Roasted, Raw, or Sprouted: What's Best?
Almonds are one of the most popular nuts that people snack on and have been grown for thousands of years. Although they are high in fat, they remain popular due to their delicious taste and abundant health benefits.
There are many different ways you can eat almonds, such as roasted, raw, or sprouted. Almonds are also used to produce numerous other healthy items that most of us use on a regular basis, like almond butter, almond milk, and almond flour. Almonds are especially useful for those who are gluten sensitive since almond flour can easily replace wheat flour when cooking.
But most of all, almonds are used as a snack that is easily accessible and while also being healthy for you. Today you can get buy them almost everywhere, and they come in many different flavors.
Chances are if you are buying a pack of almonds to snack on they will be roasted unless they are specifically labeled as being raw. Roasted almonds are extremely healthy for you, but that does not mean that they are the best way you should be eating them. When you eat raw almonds, they can be either intact or sprouted. Sprouting nuts is gaining in popularity, and when you look at the added health benefits, it is not surprising why.
To start, let’s take a look at some of the best health benefits you can gain from including almonds into your diet.
Health Benefits of Almonds
Almonds are more than just tasty and convenient snacks as they can provide a whole host of health benefits that you could be missing out on, no matter how you choose to eat them.
The power of almonds is amazing, especially when it comes to your heart. Almonds can keep your heart healthy by helping to balance your cholesterol. Consuming just over an ounce of almonds a day can help keep your cholesterol balanced by maintaining your good cholesterol, HDL, and lowering your bad cholesterol, LDL.
It also does this by fighting and protecting you against oxidative stress, which has been known to raise your LDL. Oxidative stress has also been linked to cancer and cellular damage.
Studies show that consuming almonds on a regular basis can reduce the biomarkers of oxidative stress by up to 34%.
Almonds also help protect your heart and lower your cholesterol due to their fiber content and the omega-3 fatty acids. People who include more fiber and omega-3 fatty acids in their diet have lower risks of heart disease. Plus, Almonds have magnesium in them, which can also lower your blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, and the risk of stroke.
Studies have shown that almonds can also help people who have type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels when regularly included into their diet.
And, almonds can also help you maintain a healthy weight because when used for snacking, they can keep you satisfied, so you do not end up over consuming. Plus, they can provide a great source of energy when eaten throughout the day in small amounts.
Raw vs Roasted Almonds: Nutrition
There are a few factors to consider when you are deciding whether you should eat roasted or raw almonds. Most people choose by picking the one they like the taste of more, but is there more to consider when purchasing almonds at the store? Both are tasty snacks, but when you take a closer look, there is a difference in nutritional value. This difference happens because when you use high heat to roast almonds you end up destroying some of the nutrients in them and alter the fat content.
Raw almonds have a similar nutritional value when compared to roasted. One ounce of raw almonds has 163 calories while roasted almonds have about 169 calories. Raw almonds also have less fat, with roasted almonds containing 15 grams per ounce and raw almonds containing 14 grams per ounce. You also find more fiber within raw almonds than roasted almonds, with 3.5 grams per ounce in raw almonds and 3.1 grams. In the end, these differences are small and can have little impact on your diet.
This profile is for almonds that do not have any additional ingredients, such as being roasted in oil or honey. Most roasted almonds that you buy have additional ingredients in them, so pay close attention to the ingredient deck and nutritional label that is on the package. These extra ingredients can drastically change the nutritional profile of the almonds, adding calories, fat, and sugar. One of the big issues that you can encounter when buying roasted almonds is that when they are roasted, the almonds are many times cooked with additional ingredients to improve the flavor.
Common ingredients you would find added to roasted almonds, and may want to look out for, include sugar, corn syrup, MSG, oil, and salt.
As for digestion, it is noted that roasted almonds can be easier to digest than raw almonds due to the change in texture and loss of tissue. This can lead to the release of more nutrients during the digestion process.
Sprouted Almonds: Nutrition
The biggest difference in the nutritional value of almonds is when they are sprouted. This can change the nutritional profile of the nut, as well as how your body digests and absorbs the nutrients as you consume them.
Sprouted almonds have about 163 calories an ounce and less fat than traditional raw almonds, with only 11 grams. They also contain 3.5 grams of fiber, which is similar to traditional raw almonds.
Some of the biggest differences between sprouted almond and raw or roasted almonds is how they are digested, absorbed, and the content of vitamins and minerals. Sprouted almonds are particularly high in vitamin B, vitamin E, potassium, and calcium.
Benefits of Sprouted Almonds
Sprouting almonds is a time consuming process. It is done by soaking almonds overnight, rinsing them, and letting them sit until they begin to sprout.
There are many added benefits of sprouting almonds that you simply cannot get through eating conventional raw or roasted almonds.
One of the greatest benefits of sprouting almonds is that the nutrients contained within the almonds are more easily absorbed by your body. This is because normal raw or roasted almonds contain phytic acid, which can prevent the absorption of certain minerals, such as calcium, iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium. The phytic acid found in almonds binds to these minerals, making them difficult for your body to absorb.
Sprouted almonds are also easier to digest because they contain lower amounts of phytates than normal raw or roasted almonds. These phytates can inhibit pepsin, trypsin, and amylase, enzymes that are responsible for breaking down protein and starches throughout the digestion process. The process of sprouting almonds removes some of the phytates, which leads to improved digestion of the nuts. This is especially important l for people who deal with digestive issues such as bloating, leaky gut, irritable bowel, and candida.
How Sprouted Almonds are Used
Sprouted almonds can be used anywhere that regular almonds are used, meaning that you can add them to your smoothies, salads, or use them as a snack.
You can even use sprouted almonds to make a smoother almond milk, and better almond meal or flour.
Almost anything you can make with almonds you can make with sprouted almonds, and it will taste better and be better for you.
Because of all the added benefits that come with sprouting almonds they are the perfect ingredient for almond butter. When you use sprouted almonds to make almond butter the result is a nut butter that is smooth, creamy, and full of flavor. With a higher nutrient content that is easily absorbed into your body, this healthier nut butter is one you do not have to feel guilty about eating.
How to Sprout Almonds
There are several steps to sprouting almonds, and it can take several days of work, but as we all know, the best things in life come to those who wait, and all the hard work is well worth it.
Here is what you will need if you want to try sprouting your almonds at home:
- Medium jar with lid
- Filtered water
- Small bowl
- Rubber band
To sprout almonds, you start by adding your raw organic almonds to a jar of water with a pinch of salt. It is best to use filtered water to soak your almonds so that the chlorine is removed. Let your almonds soak overnight, or for at least 12-24 hours. During this time the almonds will begin to swell as they absorb some of the water.
In the morning drain the water from your almonds and rinse them, leaving them in the jar. Place a cheesecloth over the opening of the jar and secure it with a rubber band.
Using a small bowl, prop your jar upside down so that it is sitting at an angle, allowing the excess water to drain from the almonds.
Continue to rinse your almonds every 10-12 hours to keep them clean and free of bacteria and mold. This is very important as it is during this time that the almonds can become contaminated as bacteria begins to grow. This is why you need to rinse your almonds at least twice a day to keep them clean.
Keep a close eye on your almonds until they begin to sprout. You will see a small white sprout emerging from the pointed end of the almonds. Once they begin sprouting, they are ready to eat.
From here you can either dehydrate them or store them in your fridge where they will be good to eat for about three days. If you want to do more with your almonds, you can dehydrate them to have crispy snacking nuts, turn them into almond flour, almond meal, or almond butter. Otherwise, you can simply dry them off and place them in your fridge to eat as is.
Avoid Contamination Risks
One major issue that comes up when you are trying to sprout your own almonds is the act of contamination, something that is easily done if you are not careful.
There are certain risks you take when you sprout your own almonds, as well as any grain or seed. If not done correctly you can risk the growth and spread of bacteria, which can easily grow in warm moist areas, just like the space that is inside the jar your almonds are sprouting in.
Because it is easy for bacteria to grow in these jars, it is essential that you rinse the almonds and the jar at least twice a day.
The best way to make sure your almonds are safe and not contaminated is to leave the sprouting to the professionals who have extensive practice and knowledge of sprouting.
By having a professional do the work, someone who has a background in sprouting and the sterile environment to do it, you lower your risk of being exposed to bacteria that can make you ill.
Sprouting can be a delicate process, and while most people who sprout almonds at home do so without issue, you can still run the risk of bacteria growth if your almonds are not cleaned and rinsed correctly.
Contamination, although a risk, is rare if done correctly and should not be a cause for concern.
Why Sprouting is Perfect for Almond Butter
Sprouted almonds are perfect for almond butter because it makes the butter creamier and more flavorful than traditional nut butter. And because it is sprouted, your body will be able to absorb more nutrients from it.
Almond butter is great because it is so versatile. You can bake with it, use it in desserts, or throw it into your smoothie. It is even perfect for a quick snack. All you need is a spoonful to start getting the benefits of almonds. Plus, almonds help to keep you satisfied and beat hunger cravings throughout the day.
The sprouted almonds used Claire’s Goodness are treated with care before they are made into a creamy almond butter. This almond butter is smoother than traditional almond butter due to the almonds being sprouted before hand, and it is, therefore, more nutritional. Claire’s Goodness is handmade in a commercial kitchen that is sterile, so there is no risk cross contamination.
Claire has an extensive nutritional background and years of training when it comes to sprouting almonds, and after mastering this art, she spent months creating the perfect recipe for the perfect all natural sprouted almond butter, so make sure you don't miss out.
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