Almonds

Benefits of the Almond

Almonds refer both to the tree bearing the nuts, and the edible seed,which is the fruit of the tree.It is originally found in the Mediterranean climatic regions of the Middle East.It was later cultivated in Southern Europe and the North of Africa.The wild variety is said to be toxic and poisonous.However,it was anciently used in small doses for medicinal purposes.It is among the first nut trees to be domesticated.The more recent variety is a quality,sweet type of an unknown evolution.It is widely cultivated for it’s domestic and commercial value,leading to it’s being an export earner and income generator for many.

Production Zones

The world produces two million tonnes of almonds annually ,with the United States of America being the largest producer . Almonds are also cultivated in the following regions:  Spain,Algeria,Morocco,Italy,China,Turkey,Iran,Tunisia and Syria,with a bigger percentage mainly exported as shelled almonds.

 Uses

The young,green almond fruit can be eaten raw while the hardened , mature nut can be used to make pastries that include cakes and biscuits ,French marzipan, dessert and muesli.A variety of food products like milk ,syrup ,flour, almond butter and jelly are produced through processing of the nut.In the cosmetics industry,almond massage oils are considered effective for the skin.

 Yields

With the tree taking upto three years from planting to yield crop, insect pollination significantly increases the yields .With time,almond growers’ dependency on insect pollination to improve yields affected bee keeping ,especially in the predominantly almond-growing state of California,in the United States.This lead to research that unveiled quality,self -pollinating varities that have significantly reduced the level of dependency on insect pollination.Pickling extends the nut’s shelf life,and this is useful especially since almonds are not cultivated all year round.Supply is therefore kept constant.

Health Benefits

Almonds are beneficial and are highly recommended to diabetes mellitus type 2 patients.They are rich in protein,vitamins,amino acids,carbohydrates,and minerals that include : potassium,copper,phosphorous and magnesium.The carbohydrate dietary fibre content is very beneficial to people on carbohydrate restricted diets .Almonds also aid in lowering levels of serum LDL cholesterol concentration.They also guard against coronary heart disease and make arteries less prone to blood clots.

 

The Wonder Nut

The Almond

The Precious NutCredit: morguefile
Credit: morguefile