February 27th, 2022
The bad. The good. The East. The west.
The magnificent almond! This nut is considered a high-grade food in Chinese medicine due to its nutritional content and the way it supports our qi (overall energy).
In 2011, the almond gained in popularity due to its creamy milk. Since then it has stayed at the top of the milk alternative charts.
Before we jump into the magnificence of the almond, I’d like to offer a caution about almond milk. The caution is simple, read the ingredient label. Many different brands of almond milk contain hardly any almonds. What they do contain is dozens of filler like oils, gums, carrageenan, natural flavors and, sugars.
Research has shown that these fillers are extremely hard on the digestive tract specifically your liver and intestines. They cause issues like irritable bowel syndrome, including bloating, diarrhea, gas, digestive cramping, fatty liver and, malabsorption to name a few.
Carrageenan is a known carcinogen. This means that research has directly linked it to cancer!
We can avoid this internal distress by reading the ingredients when shopping for almond milk or any milk alternative. Be sure the only ingredients are almonds and water.
This caution applies to other milk alternatives to like coconut and oat.
The most common oils and gums are below:
Make your own!
Another way to avoid oils, gums, natural flavors and carrageenan is to make your almond milk. It’s super simple!
1 cup almonds
3-4 cups water
Soak almonds overnight or for 30 minutes
Strain and rinse almonds in cool water
Add almonds to high-speed blender with 3-4 cups of water
Less water equates a thicker consistency that is great for frothing or heavy cream
Blend water and almonds for 1-2 minutes
Strain in a fine strainer like cheesecloth
Pour strained milk into milk bottle and store in the fridge for 3-5 days
For those that want to buy their own almond milk. I like these two brands:
Click their name to visit their website.
almonds in Chinese medicine
Almonds have been showcased in Chinese Medicine texts for thousands of years. As mentioned, they are a high-grade food. This means that they contain high-quality nutrients and have an affinity for our most precious resources.
An almonds temperature, taste, and organ breakdown is as follows:
Almonds have an affinity for the lungs and the large intestine. The sweet flavor is moistening and can be used for dry cough, asthma, and to moisten dry constipated intestines.
We’ll want to avoid almonds when there are excess phlegm in the lungs, like yellow-green sputum, but almonds can be used for acute phlegm cough with white clear sputum.
Avoid almond milk when there is copious amounts of phlegm of any color.
In general, almonds tonify our qi (everyday energy). They also have an affinity for our reproductive organs, and essential fluids and resources. Those fluids and resources are replenished by trace minerals, which support every system of the body including the muscles, and bones. More on trace minerals in the western section below.
Chinese medicine tells us that the best time to consume almonds is after lunch hours. This is because fattier foods are harder for the body to break down. Since the body and digestive system have already been and moving for several hours, it is ready to handle heavier denser foods. Plus, most of us need a Qi boost mid-day. For this, we can rely on almonds to tonify our qi (everyday energy)!
Be aware that the skin of almonds may irritate the gut lining. If that’s the case for you, soak them in warm or neutral water for 6-8 hours or overnight, then peel the skin off. The skin should slide right off without much effort.
almonds in Western medicine
One small almond is packed with bountiful nutrition. A breakdown follows:
High in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, the almond is the only nut that alkalinizes the blood.
Due to its alkaline nature, the almond is high in antioxidants. An antioxidant inhibits oxidative stress. This means antioxidants protects cells against harmful radicals like toxins, pesticides, radiation and, even general stress)
Antioxidants and healthy fat also aid in lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and improve overall blood flow throughout the body.
The almond is full of trace minerals including calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, zinc, potassium, vitamins E, and copper.
Read about each trace minerals and their functioning here.
One almond contains four essential B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B9
B vitamins are essential to the health of our body’s cells. They aid in overall cell functioning, cell metabolism, the creation of new cells, and in the maintenance of present cells like those for the skin, brain and nervous system.
Read more about each specific B vitamin here.
I hope you enjoyed reading and learning about the wonderful world of an almond. They are a powerful high grade food in Chinese Medicine. Remember to consume them after the lunch hour for optimal benefits!
Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.