Almonds are very nutritious and know to be rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of fibre, healthy fats, and an excellent source of vitamin E, manganese and magnesium. Almonds are a source of protein that help stabilize blood-sugars, lower blood pressure, and also have antioxidant properties. Click here for the health benefits of almonds
The argument For soaking and peeling almonds
Ayurveda says that nuts like almonds are difficult to digest and hence should be soaked before consumption. The advantages of soaking almonds are as follows.
- Soaking almonds makes it more easily digestible as mentioned above and easy for the body to breakdown. It is easier to chew soaked almonds, thus increasing the absorption of fats in the almonds.
- Almond has antinutrients like phytic acid which prevents certain minerals such as calcium, Iron, Zinc, and Magnesium from being absorbed. Soaking reduces antinutrient levels in grains and pulses, so it follows that it may reduce antinutrients in almonds too.
- It tastes better and less bitter. The texture too becomes softer. Almonds have a slightly bitter taste because of the tannins in the skin.
- Soaked almonds release the enzyme lypase which assists digestion, enhances metabolism, thus supporting weight loss. People who want to lose weight are encouraged to eat soaked almonds.
- Soaked almonds are said to boost the brain’s agility due to the increased bioavailability of protein to the brain’s cells.
What does science say about soaking and peeling almonds
- Evidence is mixed on whether soaking almonds reduces antinutrient levels. While research shows that soaking can reduce antinutrient levels in grains and pulses, there is less evidence to show that the same holds good with almonds. A study showed that after soaking almonds for 24 hours, phytic acid, the antinutrient levels reduced by less than 5%. Another study showed that soaking almonds did not improve digestion and the phytic acid levels were almost the same and in some cases slightly higher than raw almonds.
- Studies show that soaking almonds does help in the absorption of fats but decreases mineral availability.
- The skin is rich in antioxidants like polyphenols, which protect against diseases like diabetes II, and heart disease. Tannins and phytic acid in the skin, exhibit antioxidant activity which may even protect against some forms of cancer.
- One study came to the conclusion that roasting may be most suitable way of processing almonds to get the most antioxidants from almond skins.
What is the best way to eat the almonds?
The debate on this topic has been going on for quite some time. The best way to consume the almonds would be to soak them and eat them with their peels, so as to get the complete nutrition from the almonds in an absorbable form. Soaking the almonds is good, as it helps in the absorption of micronutrients, but we must really avoid peeling them, as the peel too has nutrients. In addition to the antioxidants in the peel, it is also rich in fibre, which in fact aids digestion.
It is best to consume almonds with the skin, but if you have a weak digestion, you may peel the skin and have it. Make sure to eat almonds in moderation as they are high in calories. Experts say that you can eat up to 28g of almonds which is roughly 23-24 almonds a day.