The new trending “super” food is almonds, packed full of nutritional benefits such as fiber, nutrients, vitamins, and protein, what’s not to love? Almonds are a source of high-quality protein and with just a handful, you can get your daily dose of protein. Almonds are also known to be a wonderful source for vitamin E, healthy unsaturated fatty acids, and bioactive molecules.
And not only are almonds tasty, they are also very versatile in how they can be enjoyed, whether they are prepared in baked items, hot food, cold salads, on cereals, or just eaten plain, it’s easy to see why the topic of almonds is trending.
What could be easier?
You’d probably never expect something as insidious as engine fuel might be contaminating your “raw” almonds.
Well, think again.
After two outbreaks of salmonella were traced back to almonds, in 2001 and 2004, the government stepped in and began regulating the pasteurization of almonds.
Although nobody died as a result of those two outbreaks and only 33 people became ill, the government mandated pasteurization for all domestically produced almonds, which means, very likely, you are not eating “raw” almonds at all.
Could your almonds have been fumigated with a chemical also used in the production of antifreeze and once used as racing fuel?
Hard to believe, but yes.
There are three ways to pasteurize almonds: freezing, steaming, or by fumigation with propylene oxide (PPO). If your almonds are not labelled and certified organic, they have been pasteurized most likely using the toxic PPO, a toxic industrial chemical used predominately in the production of polyurethane plastics.
Hard to believe, isn’t it? But armed with this information, you can make a different choice for you and your family.
What do we know about the use of PPO in the pasteurization process? Is it really dangerous?
As you can imagine, although the scientific studies can be interesting, to “non-scientists” they can seem a little nutty, yes, pun intended. The studies indicated, as you would expect, the untreated, truly “raw” almonds were superior in maintaining their natural nutritional benefits.
The EPA has deemed propylene oxide as a Group 2B, which is a probable human carcinogen. Propylene oxide has been responsible for a whole list of aliments in research studies, such as inflammatory lesions in the nasal, trachea, and lungs.
PPO has also been responsible for neurological effects, mild slowing of the central nervous system, and tumors following ingestions. We know propylene oxide is toxic in direct quantities, such as ingestion, or with continued exposure, such as continued inhalation.
What does this mean for the PPO pasteurization process for almonds?
Nobody can know yet for certain. Studies have shown the fumigation process leaves a PPO residue which tends to mostly dissipate after a couple days. But long-term effects? One can’t be sure.
For people on a raw food diet, who are striving to eat “live” foods full of healthy enzymes, pasteurized almonds would no longer be the best choice.
The pasteurization chambers used to fumigate almonds rise to temperatures of 140-145 degrees, which it’s generally accepted enzymes begin to degrade at temperatures beginning at 106 and higher.
Unfortunately, what this means, is the almonds you’ve been consuming are neither “raw” nor “live” but rather, have lost nutritional value through the process of pasteurization and likely, contain a residue of PPO.
The good news, PPO-free almonds can still be purchased although they will cost you a bit more.
What are your options? Most domestic almonds are produced in California and go through the PPO pasteurization, but you can still purchase truly raw almonds directly from an almond farmer or at a local farmer’s market, if you are lucky enough to live in an almond producing area of the US.
Certified organic almonds will be PPO-free and will have instead, been steam pasteurized. Unpasteurized almonds can also be ordered from outside the US.
Of course, keep in mind, however, these options can be quite costly.
Almonds have incredible nutritional value and shouldn’t be abandoned. Armed with the knowledge of the PPO pasteurization process, you will be able to get the most out of your purchasing options because a simple thing like purchasing seemingly “raw” almonds shouldn’t put toxins into your diet.
About the Author:
Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice.
Where do you buy your almonds from? Do you look at your label before buying your almonds? Which wonderful friends in your life love almonds but do not know about the pasteurization process of almonds?
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