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Apulian Cooking
MEDITERRANEAN DIET
Almonds
So good
…and precious for health and beauty
Minerals and vitamins in abundance, “good” fats and properties that can prevent many illnesses by Novella Pranzo
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Almonds. Photo by Dario Ersetti

Almond paste lambs

 

Quantities for a lamb weighing 2.5 kilos:

 

- 1 kg peeled almonds reduced to flour

- 1 kg icing sugar

- 2 peeled bitter almonds, chopped

- 100 g glucose

- approx. 200 ml water

 

For the FILLING:

- pear jelly

- faldacchiera 

 

Nutrition facts per 100 grams of product :

 

- energy: 415 Kcal

- protein: 8 g

- lipids: 21.5 g

- glucides: 51 g

- solubles: 51 g

- fibre: 6 g

 

      A proper diet certainly includes the consumption of nuts, a food that helps you to keep in shape and also prevent various illnesses. Eating nuts frequently can, for example, help reduce the risk of heart disease. However, the quantities must be modest, since they are high in calories.

      The almond, with its innumerable beneficial qualities, is the queen of nuts. Almonds are easily digestible and energy-giving and are also a good source of protein, iron, magnesium copper, potassium, selenium, phosphorous, vitamin E and of the vitamins in the B group.

      The difference in calories between dried almonds and the fresh ones is not as significant as is often thought because fresh almonds do not contain much water (100 g contain more or less 5.5 g) so the nutritional properties don’t vary very much.

      There is also a small quantity of amygdalin, a substance that has been claimed to be anti-cancer.

      Recent studies have also demonstrated that almonds contain those “good” fats (monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids) that, if consumed regularly, contribute to reducing haematic levels of the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, thus preventing the onset of arteriosclerosis.

      Even people who are overweight could and should eat them, while keeping an eye of course on the quantities, and calculating the input of calories so as not to go over the recommended daily total. They are also advisable for people who suffer from osteoporosis since their nutritional substances help to increase bone mineral density. Of all the types of nuts they are the ones with the highest fiber content (12%) and that is why they also have laxative qualities. However, not everybody can eat them; they have a strong relationship with arginine-lysine and so it is better not to consume them if you are subject to herpetic infections.

      On the subject of our almond paste, which is never missing from Apulian tables at Easter and at Christmas, it must not be forgotten that it is very rich in simple sugars, so diabetics, the obese and anyone who is overweight must be very careful.

      Apart from their nutritional properties, almonds have a lot of other qualities: almond oil is widely used in everyday cosmetics. It can help prevent wrinkles, helps to reduce bags under the eyes, since it revitalizes the cells and improves blood flow, and it is extremely useful in the treatment of many trichological problems (dandruff, hair loss, etc.). Moreover, it is the most frequently-recommended oil to be used by mothers-to-be to prevent anti-aesthetic stretch marks.

      Thanks to these countless properties, almonds can be considered a complete food of high quality.

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