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Are Bitter Almonds dangerous? Know All The Benefits and Risks

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We all know almonds are super healthy. As kids, our parents gave us a handful before school and now we pack them in our snack box. We keep chewing through the day, sometimes even the bitter ones that come in our mouth. While we may feel that eating a bitter almond is harmless, science states otherwise.

There are a lot of speculations about bitter almonds that need to be known. Follow this article for all the information…

Do you know there are two types of almonds- sweet and bitter? While sweet almonds are being eaten the most, bitter or lethal almonds are generally left out. Do almonds have a whole lot of benefits that are known to one and all but are bitter almonds equally good as sweet almonds? Do they provide as many benefits as sweet ones? Are there any health risks associated with eating lethal almonds? These questions must be cropping up in your mind. You will get all the answers in this article. 

What are Bitter Almonds?

Firstly, what exactly are bitter almonds and why are they being called lethal. Sweet almonds are produced from ‘Prunus amygdalus var. Dulcis’ almond tree whereas bitter almonds come from ‘Prunus amygdalus var. Amara’. Bitter almonds contain hydrocyanic acid in small amounts. This may interfere with the health of the person if eaten raw. Thus, it is advised to consume bitter almonds after boiling or cooking. This would reduce the negative effects of the chemical.

To buy bitter almonds, click here.

Difference between Sweet Almonds & Bitter Almonds

Let us tell you what makes sweet almonds and bitter almonds different from each other.

  • The major difference lies in the cyanide content. Bitter almond has 40 times hydrocyanic acid as compared to sweet almonds which are really high. 
  • Talking about the appearance, both the almond variants look quite similar and it can get difficult to distinguish between them. But bitter almonds are smaller in size. And the taste, you know!
  • While sweet almonds have a great shelf life, bitter almonds can’t be stored for long as these have multiple unsaturated fats. These need to be kept in airtight containers, away from moisture or heat or direct sunlight.
  • You can eat a raw sweet almond but you aren’t supposed to eat a raw bitter almond. Bitter almond should be eaten in cooked form only. Eating them in the raw form is nothing but dangerous for your health.

Bitter Almond Uses

  • In ancient times, bitter almonds were used to treat numerous health issues such as inflammation, pain, spasms, breathing problems, etc. These days, due to high toxicity, they aren’t safe to consume raw.
  • Bitter almonds make for the best almond oil due to their strong flavor and aroma as compared to sweet counterparts. Its oil is extensively used in cooking.
  • The bitter variety is useful in making cosmetic products as it contains a high concentration of active botanicals. The almond extract in creams, soaps, etc. Is taken from bitter almonds.

Risks With Bitter Almonds

Bitter almonds contain a slight amount of prussic or hydrocyanic acid in its raw form. Hydrocyanic acid is the solution of hydrogen cyanide and water.

Eating raw bitter almonds can strongly affect your nervous system causing breathing issues. One should consume bitter almonds carefully following the apt dosage. Eating more than 10 bitter almonds in a day can lead to death! Therefore, it is better to consult a doctor or nutritionist before consuming bitter almonds.

Nutrition: 4 Antioxidant-Rich Foods For Weight Loss

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Antioxidants are compounds that are found in one’s body as well as in many fruits and vegetables. Their chief functions include protecting our body’s cells from free radical damage. This, in turn, prevents premature aging and various chronic diseases. In fact, if the levels of free radicals in one’s body go unchecked, these unstable molecules can accumulate, thereby inducing a state known as oxidative stress. It can potentially wreak havoc on one’s DNA and other structures of cells, thereby increasing the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and severe heart disease. Interestingly, one of the means to measure the levels of antioxidant content in foods is the FRAP (Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma) Test. The higher the FRAP value, the better it is.

Types of antioxidants and how they work

The most appropriate way to classify antioxidants is to understand whether they are water-soluble, fat-soluble or both fat and water-soluble. Those that are water-soluble work to fight with the free radicals present in the blood plasma. Fat-soluble ones fight the free radicals present in the cell membrane. Antioxidants are present in certain vitamins and minerals so consuming these on a regular basis can prove to be highly fruitful. Vitamins A, E, K, and C, copper, zinc, iodine, and manganese are rich sources of antioxidants. Certain proteins like glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid also contain them. Phytochemicals like quercetin, lycopene, carotenoids, zeaxanthin, ellagic acid, flavonoids, and lutein also have good amounts of antioxidants in them. Additionally, some hormones, like melatonin, also exhibit antioxidant-like properties.

All these work either by stopping the oxidative process before it starts (preventive action) while others are neutralizing the effect of the free radicals (chain-breaking action). Those antioxidants that work in either of these two processes are known as Direct Antioxidants since they engage indirectly working on free radicals.

These 4 anti-oxidant foods included in the diet, will reduce weight :

Green tea

green tea Nutritions

When it comes to weight loss, you must have heard many times about the benefits of green tea. Green tea contains many antioxidants that help you in weight loss. One such antioxidant is caffeine that works to keep you full. So next time you want a snack, just grab a green tea.

Nuts :

Nuts for Nutrition

Nuts are rich in antioxidants and they also contain a lot of healthy fat, which keeps your stomach full for a long time. Nuts are good for your heart too and you can keep your heart healthy by eating them in moderation. However, keep in mind that they are high in calories, so eat only a handful of nuts every day.

Grapes:

Grapes for nutrtion

Spinach
is a versatile food that can be used with everything and makes it taste great. From omelets to pizzas and sandwiches, it can add flavor to any dish. However, keeping the taste aspect aside, spinach has high amounts of antioxidants called camphor phenol and quercetin. Camphor phenol exerts an anti-cancer effect on the body, whereas quercetin helps protect our body from cardiac and pulmonary disorders.

Blueberries

Blueberries and Strawberries for nutrtion

According to several studies, blueberries contain the highest amounts of antioxidants amongst all common fruits and vegetables. They have up to 9.2 mmol(millimoles) per 100 grams of the product. Some of the health benefits of consuming blueberries include prevention of brain damage that occurs in old age, reducing blood pressure, lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels as well as decreasing the risk of certain heart diseases. All this is possible due to a type of antioxidant called anthocyanin that is present in blueberries.

Strawberries

Strawberries consist of high amounts of Vitamin C and antioxidants. Like blueberries, they too contain reasonable levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin. It is rarely found in other food items. The brighter red a strawberry is, the higher would be the anthocyanin levels. A FRAP analysis suggests that strawberries have 5.4 mmol per 100 grams of it. Do include this fruit in your diet for it reduces LDL cholesterol levels as well as the risk of severe heart problems.

Beans

Often doctors recommend intake of beans to patients owing to its high nutritional value. They are incredibly high in fiber, and amongst vegetables, they are the best source of antioxidants. An antioxidant called kaempferol is found in considerable amounts in beans which aids in the prevention of cancer and chronic inflammation. Various animal studies have found that kaempferol suppresses the growth of kidneys, bladder and lung cancer. A bonus of eating beans is that it helps to regulate bowel movements as well.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains 15 mmol of antioxidants in every 100 g. It is amongst the highest amounts of antioxidants present in various fruits and vegetables. Since it contains more cocoa, eating dark chocolate also reduces inflammation, regulates blood pressure and lowers the risk of numerous heart diseases. Additionally, its consumption also raises HDL cholesterol levels. It also prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. So, eat a little dark chocolate every day. It will certainly satisfy your taste buds and offer many health benefits too!

Eat the above-mentioned foods, and you won’t have to rely on antioxidant dietary supplements ever. Remember to include colourful fruits and vegetables, that are rich in antioxidants, in your diet. The inclusion of these in your diet can fulfil the requirement of antioxidants in the body.

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DIY: Make your Water Safe for Drinking with Simple Techniques

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It’s extremely important to confirm your water has been purified or treated before drinking. If your water is contaminated and you don’t have bottled water, there are various water purification methods that are used today, and each method has its merits and demerits. Filtering is good for basic water tasks such as sediment and chlorine removal, but in the long run reverse osmosis is the best option. At Schultz Soft Water we focus on reverse osmosis units because they require a lot less energy and time required to make water versus distillation.

Here are some common ways to purify water at home.

1 – Boiling

Boiling water is the cheapest and safest method of water purification. Water sources and or channels of distribution may render your water unsafe. For example, parasites and germs are things you may not see by bare eyes, but their effects can be life-threatening.

In this method, clean water should be brought to the boil and left at a rolling boil for 1-3 minutes. For people living in high altitude areas, it is recommended to boil your water for longer than water boiled at lower altitudes. This is because water boils at lower temperatures in higher altitudes. Boiled water should be covered and left to cool before drinking. For water drawn from wells, leave it for compounds to settle before you filter out clean water for use.

2- Solar Purification

This is a time-taking method but completely safe, natural and affordable. Sun is the ultimate source of energy and it is also a natural water purifier. It helps expel the dirt, impurities, and contaminants from the water giving you clean and purified water.
It so works that the sun conducts evaporation where clean water forms vapors and collected while the impurities are left behind.
How to make your own solar water purifier?
All you need is two bottles and a thin pipe. Fill one bottle with dirty water and evaporate it. Collect the purified clean water in the other bottle.

3- Filtration

Filtration is one of the effective ways of purifying water and when using the right multimedia filters it’s effective in ridding water of the compounds. This method uses chemical and physical processes to purify water and make it safe for human consumption. Filtration eliminates both large compounds and small, dangerous contaminants that cause diseases with a simple and quick filtration process. Since filtration does not deplete all the mineral salts, water that has been filtered is considered healthier compared to water purified using other methods. It’s one of the effective water purification methods that utilize a chemical absorption process that effectively removes unwanted compounds from water.

Compared to reverse osmosis, filtration is considered effective when it comes to selective elimination of much smaller molecular compounds such as chlorine and pesticides. The other factor that makes filtration less costly is that it does not require a lot of energy needed in distillation and reverse osmosis. It is an economical method of water purification because little water is lost during purification.

4- Ceramic

Not many people know that ceramic is an outstanding water purifying material as it allows water to pass through it. This method is widely used in remote countries like Cambodia.

Take a clean ceramic pot or any other ceramic thing and pass impure water through it. The impurities would get collected in the upper surface and you get only clean and pure water on the other side.
However, this method won’t work for organic pollutants and pesticides. If you doubt that water contains these pollutants, consider using a UV filter.

Apart from these organic methods, there are tow more ways for home water purification:

5- Iodine Purification

Iodine is known to expel toxins from water. A very small amount of iodine (either tablets or liquid) is added to the water that’s to be purified. But since this is a chemical, this method isn’t considered to be done at home. Also, it is meant for short-term use only. 

6- Chlorination

This is a popular water filtration method that is being used on a wide scale. Most of the big water purification units use this method for water purification. Chlorine effectively filters the water and is quite inexpensive