Why Almonds are an Ayurvedic Super Food
Date Posted:16 May 2011
Almonds are the oldest and most widely grown of all the world’s nut crops. They are the seeds of a fruit tree that is related to plums and apricots. Whole almonds are eaten raw or toasted, while almond oil is used in cosmetics and massage oils. Almonds are also highly regarded in Ayurveda for their nutritional value and Vata-pacifying effect.
What's in the Almonds?
Worried about gaining weight, many people stay away from nuts and seeds because of their fat content. However, if eaten in moderate quantities, almonds provide several essential nutrients. For one, they are 20% protein. If you eat an ounce of almonds a day (about 24 nuts) you will get about 5.6 grams of protein. They are also rich in Vitamin E and magnesium and contain calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
What do they do?
Maharishi ayurveda recommends sweet almonds instead of bitter ones. Because of their sweet and warming quality, they are best for pacifying Vata dosha. They lubricate the skin and the microcirculatory channels and support all the seven dhatus (tissues), especially Shukra dhatu (reproductive tissue). Almonds are also good for Pitta but people with Kapha imbalance should eat them in small quantities. Due to their heavy quality, you need a strong agni, digestive fire, to metabolize them. If your agni is low, strengthen it first before you take almonds.
How to eat them
Buy whole organic almonds, which contain most of Nature’s intelligence. Their skin is hard to digest so ayurveda recommends blanching them. Soaking also helps their digestibility. If eaten without soaking, they can aggravate Pitta. The best way to prepare them is to soak them overnight and peel the skin off in the morning. Then you can blend them with dates and raisins, which also reduces Pitta aggravation. Eat up to 10 almonds in the morning and evening. Almonds should not be eaten by themselves on an empty stomach, but always mixed with other foods such as milk, grains or vegetables, to avoid Pitta imbalance. Since they are so versatile, you can add them to most of your dishes.
You can sprinkle chopped almonds on puddings and add them to muffins and breads. You can mix almonds in your grains and cook them together. Add toasted almonds to your salads, or blend them with the salad dressing. Toasting enhances the flavor of the nuts and helps their digestibility. Blend almonds with dates and raisins and add them to your breakfast cereal. Make an almond milk-shake or a fruit smoothie for a satisfying drink. Mixed with walnuts, sunflower seeds, dates and raisins, they provide a delicious and nutritious snack, you can take with you to school or work. Spread Organic Almond Butter on your bread for breakfast. Add Almond Energy Drink to milk and desserts. Since they go with everything, there is no excuse for not including them in your diet.
Almond Oil - Simply Magic!
Sweet almond oil is the best massage oil for Vata people, or those with a Vata imbalance. As almonds balance Vata when you eat them, almond oil pacifies Vata when applied externally. It penetrates the skin easily and nourishes the deeper layers. Maharishi Ayurveda Vata Body Lotion contains high-quality sweet almond oil with essential oils to calm Vata inside and out.
Buckwheat Almond Salad (serves 4)
- 1 cup toasted buckwheat (kasha)
- 2 1/4 cups boiling water
- 2 tablespoons Ghee
- 1 teaspoon Maharishi Ayurveda Pitta Churna
- 1/3 cup toasted almonds, sliced
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh coriander, parsley, and basil, or 1/2 teaspoon each dried herb
- 1 avocado
- bed of salad greens
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Oil a baking dish with ghee and pour in the buckwheat. Add the water, Pitta Churna, almonds, raisins, salt and herbs and bake uncovered for 45 minutes, until the kernels are soft. Fluff with a fork and let it cool to room temperature.
- Dice avocado and mix in with the buckwheat. Sprinkle with pepper, lemon juice and olive oil.
- Cover a large plate with salad greens generously. Spoon the buckwheat over the greens and create a mound. Serve at room temperature.
Almond Pesto Spread
- 1/3 cup toasted almonds
- 1/3 cup fresh basil
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon each freshly ground black pepper and salt
- Chop almonds, cilantro, and basil separately in a food processor.
- Combine all ingredients in the food processor, cover and process until smooth.
Almond Pudding (serves 4)
- 1/2 cup blanched almonds
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoon semolina flour
- 4 tablespoons Maharishi Ayurveda Almond Energy Drink
- 2 tablespoons toasted almond slivers for garnishing.
- Place the almonds in a bowl, add the boiling water and soak for two hours.
- Blend almonds with soaking water in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of the milk and process into a smooth almond milk.
- Combine the remaining milk and cream in a nonstick pan and bring to a boil over high heat. While stirring constantly, sprinkle in the semolina, and pour in the almond milk. Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring frequently until it thickens, about 30 minutes.
- Stir with a whisk if texture is clumpy. Add Almond Energy Drink and cool to room temperature. Pour pudding into four dessert bowls or parfait glasses and garnish with toasted almonds.