Since 2007, all almonds sold in the United States must be pasteurized using either steam or a chemical pesticide. One of the biggest advantages of organic almonds is that they are not covered in any harsh chemicals. A handful of almonds is also considered to be a very healthy snack. Almonds contain good fats and proteins, as well as several vitamins and minerals.
During the early part of the 21st century, salmonella poisoning cases in North America were linked to raw almonds, or unpasteurized almonds. In response, authorities changed regulations to require the pasteurization of all almonds before they can be sold in the United States. Almonds may be pasteurized with two methods: heat pasteurization or chemical pasteurization.
Propylene oxide is typically the chemical used to pasteurize almonds. This chemical compound is also often used in the manufacturing of a type of plastic. It was once used as a fuel for racing vehicles, but it was banned for safety reasons. One of the biggest benefits of organic almonds is that they are not pasteurized with propylene oxide, which may be a carcinogen.
Although organic almonds pasteurized with a heat source do lose some of their nutritional value, they are still considered to be a very healthy snack. In fact, many nutritionists even consider them to be the healthiest type of nut to eat. They are a far better choice than snacks like chips and cookies. A small handful of almonds as a snack can also help curb hunger, which can prevent a person from overeating.
Organic almonds also contain healthy fats, known as monounsaturated fats. Unlike saturated fats and trans fats, this type of unsaturated fat is an important part of a healthy diet when eaten in moderation. In fact, some studies suggest that these types of fats can lower a person's bad cholesterol levels. It can also help reduce the risk of heart disease in many people.
Almonds are also an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals. They are high in vitamin E, for instance, which is essential for healthy skin. Magnesium is also present in organic almonds, and this mineral helps the body absorb calcium, which is needed for strong bones. Organic almonds are also great sources of folic acid, potassium, selenium, zinc, iron, and riboflavin.