In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you eat almonds raw? We will discuss; what it means for almonds to be raw, how to consume them safely, and make most of the health benefits that almonds have.
Can you eat almonds raw?
You can eat almonds raw or toasted. In the US, the almonds labeled as raw; have undergone the pasteurization process. It is dictated by US law to pasteurize every single almond sold to the consumer. Pasteurization is a heat treatment to food that kills bacteria capable of harming a person.
The Almond Board of California states that the almonds labeled as raw, are in reality, untoasted.
You can buy raw almonds that have not undergone the pasteurization process that is not from the US. Almonds, produced and treated in California, are legally required to be pasteurized, while imported ones might not be.
What are the risks associated with eating raw almonds?
Almonds carry the risk of food poisoning because they carry food-borne diseases. An outbreak resulted in 2000, where raw almonds from California carried Salmonella. California produces 80 percent of the almonds in the world. Many people succumbed to the bacteria in untreated almonds, mostly in the US and Canada.
Soon enough, research was conducted which brought forth the presence of Salmonella in the soil where almonds grew.
In September 2007, a law was passed by the FDA that required the almond produced in California to be pasteurized, before being distributed to the consumer.
Ether of two processes is used for pasteurization; steam pasteurization or propylene oxide.
In steam pasteurization, the almonds are blasted with heat to kill harmful bacteria; the temperature that almonds reach is around 165 F.
The other method, which uses propylene gas to pasteurize almonds, is more popular than the prior. According to the FDA-approved method, fresh almonds are treated with PPO. However, the WHO states PPO as a possible carcinogen.
What are the health benefits of eating almonds?
Almonds are nuts that contain proteins and fibers. Almonds have unsaturated fats that improve cholesterol. The good fats in almonds reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood.
Raw almonds increase vitamin E in plasma and red blood cells; the antioxidant properties of almonds contribute to a decrease in cholesterol levels. Almonds reduce blood pressure and improve blood circulation. Vitamin E, fiber, and flavonoids; reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Vitamin E, such as tocopherol, prevents the oxidation of cells. Oxidation leads to the formation of free radicals that cause stress and damages the cells. The free radicals also contribute to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Almonds also protect against certain types of cancer, including breast cancer.
Almonds also have 76.5 mg of magnesium that meets around 20 percent of an adult’s daily need.
Almonds also contribute to good bone health. The nutrient in almonds such as Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Vitamin K, protein, and zinc help to strengthen bones.
Is there a difference in the nutritional value of raw almonds and toasted almonds?
Roasted almonds have a different texture than raw almonds. Roasted almonds are crunchy and have less moisture content.
Roasted almonds have a slightly different nutritional content than raw almonds. Raw almonds have an inconsiderably lesser quantity of fat than toasted almonds. A potential concern, that roasting almonds could cause; is the formation of a carcinogenic compound called acrylamide.
When almonds are toasted, the polyunsaturated fats become prone to the oxidation reaction that causes a slight change in texture. As the good fats become oxidized upon being heated, the nutritional value decreases.
The free radicals that form cause damage to the nuts; hence, a reduction in the good fats occurs.
Also, heat-sensitive compounds such as vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus destroy when almonds are roasted. According to a study, vitamin E, thiamine, and carotenoids; were found to decrease in roasted nuts.
At the end of the day, if you choose to roast nuts, keep the time short and temperature low. The greater the almonds are exposed to heat; the greater will be the loss of nutrition.
What are some other risks associated with almonds?
Almonds have nutritional value that is beneficial in the long run and protects against diseases and chronic conditions.
However, almonds may not be safe for people who suffer from allergies. People who have nut allergies must not eat almonds because they can cause hives, swelling, and anaphylaxis.
Also, be wary of aspiration, which is choking caused when food enters the lung. Some people have difficulty swallowing foods, such as children and people with dementia or Parkinson’s disease.
In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you eat almonds raw? We discussed; what it means for almonds to be raw, how to consume them safely, and make most of the health benefits that almonds have.