Superfood of the Week: AlmondsIngredients | Dr. Nishant Rao | December 1, 2009 at 9:53 am
Used as a substitute for conventional flour, almond flour can be a blessing to diabetics and people with celiac disease. There are lots of ways to enjoy almonds: spread some almond butter on a cracker or send your kids off to school with an almond butter and jam sandwich. I love an almond butter sandwich with raw honey and banana slices. If you have a dairy sensitivity you can pour a glass of cold almond milk over your homemade granola in the morning and top it off with some crispy almonds.
I discovered the versatility of almonds when a friend recommended a great Website that features gluten and casein-free foods and baked goods. When I went to Elana’s Pantry, I was overjoyed at the simplicity of her recipes. The list of ingredients for gluten free baked goods is usually intimidating, with various types of flour substitutes (often an amalgam of unhealthy simple starches) and all sorts or special ingredients that you don’t normally store in your pantry, but these recipes were realistic and elegant. Check out her new cookbook, The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.
Here’s a sample sandwich using almond flour bread and leftover turkey. The key to Elana’s simple recipes is almond flour. Not only does it give your cookies, crackers and pancakes a great flavor, but it makes them much more nutrient dense. Almond flour is packed with protein and healthy fats, which gives these homemade treats a low glycemic load. The glycemic load is a measure of how a meal will affect your blood sugar. Since the high protein content keeps the blood sugar levels from spiking, you’ll avoid energy crashes, subsequent sugar and caffeine cravings, and hyperactivity in children. If you are at risk for diabetes, have a family history of type 2 diabetes or have pre-diabetes, using almond flour as a base for your baked goods is really your best option. Your pancreas will thank you.
If you’re having a carbohydrate dense food like whole wheat bread, bananas, or apples, try to combine it with a healthy source of protein like almonds or almond butter. This will lower the glycemic load of the meal. Having a handful throughout the day to balance your blood sugar is also a great way to shed some extra pounds.
- So we know that almonds are a great source of protein, but they also provide your body with; heart healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, manganese, copper, riboflavin, and phosphorus.
- The monounsaturated fats are great for your cardiovascular system and have been shown to bring LDL cholesterol levels down.
- The vitamin E will give you the magic anti-oxidant touch you need to protect your blood vessels and keep your little cells protected against those pesky free radicals that we hear so much about these days.
- Magnesium will keep your blood vessels and muscles relaxed, reducing the risk for hypertension.
So go ahead and have a crunchy almond snack to sustain you between meals. And as always, to decrease the chemical load on your body, the soil and our ground water, try to buy organic almonds free of petrochemicals or synthetic fertilizers.
Dr. Nishant Rao is a co-founder of WellWire.com. He is a well-traveled naturopathic doctor and new father, practicing an integrative approach to create wellness in and around Los Angeles. Become a patient or discover his practice.