Almonds and Kefir
I love almonds and they make wonderful kefir. If you need a dairy-free kefir option, this is a good one. But check out my recipe for thicker almond kefir since most of the almond kefir recipes will make thinner kefir. Kefir is something I consume every morning for many reasons. First and foremost, it keeps my blood pressure normal. Just yesterday I saw a woman's post on Facebook that said, "Kefir keeps my blood pressure in a good range. But surprisingly if I don't have kefir regularly, my blood pressure starts to rise again." This is true for me as well. For the past two decades, I have consumed kefir almost every day and I love it. I never tire of it, which is why I have so many recipes for kefir on my site. I usually make milk kefir but from time to time I do make non-dairy kefir. Almond kefir is one of my favorites! It helps you absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat with it, and the almonds themselves are a powerhouse of health benefits.
Almonds are food for our 100 trillion microbe friends and we always need more quality friends. Did you know that your good bacteria lower your cholesterol by using cholesterol as a food source? Did you know these good bacteria also reduce inflammation and protect your heart by keeping away endotoxins that can get into the bloodstream? Endotoxins are found in disease-causing bacteria that can penetrate a weakened gut lining. When endotoxins are released, our immune system sends out an alarm and creates inflammation throughout the body. You need to feed your bacteria lots of fiber-rich foods or your healthy bacteria starve to death inside your gut. Then you wind up with leaky gut and a host of other problems.
Some people call almonds the healthiest food in all the world and they have tons of health benefits. But I know a thing or two about almonds that perhaps you do not know. Check out all the benefits below along with the recipe for making almond kefir!
Almonds Provide Protection Against Blood Sugar Issues and Cholesterol
Researchers fed fifteen healthy subjects three different types of meals. Meal One - almonds and bread, Meal Two - parboiled rice and instant mashed potatoes, Meal Three - different types of breads. They took blood samples after each meal and four hours afterward as well. The results showed an increase in protective antioxidants after the almond meal but not after the other meals. They also noted a lowered rise in blood sugar and insulin after the meal that contained the almonds. More research shows that eating almonds along with higher glycemic foods will actually lower the glycemic index of the meal and lessen the rise in blood sugar after eating. (Jones AR, Kendall CW, Metabolism)
Another study done in 2011 found that patients who consumed almonds every day, replacing 20% of total daily calories, had lower levels of fasting insulin and fasting glucose. They also decreased their body fat and lowered their cholesterol levels. Almonds provided beneficial effects on adiposity, glycemic control, and the lipid profile which potentially decreases the risk for cardiovascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Vitamin E is Heart Protective
Almonds have an abundance of vitamin E - you get 37% of the recommended RDA in one ounce of almonds. Vitamin E is very protective of the heart and can reduce heart disease risk.
In the British Journal of Nutrition (Kelly JH, Sabate J.), researchers looked at four large studies — the Adventist Health Study, Iowa Women's Study, Nurses' Health Study, and the Physicians' Health Study. When evidence from all four studies was examined, they found that the subjects who consumed nuts at least 4 times a week showed a 37% reduced risk of coronary heart disease compared with those who never or seldom ate nuts. But it got even better! Each time they had another serving of nuts during the week, it reduced their risk of coronary heart disease an additional 8.3%.
Do Almonds Keep You From Gaining Weight?
Many people avoid nuts for fear of weight gain. A study published in the journal Obesity in 2007  showed that people who ate nuts at least twice a week were much less likely to gain weight than those who almost never ate nuts. This was a 28-year study with both men and women involving 8,865 people in Spain.
Another study was done with 51,188 women in the Nurses' Health Study, participants (ages 20–45) who ate nuts at least two times per week were 31% less likely to gain weight than those in the study who never, or almost never, ate nuts.
Why I Really Love Almonds
I love almonds because they are prebiotics - food for bacteria! Substances in the almonds, and also in their skins, have been found to boost the good bifidobacteria and lactobacillus in the gut.
A total of 48 healthy adult volunteers were split into 3 groups. The first group consumed a daily dose of roasted almonds (56 g). The second group ate almond skins (10 g). The third group took a prebiotic supplement, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), (this is found in Prebio Plus) (8 g) (as positive control). The subjects taking the almond skins and the FOS had an immediate increase in good flora and at six weeks, the roasted almonds subjects began to see the same increase, it just took longer. The almonds and the prebiotic FOS increased the bifidobacteria and lactobacillus, they did not increase E coli, and the growth of the pathogen Clostridium perfringens was significantly repressed. So this means if you eat almonds and make them into kefir you will increase not only the qualities of colonies of bacteria in your gut, but you will also allow them to multiply and grow, becoming strong and changing you from the inside out. I love this!
Almonds Keep Our Microbes Thriving
So you know . . . maybe it's not just the almonds? Maybe the almonds are feeding the bacteria along with all the prebiotic fiber-rich foods. Maybe all this time when we thought it was fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that were keeping us healthy, it was actually because these foods were feeding the good bacteria and this is what was keeping us well? We are 99% microbial. It's what we are mostly made of, and those unseen microbial friends do a lot for us and get very little credit. So why do I love almond kefir? Because it feeds my microbial friends and keeps me healthy.
Happiness is having friends who feed you.
Check out the recipe and pick the culture you'd like to use.
It's super easy!
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Almond Kefir is special. It has wonderful properties that have huge health benefits. Let me tell you how to make the best almond kefir and explore all the benefits it affords. You'll get addicted to it and won't want to stop making it. I'm crazy for almond kefir.