Amazing almonds

Almonds are heartily consumed during winter as a roasted, salted, in-shell snack. Earlier, these were considered a delicacy, which is why they were eaten at Diwali or Christmas. But no longer so. Almonds are eaten all year through as these are exremely healthy. The best thing about all of this is that due to their unique health benefits almonds are guilt-free. 28 grams, 160-calorie handful of almonds is high in vitamin E, magnesium calcium and potassium. Almonds are also a natural source of protein, naturally high in fibre. Recent research shows they also contain flavonoid antioxidants in levels comparable to broccoli and tea.

We Indians love to use almonds in our cooking too. Especially in biryanis, pulaos, gajar halwa, phirnee as garnish. Additionally almonds are often used as paste for gravies, giving them the much needed thickness. Chicken shahiwala, is a dish where I often use ground almonds along with poppy seeds and a green masala made of ground mint, corrriander and green chillies. Yummy but yes, rich too. Another way of using almonds is in marzipan during Christmas, instead of cashewnuts.

Ofcourse the healthiest way to consume almonds is to soak a few overnight in water. Drain them in the morning, peel them and enjoy.Research shows that eating about a handful of almonds a day may actually help lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels.

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