Almonds: The New Power Food
Nutrient-dense and delicious, almonds have all sorts of health benefits. Plus, try our savory squash and almond soup recipe.
A symbol of hope and prosperity in Eastern cultures, the almond used to be
known for its fat content but has now made its way to the top of power-food
lists. This nutrient-dense tree nut -- from the same family as peaches and
apricots -- has become best known for its many health benefits. Eating a
handful of almonds a day may lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and reduce your risk
of heart disease, heart attack, and diabetes. These tasty tidbits are also an
excellent source of vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) and manganese -- 1 ounce
(that’s about 24 almonds) has 35% and 32% of the RDA respectively. And with
only 1 gram of saturated fat, 13 grams of healthy mono- and polyunsaturated
fats, 6 grams of protein, and 160 calories per ounce, it's clear that almonds
are a friend of any true health nut.
Roasted Curried Squash Soup with Almonds
1 large butternut squash
1 large acorn squash
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
1 whole garlic bulb
½ tsp olive oil
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted, divided
5 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
½ cup apple juice
1½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup fat-free half-and-half
6 tbsp fat-free sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried chives
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Cut each squash in half, scoop out seeds, and place cut side down along
with onion on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
- Cut top off garlic bulb, drizzle with olive oil on cut surface, wrap bulb
in aluminum foil, and place on sheet with other vegetables.
- Roast for about 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool.
- Scoop flesh from both squashes and squeeze out garlic flesh from bulb,
placing all in a heavy-bottom pot along with onion, ½ cup almonds, chicken
broth, apple juice, and spices.
- Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. Using a hand or traditional blender,
purée soup in batches until smooth; return to pot and add half-and-half and
cook until thoroughly heated.
- Serve immediately with sour cream or yogurt, remaining almonds, and a
sprinkle of chives.
Makes 8 servings
Per serving: 186 calories, 8 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat (1 g
saturated fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 77 mg sodium, 5 g sugar. Calories
from fat: 39%.