What do we need to know about the Almond and our Amygdala?

Posted by on Jul 23, 2012 in Sticky Pad

When I think Almond I think marzipan, a favourite fish recipe with toasted flaked Almonds and the Amygdala, the emotional centre of our brain, which is said to resemble the Almond.

My gluetogether value ‘curious’ got me wondering about the Almond and the look alike Amygdala and I uncovered some fascinating facts.

The Almond is an ancient food that’s been written about in historical texts, including the Bible. The Romans called it the “Greek nut” after the Greeks who first cultivated it and whose word for Almond, is borrowed to describe its look alike the Amygdala

Almonds are a great source of magnesium, copper, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and phosphorus and are high in fat and protein. Don’t be alarmed at the 18 grams of fat in just a quarter of a cup as 11 grams of that fat is good for you, as it is the heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. As well as fat the same quantity contains 7.62 grams of protein, which is more than the ‘bad fat’ rich egg at 5.54 grams. When fat from nuts is substituted for saturated fats in our diet it reduces the risk of heart disease by as much as 45%. If you are trying to reduce your cholesterol levels you could do worse than trying the lovely Almond.

Don’t forget all that wonderful magnesium and potassium too and only the slightest trace of sodium. Together they increase your antioxidant levels and lower your blood sugar and insulin that rise after eating. This is a great way to achieve another of our values – Energy. We are liking the Almond more and more!

And if that wasn’t enough reason to dash out for some Almonds how does this grab you? Research also suggests that an almond-enriched low calorie diet can help shed pounds more effectively than a low calorie diet high in complex carbohydrates.

Enough about the edible Almond what about the Almond look alike, our Amygdala, often referred to as our emotional centre, where emotional memories are stored.

From an evolutionary perspective the emotion of Fear is critical for our survival. I wonder how many times a day or a week we feel a degree of fear. Call it what you like, concern, anxiety, nervous, apprehensive, uneasy, worried, frightened, hesitant, on-edge, tense, panicky, fearful, fretting, scared – there are a lot of words to describe fear and the different levels we experience. I’m sure you probably use a few others too.

From a biological perspective, information about the perceived danger from the outside world is fed along our neural pathways to our Amygdala. Using information from our previous experiences it decides on the degree of danger and tells us to run or to stay and fight. Each and every such experience gets stored in our Almond look alike. Each emotion is made up of a distinct pattern of behaviours of neurons, each one unique to our own experience. Despite our ability to consciously explore the logical reasons for our fear, we are unable to prevent our Amygdala from ‘feeling‘ it and deciding what it thinks you need to do.

Think of any situation when you have felt the rush of emotion instigated by your Amygdala and before you know it your face, your tome and your body are all showing the emotional signs your Amygdala is sending out.

So what can we do? In a nutshell we can challenge and change. Challenge your thinking, ask how others would view this issue, approach it from a completely different angle. Put your thoughts to music or get artistic and creative. Change old memories that cause you to get stuck, by making deliberately designed new ones.

For more information on making small changes to your Amygdala and get great results:

• Go to http://gluetogether.com/the-gluespiral

And some practical ideas for including Almonds in your healthy diet:

• Use almond oil and almond butter
• Add a handful of lightly roasted or toasted almonds to your salad
• Chop and use as a topping on pasta dishes and vegetables.
• Add to fish dishes with a little orange zest