Last year we were in Hyderabad Deccan, a celebrated city of India where my parents originate. We were there attending the marriage ceremony of the daughter of my mom’s brother Moeez. Moeez is a dental surgeon and the husband of a gorgeous doe-eyed Turkish lady called Fatma.
Aunty Fatma has a very likable and delightful personality and has learned all the prosperous traditions, majesty and elegance of the Monarchy of Nazism. All the wedding guests were hosted at aunty Fatma’s impressive mansion.
One specialty among the lavish desserts was a sweet, comprising of almonds and coated with sheets of silver color, called “Baadam ki Jaali.” This delicacy was prepared by Aunt Fatma. Aunt Fatma is a clinical dietitian and a great chef.
A few days after the marriage ceremony, I sat with Aunt Fatma and highly praised the almond desert she made. This prompted her to talk about the various health benefits of almonds.
She said Almonds help prevent heart disease and stroke because they contain the monounsaturated good fats plus lots of potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and are rich in fiber. The fiber assists in detaching flab from the body and maintains weight loss.
I asked how this is possible.
She disclosed that the fiber existing in almonds gratifies you, making you feel satisfied. Another incredible fact she revealed about almonds was that they contained the amino acid Tryptophan which not only keeps you satiated, but also instigates the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Serotonin makes you feel delightful and aids in controlling your temper and combating anxiety.
She also pointed towards her flat tummy and told me this happened since she and her hubby formed the habit of drinking a glass of skimmed milk with a handful of raw almonds (soaked in water overnight so that they become puffy) for breakfast daily.
Then she giggled and claimed that almonds had unbelievable weight loss remuneration.
I wanted to know the reason for soaking them in water overnight?
She said the almonds contain certain enzyme inhibitors. When they are soaked in water, these inhibitors become unconfined and cause an effortless digestion.
Then she whispered something in my ear which I could not figure out. So, she repeated it a bit louder, “Almonds not only reduce the symptoms of PMS, but also protect women against breast malignancy and help prevent osteoporosis which promotes wellness.”
She went further to explain that Riboflavin present in almonds eases the transfer of food into energy within the body and promotes growth of strong hair and nails.
While Aunt Fatma was in the midst of the interesting ‘almond talk,’ Uncle Moeez joined us.
He asked his spouse permission to contribute to the conversation. She gave him a loving smile, and he started by telling us that almonds are a stone fruit, linked to the cherry, plum and peach if reviewed from the botanical viewpoint.
He further added that they were referenced as far back in history as the Bible. He alleged that they were a valued component of the breads served to the Pharaohs of Egypt; the exact ancestry of them was unidentified though! However, he thought almonds originated in Central Asia and China.
After a short while, their cook Anjali appeared from somewhere carrying a tray full of various edibles and three cups of hot coffee. I spontaneously took a piece of the almond dessert and asked uncle Moeez if there were any reasons for not eating almonds?
Uncle Moeez chuckled, took a sip of coffee and said “Oh yeah, quite a few people get allergic reactions to almonds; these could manifest in the form of itching or lack of sensation in your lips or mouth.”
In addition, he said, “almonds are full of oxalates, which can come together in your body and produce adverse health issues, if you have problems with your kidneys or gallbladder.”
I became a little worried about my four-year old niece Amina. Amina’s mom gives her seven almonds daily with a glass of milk.
Uncle Moeez sensed my fear and straightaway declared, “excess of anything is bad my dear!”
Children need to have a moderate amount of almonds, but it’s better to soak them in water prior to consumption.
I wanted to hear more from Uncle Moeez, but he said he had contributed enough. He beheld his beautiful wife expressively and requested to leave for an important task.
By Dr. Tabinda Habib
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