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Almonds, What's the Real Story?

 We all think of almonds as a wonderful nut that makes a great snack, but there is more to this tasty nut than meets the eye. Did you know there is a big nutritional difference between actual ‘raw’ almonds & almonds soaked in water overnight? One form is actually alkalizing to the body.

 Have you heard about recent legislation that was passed for our safety that requires that almonds are treated to prevent contamination? What’s not true about seeing the word ‘raw’ on a bag of almonds? Is there something deceptive in the current labeling? Where can we get REAL raw (organic) almonds? So, let’s find out a bit more about this tasty nut.

 Almonds were 1st cultivated in the mountains that separate Central Asia from China and Mongolia, and later spread along the fringes of the deserts and lower-mountain slopes to the west, developing many subspecies along the way. By 4,000 B.C., almonds were in use in nearly every ancient civilization. That was also about the time that humans learned to cultivate the trees. Over the years many regions have attempted to grow almonds, but those with a Mediterranean climate have been the most successful. Almonds thrive with mild wet winters and warm dry summers.

 Currently, almonds are predominately cultivated in California, as that location provides the ideal growing climate. They are currently producing 80% of the world’s almonds. In 2002 they had a record year when over 1 billion pounds were harvested.

 Almonds are the most nutrient-dense tree-nut. One ounce of almonds (about 23) contains 160 calories and only 1 gram of saturated fat. The same handful is also an excellent source of vitamin E and Magnesium, a good source of protein and potassium and has no cholesterol.

 On July 15, 2003, the FDA approved the first qualified health claim for conventional food, saying that “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.” The claim is one of only six existing health claims relating to heart disease.

 In April 2007, the USDA ruled that all almonds grown in California must be sterilized with various “pasteurization” techniques. This is in response to several to outbreaks of Salmonella in 2001 and 2004, traced to raw almonds. There is consumer and industry outcry about the new regulation, which stem from objections to the usual method of sterilizing almonds, fumigation using propylene oxide (PPO), a chemical classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a probable human carcinogen. Raw organic almonds will require steam-heat treatment only, which some are concerned will further devalue the nutrients, enzyme activity and antioxidants.

 According to the Body Ecology Diet,   “almonds are usually difficult for most people to digest because of an enzyme-inhibiting substance in their brown coating. Soaking or sprouting removes this inhibitor so that the enzymes secreted during digestion can do their job.”   In their raw form, the almond is essentially dormant in terms of its nutrient potential. Soaked almonds, which have been stripped of these enzyme inhibitors, have increased vitality & life to them.

To soak, cover the almonds with purified water and store for 12 hours. You can then drain, rinse and refrigerate in a glass or stainless steel container. They will last in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. They are best stored with no lid, and should be rinsed each day.

 One source for RAW ORGANIC almonds is ‘Organic Pastures’ & they can be reached at 877-729-6455 or on their website at www.OrganicPastures.com . Their almonds are not pasteurized in any way. The raw almonds sold by Whole Foods are steam pasteurized.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.