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Almonds for Vegetarian, Vegan, and Weight-loss Diets

Almond milk is a good source of protein and calcium and can replace cow milk for children or adults who have an intolerance or an allergy to dairy products. Test for nut allergy should always be done first. Almonds are also a healthy ingredient in soups, meat sauces, salad dressings, and vegetables. Almonds are part of the healthy Mediterranean diet.

The two varieties of almonds are sweet and bitter. With an elongated shape, sweet edible almonds are sold packaged, but bulk almonds are more economical. With a rounded shape, the bitter kind is used as almond extract for their their strong flavour.

Almonds are a Healthy Contribution to Special Diet Meals


Sweet almonds have high energy value and offer the most nutrition for the calories consumed with 164 calories for one once (23 kernels). For this reason, almonds are considered a “dense’ food. Health information provided by the U.S. Library of Medicine indicates that weight-gain was not observed after almonds were added to a weight-loss diet.

As the most nutritious of all nuts, almonds contain monounsaturated fats and vegetable proteins with all the amino acids. They have more fibres than other nuts. They are rich in protein (6 g per oz.), folic acid, Vitamin B, E, D, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and, above all calcium (70.3 mg per oz.), so important in children’s growth and for people on restrictive diets.

Recipe for Almond Milk with Agave Syrup

  1. Soak one cup of unsalted almonds overnight
  2. Rinse and place in blender with four cups of filtered water
  3. Blend until totally smooth adding water if necessary
  4. Use as a base for a smoothie
  5. Filter through a strainer, or press through a cheese-cloth to get the smoothness of milk

Almond milk can be consumed as is, sweetened with agave syrup, or flavored with vanilla. Nutritiously sweet is almond milk blended with dates. Keep refrigerated. If strained, the fibres can be added to pastry, or to thicken a soup, a sauce, or a dressing.

Recipe for Raw Almond Butter Sweetened with Honey

  1. Blanch ½ pound of raw almonds
  2. Brown in canola oil
  3. Blend in food processor with ½ cup of walnut oil (or vegetable oil)
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Add ¼ honey to the mix
  6. Store in a cool place

Almonds are used in the preparation of Amaretto liquor, marzipan cakes, soft or hard nougat. Almond soup is served in Spain, lamb in almond sauce in Morocco, and cardoons with almonds in Italy. Almonds are one of the the thirteen traditional Christmas deserts in Provence.

Almonds and Clinical Nutrition

As one of the staple foods consumed by individuals with the kind of life longevity found in the rugged areas of the Mediterranean Basin, almonds have been the subject of many studies:

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Almonds promote a healthy heart as they lower bad cholesterol (LDL).

The International Journal of Obesity: Almonds added to a diet help in weight-loss because of the satiating effect from monounsaturated fat

The British Journal of Nutrition: A study at Linda Loma University in California, showed that consuming almonds curbed the craving for less densely nutritious foods.

Spain and California are the World’s Major Producers of Almonds

Almond trees originated in the Middle East and Central Asia before being introduced to the Mediterranean Basin and California. Almonds can grow in poor soils and withstand droughts.

From the Latin Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis, the reproductive cycle is from seedlings grafted on the root-stocks of bitter almond, apricot, peach, or plum trees, all from the same family. They are harvested from June to September and known as green almonds from the green outer hull that dries and falls off as the seed ripens.

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