phytochemicals Phytochemicals
 
 

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Almond

Almond

Amygdalus comminis

What is almond?

The almond tree is a medium sized tree with spreading branches. The almond leaves are lance shaped and toothed. Unique for the almond tree is that the flowers are formed before the leaves. The almond flowers resemble small roses and are white to pink in colour. There are two types of almonds: the sweet almond and the bitter almond. Bitter almonds should not be eaten, at least not in large quanities, because they contain the toxin amygdalin. The sweet almond has a very nice sweet taste and is very nutritious. The almond is rich in healthy oil (50%), protein (20%) and phytochemicals, which are mainly concentrated in the almond peel. In order to benefit from all these nutrients it is important to chew the almonds very well.

Parts used

The almond nuts are used as food. The highest concentration of phytochemicals are found in the dark brown almond skins. Almond oil is also extracted for therapeutic use.

Phytochemicals

These are typical phytochemicals found in almond: protocatechuic acid, methylquercetin, catechin , p-hydroxybenzoic acid, vanillic acid, flavonoids, resveratrol, kaempferol.

Benefits of almond

Chewing a few almonds seems to relieve heartburn because of their high oil content. Eating almonds is supposed to lower the risk of cancer and to lower cholesterol. The high calcium level of almonds may lower the risk of colon and rectal cancers. The high levels of antioxidant flavonoids in the almond skin help to inhibit the oxidation of low density lipoproteins, thereby reducing the formation of plaques in the arteries. The extracted oil, which is eatable and has a nutty taste, is used to clean the skin from spots.

Other facts

The almond tree originates from western Asia and North Africa. Today the almond tree is cultivated in many countries with warm climate. The almond tree belongs the Rosacea family, together with rose, cherry, plum, peach and apricot. The almond tree resembles an apricot tree. The inside of apricot kernels also contain a small nut, which is often used as a cheap substitute for almonds. The almond tree belongs the Rosacea family, together with rose, cherry, plum, peach and apricot.

Other names

Sweet almond, bitter almond

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