to any food. Almonds have a distinctive taste  and, more importantly, have a good amount of nutrients that the human body requires. “Almonds are also traditionally considered festive and they easily add flavour to any dish and can be paired with any masala,” says he adding, “Almonds improve our health and there many ways to consume this healthy nut than just have a handful.”

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