Not only are almonds a tasty and versatile food, these little nuts boast big health benefits.
- Photo: William Dickey; Styling: Margaret Dickey
Superfood: AlmondsNot only are almonds a tasty and versatile food, these little nuts boast big health benefits. Eating a handful of almonds (about 23) on a regular basis can:
• Decrease the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other chronic illnesses
• Lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and increase "good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
• Decrease levels of homocystein, the amino acid that is thought to contribute to the buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries
• Aid in weight loss because munching on almonds for a snack helps you feel satisfied and less inclined to overeat at mealtime.
Power GranolaIn addition to the almonds, this nutrient-packed granola has six additional heart-healthy ingredients: flaxseed, walnuts, oats, orange juice, cinnamon, and a bit of canola oil. Munch on a handful for a snack or eat it for breakfast along with milk or yogurt.
Almond-Crusted French ToastHere's a decadent French toast that's too good to be true. Soaking the bread in a mixture of egg substitute and soy milk, then dredging in a mixture of ground almonds and flaxseed gives it not only amazing texture and flavor, but also makes it a heart-healthy way to start your day.
Mesclun with Berries and Sweet Spiced AlmondsToss almonds in a mixture of brown sugar and spices and toast them for a sweet-hot crunchy salad topping. Almonds, raspberries, and salad greens all contain antioxidants that help fight cancer.
Green Beans with Toasted Almond GremolataGremolata is a garnish of minced parsley, lemon rind, and garlic that's typically sprinkled over the veal dish osso buco, but can also add great flavor to steamed vegetables. Here, toasted almonds add a bit of crunch and fiber to this herbed topping.
Beef Tagine with Dried Plums and Toasted AlmondsA tagine is a Moroccan-style stew that's flavored with vegetables or dried fruits and spices such as cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric. This style of stew is often sprinkled with almonds, which not only adds a nice crunch to the dish, but also makes it even better for your heart.
Salmon with Maple Syrup and Toasted AlmondsOne key strategy in fighting heart disease is to include "good fats" such as monounsaturated and omega-three fatty acids in your diet. Because of the almonds and the salmon, you get a healthy dose of each in this one super-easy recipe.
Almond-Lemon TorteGround almonds add nutty richness to the cake as well as filling it with disease-fighting nutrients. What better way to improve your health than to eat a lemony-sweet dessert?
Lavender and Toasted Almond Ice Cream with Warm FigsLet the aroma of lavender, honey, toasted almonds and ripe figs soothe your soul while the healing power of these ingredients nurtures your body. In ancient Rome lavender was recognized for its healing and antiseptic qualities, while the anti-inflammatory action of honey has been shown to reduce pain and improve circulation. Figs offer fiber as well as calcium and iron, while almonds are one of the best sources of the antioxidant vitamin E.