Such great questions; and certainly worth researching. I found the following information on pasteurized vs. unpasteurized almonds:
The process of steam pasteurization can take up to several hours, where the almonds are heated to at least 165° F. since acrylamide forms at temperatures above 250° F, steamed are healthier for you than roasted. The big difference between pasteurized and unpasteurized is flavor, texture, and phytonutrient content. For those aspects, the unpasteurized will be superior.
When it comes to the nutrition facts, the calories, fat, protein, and mineral such as iron, calcium and magnesium will remain the same, as pasteurization doesn’t alter those. Vitamin E won’t be affected either. Some of the B vitamins may degrade from the heat treatment. Vitamin C would too but they have none to begin with. The biggest changes are for things you won’t find listed on the nutrition facts label.
Phytonutrients preserved – Compounds which are non-essential but still believed to be beneficial for health, such as heat-sensitive antioxidants.
Enzymes intact – Alpha-galactosidase and other enzymes naturally present. (15)
Hard to obtain – Few retailers sell them and they can be expensive. Bacteria risk – Increased food poisoning risk.
Bacteria destroyed – Less chance of contamination from Salmonella and other bacterial pathogens.
Crunchier texture – Some prefer the texture better versus the soft unpasteurized.
Nutrition altered – Some phytonutrients and B vitamins will be adversely affected by the heat.
Enzymes affected – Alpha-galactosidase is the active ingredient in Beano tablets for gas and bloating. Almonds are a natural source and it’s unknown as to what degree the steam may destroy them. Less flavorful – On a relative basis, many say the pasteurized taste like cardboard.
Despite the drawbacks, as long as only pure water is used to steam sterilize these nuts, they remain good for you.
Source: "Health-line nutrition"
There is much to consider when determining which way to consume nuts. Thank you for these great questions and this shows the importance of always checking ingredients in your foods before purchasing them.
Your questions and comments show how much you are learning about health. This knowledge is something you will take with you long after overcoming MD. Keep up the good work!
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