Every diet guru will likely advise you to include nuts in your diet program for a variety of reasons — bumping up good cholesterol, injecting vitamins in your system, fortifying your immune system, etc. Almond top the list of the nuts when you consider their huge benefits. Aside from being an abundant source of nutrients like magnesium, manganese, Vitamin E, protein, fiber etc, almonds are loaded with antioxidants.
But do you know that there are different types of almonds available in the market and that every type contains an unequal amount of nutrients and health benefits?
If your answer is no, here is what you need to know:
Gurbandi vs California vs Mamra Badams
There are three prominent types of almonds available in the Indian market — Mamra, Gurbandi and California almonds.
Mamra almonds grow in Afghanistan, Iran and Middle East and account for just 4% of the almonds in the world.
California almonds have an 85% stake in the almond market and the credit for it goes to their high yield and productivity in America due to advancements in science. Because their production is high, their market price is low and these are readily available and consumed in the market.
Gurbandi almonds, also known as ‘choti giri,’ are imported from Afghanistan. A small portion of the total yield is bitter because of the high concentration of oils. Choti Giri is an essential food for the natives of Kabul, Afghanistan.
Consumers like you and I, very happily reach for the almond packet that is nicely wrapped and get the most satisfaction eating them. But the thing we ignore the most is the actual nutrient content inside each almond.
Which almond is best – Gurbandi or California or Mamra?
- Mamra has higher carbohydrate content.
- Mamra contains more oil and therefore more calories than the other two.
- Mamra has slightly lesser protein content as compared to Californian almond.
- Mamra is also richer in sugar content than the other two types, and that is why it is considered as a potent energy snack.
The thing that actually sets aside the Mamra badam from the Californians and Gurbandis is the method of production. Mamras are cultivated organically without using chemicals. You typically buy these almonds in their almost natural state.
California almonds pass through chemical processing and are pasteurized (treated with very high heat). The intense heat processing reduces the healthy oil content from the almonds.
California almonds are sweeter in taste because of chemical processing. because of their altered taste, these almonds should ideally be used for cooking and garnishing. However, many Indian almond eaters snack on them. Mamra and Gurbandi almonds are suitable for direct consumption.
Gurbandi almonds are also rich in nutrients such as omega 3, Vitamin E and phytochemicals. This Choti Giri may be small in size but gives abundant energy. The antioxidant-rich Gurbandi almonds serve as a nutritious snack and are also used as the prime ingredient in many oils, tablets and cosmetics.
You can choose any almond you like. My choice would be mamra, Gurbandi (even though a few of these will turn out bitter) followed by California (least preferred by me).
Image credits: www.organicfacts.net
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