When you part ways with Maida – refined, bleached flour, a little bit of that foodie in you dies. But if you think about it, death is never really The End, it is merely The Beginning of an exciting new adventure. And that’s exactly how the low carb world’s love affair with almonds blossomed.
Almonds, like other tree nuts, form an integral part of the Indian Low-carb LCHF and Ketogenic diet followed on dLife.in. We have around 200 threads on the forum that are almond-based recipes. If you want to get down to the nutty-gritty right away, check out this quick link to legacy threads (threads posted before the launch of dLife FoodLog module on April 21st, 2019):
After the launch of dLife FoodLog module with recipes posting utility, new recipes with almonds as one of the ingredients, were posted. These are the 28 new recipes posted in a four-part series:
- 7 Indian Low Carb High Fat LCHF & Keto Diet Plan Recipes Using Almonds: Part 1
- 7 Indian Low Carb High Fat LCHF & Keto Diet Plan Recipes Using Almonds: Part 2
- 7 Indian Low Carb High Fat LCHF & Keto Diet Plan Recipes Using Almonds: Part 3
- 7 Indian Low Carb High Fat LCHF & Keto Diet Plan Recipes Using Almonds: Part 4
The nutty, crunchy almond is something of a quick-change artist that can assume many personalities – plain almonds ,almond meal, almond flour, almond butter, slivered almonds, flaked almonds, blanched almonds , roasted almonds, toasted almonds, ghee fried almonds, smoked almonds, almond milk …
Plain almond kernels : have a handful as a snack
Almond meal: Almonds with skin, powdered in a processor . You only need a couple of whirrs, if you go further, you end up with almond butter.
Almond flour: Blanched almonds, powdered in a processor; doesn’t have the skin, results in a finer texture and is lighter in colour.
Blanched almonds: Almonds dropped in boiling water, drained and cooled to remove skin
Slivered and Flaked almonds: Blanched almond cut into thin slivers or flakes mostly used for garnishing , toppings etc., Can also be used to quickly make some almond flour for that mug cake or keto dosa.
Roasted, Toasted or Fried almonds: Almonds can be dry roasted or ghee-roasted, salted, spiced up with chilly powder – and you have yourself a snack or mini meal in seconds.
Almond butter: Almonds can be ground up to give a nutty, creamy and seriously addictive Almond butter. A little added ghee can make the making-process much easier and quicker and takes the taste factor to another level altogether. Adding some coarsely ground almonds gives a crunch to die for.
Smoked almonds: Many people enjoy the smoked flavor and will swear by these almonds.
Almond milk: Almonds when run through the processor with added water, yields almond milk which replaces regular milk in a low carber’s recipe book.
Almond flour is lighter in colour and texture than almond meal and either of them can be used instead of regular flour in most recipes. Do keep in mind that the lack of gluten and the presence of natural fats means that almond flour/meal will not behave exactly like regular flour .It might take a few tries before you get the ratios just right ,but once you crack the code a whole new world of taste is yours to conquer. Nutritionally there is not much of a difference between almond meal and almond flour, but looks-wise and mouth-feel wise, almond flour has a better rating. These days you also get superfine almond flour that is even closer to regular flour in texture. It may not be possible to make this version at home because if you process almonds beyond a point, they release their fats and start coming together to form almond butter.
The only “haddi in the kebab” is the phytic acid content in almonds. It is relatively high and the issue cannot be totally ignored. It is very easy to overdo almonds and they can pack a whole bunch of calories too, so please remember to use them in moderation.
If you need more convincing, here are 5 reasons why almonds should be a part of your LCHF & Keto WOE:
Almonds Are a Storehouse of Antioxidants
Antioxidants act as an antidote to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is damaging to the body and can contribute to inflammation, aging, and diseases like cancer, etc.
For example, in a clinical trial on 60 male smokers, it was found that about 84 grams (3 ounces) of almonds per day reduced oxidative stress biomarkers by 23–34% over a four-week period. In another study, it was found that eating almonds with main meals reduced some markers of oxidative damage.
It is important to note that antioxidants in almonds are primarily concentrated in the brown layer of the skin. To take maximum advantage of the antioxidants in almonds, it is recommended to give blanched almonds a wide berth and go for whole almonds instead.
Almonds Help in Blood Sugar Control
The LCHF and Ketogenic ways of eating are entrenched on the premise of restricting carbohydrates and increasing good fats. The proximate analysis of almonds, as available from the Nutrition Facts database on dLife.in, is as below for 100 gms almonds:
Proximates for 100 gms almonds
|Total lipid (fat)||g||49.93|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||g||21.55|
|Fiber, total dietary||g||12.5|
As you can see, 100 gm almonds is about 9 gm net carbs, 21gm proteins, and 49.93 gm fats. As a percentage, the calorie distribution is 6.14% carbs, 14.37% proteins, and 76.3% fats. This is why almonds are so helpful in controlling blood sugar in the case of diabetics on Indian low-carb LCHF & Keto diet.
Almonds Are Rich in Vitamin E and Magnesium
Complete Vitamins and minerals profile of almonds is as follows:
Vitamins / 100 gm almonds
|Vitamin A, IU||IU||2|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||µg||1|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||mg||25.63|
Vitamin E is a family of fat-soluble antioxidants. As noted above, 100 gm almonds contain 25.63 mg Vitamin E. It is one of the richest sources of Vitamin E, with 1 ounce covering 37% of RDI. Higher vitamin E intake is associated with lower rates of heart disease, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Minerals/100 gm almonds
The current RDI for magnesium is 310–420 mg. 100 gms almonds have 270 mg magnesium. Interestingly, it has been found that Hypomagnesemia occurs in 25-38% of patients with type 2 diabetes. Fixing magnesium deficiency helps in improving insulin sensitivity and improves beta-cell function. Not just diabetics, magnesium also helps non-diabetics in improving insulin sensitivity.
Besides blood sugar, hypomagnesemia also is linked to hypertension, irrespective of weight. Fixing this deficiency helps in a substantial reduction in blood pressure, both in diabetic and non-diabetic hypertensive patients.
Almonds Lower LDL and Prevent LDL Oxidation
There are many studies that have shown a beneficial effect of almonds on the LIPIDS profile. For example, in a 16-week study on a population size of 65 people with pre-diabetes it was found that a diet consisting of 20% of calories from almonds lowered LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 12.4 mg/dL.
In yet another study, adding 1.5 ounces (42 grams) of almonds per day to diet lowered LDL cholesterol by 5.3 mg/dL while maintaining HDL cholesterol and helping lose abdominal fat.
Besides lowering LDL cholesterol, almonds also reduce oxLDL, a product of LDL oxidation. It is oxLDL which is responsible for CVD. As already noted, almond skin is rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which prevent oxidation of cholesterol in test-tubes and animal studies. In one human study, it was found that almonds reduced oxLDL by 14%
Almonds Help In Weight Loss
Proximate analysis details, as mentioned earlier, show that almonds are low in carbs and high in protein and fiber. The combined effect of this is higher satiety and less frequent eating. Hence, calorie intake is lowered without the need to fight hunger pangs.
In a four-week study in 137 participants, it was shown that a daily 1.5-ounce serving of almonds substantially reduced hunger and the desire to eat. Additionally, about 10% to 15% of calories from nuts are not absorbed by the body. Here are a few studies on the impact of almonds on weight loss:
What are some of the things you can make with almonds?
- All sweet treats from cakes to pancakes, waffles, crepes, halwa, pastry bases, dumplings, porridges…
- Bread, buns, bagels, pizza base, puff pastry, keto dosa, dlife roti …
- Use almond butter as a high-octane treat by itself or spread it on low carb breads, use it to thicken shakes and smoothies and even soups, add to ice creams for a creamy texture and flavour bump or use it to “glue” together fat bombs.
- Almonds roasted in ghee with salt and chilli powder is a tasty, filling meal in itself.
- Use almond milk wherever a recipe calls for milk.
- Coarsely ground almond meal can be used for coating instead of bread crumbs.
- Almond flakes and slivers used as toppings can give a nice crunch in puddings and salads
- Almonds are a rich source of antioxidants and hence prevent oxidative stress damage.
- Almonds help in blood sugar control. It also helps in reducing insulin resistance both in diabetics and non-diabetics.
- Almonds help in blood pressure control in diabetics and non diabetics due to magnesium.
- Almonds help in a healthy lipid profile and minimize oxidation of LDL.
- Almonds are nutrient-dense. Being low in carbs and high in fiber, protein, and fat helps fight hunger pangs.
- Almonds help in weight loss.
Almonds and low carbers are a match made in heaven. We can once again, enjoy our much-loved bakes and eats. Without fear or guilt. Without blood sugar spikes or organ damage. It is an added blessing to us low carbers that almonds have a fantastic nutritional profile that propels them to the status of a “superfood”. It’s alright to go totally nuts over this nut.
So what nutty delight are you going to make today?