At one point almonds were one of the healthiest foods available, providing a wide plethora of health benefits. However, currently most of the almonds offered on the American market have been fumigated with propylene oxide, a cancer-causing chemical.
Back in 2007, the sale of raw almonds became illegal in the U.S, due to the outbreak of salmonella in Canada which was found to derive from an almond grower in California. Naturally, the California Department of Health Service provided direct input into the safety processed of his almonds and this was pretty much the end of it.
Nevertheless, a soon after yet another outbreak of salmonella occurred, which forced a few government agencies to come up with a drastic plan that would prevent these outbreaks from re-occurring. In case you`ve been wondering what has salmonella to do with something as dry as almonds, you are not the only one!
Namely, for such a dramatic reduction to come about, the almonds had to be either exposed to extremely high temperatures or inserted into chambers and fumigated with propylene oxide gas. All of this took place within a very short period of time and most small almond growers ended up pushed out of the business. Consequently, the once-driving almond industry consisted of small growers redirected to big corporate almond producers.
Generally speaking, almonds sold as ‘organic’ are typically treated with high heat while those not labeled as such are fumigated with propylene oxide gas. Simply put, all almonds in on the American market have been treated in one of these two ways, which leads to a significant reduction in their beneficial properties. Almonds sold at local markets or roadside stands as well as those shipped from another country are the only potential exceptions.
The Danger of Propylene Oxide
This substance is banned in Canada, Mexico, and all of the E.U. As for U.S, it has been banned by the National Hot Rod Association and the American Motorcycle Association, both of which have been widely using it as fuel.
According to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, propylene oxide causes irritation and possesses carcinogenic and mutagenic properties.
Which Almond Brand is Best? Research Shows…
According to a research on popular brands of almonds which can be bought both in stores and online:
- Back to Nature almonds: Treated with heat
- Superior Nut Company almonds: Gassed with PPO, expect for their organic almonds which have been either imported or not subjected to high heat
- Trader Joe’s almonds: Treated with heat
- Whole Foods Market: An organic 365 line is definitely heat treated while the conventional 365 line may or may not be
- Diamond of California almonds: Treated with PPO fumigation
- Planter`s brand almonds: Treated with heat
- Blue Diamond almonds: Sliced and silvered are heat treated, some may be steam treated, and the whole-nut line is treated with PPO
- Costco’s Kirkland Signature chocolate-covered almonds: They are heat treated
What we Have Lost
Although the new, drastic measures which have taken place protected a few people against salmonella, they provide chemical toxicity for all the rest. Below you have a list of some of the benefits we have lost:
- B vitamins needed for recycling glutathione
- Many trace minerals which are vital co-factors for production of potent antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD)
- -Lowering total cholesterol and improving LDL to HDL ratio
- Abundance of magnesium, a vital mineral in which many Americans are deficient
- Improvement of digestive health through prebiotic action
- Protection against weight gain, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes
- Protection against hypoglycemia