Almonds are one of the most nutrient-rich nuts. Even the oil extracted from almonds is incredibly nutritious and useful. It is a common ingredient in many medicinal and cosmetic products.
Sweet Almond oil comes packed with vitamin E, which offers antioxidant benefits. It also contains unsaturated fatty acids to help you with heart as well. There are several ways in which almond oil can prove beneficial to your health, and in this article, we will discover how.
Why Almond Oil? How is it Good for You?
Almond oil comes from almonds, which come from almond trees (Prunus dulcis). Almond trees offer both sweet and bitter almonds.
Sweet almonds are what we eat and use in our food. Bitter almonds, on the other hand, can be toxic because of the trace amounts of prussic acid (hydrocyanic acid) they contain. Bitter almonds lose their toxicity when cooked.
Since sweet almonds are safer to consume, they are often used in scientific studies. The properties of sweet almond include nutty smell with a light sweetness.
However, if you are choosing the sweet almond oil, you should opt for the unrefined version. It is extracted by crushing raw almonds without using chemical elements or high temperature. This process ensures that the nutrients of the oil are preserved.
There has been some research on almond oil. The oil extracted from almonds help in elevating proper cholesterol levels and protects the heart. It also improves skin complexion and fades scars.
According to studies, the cholesterol-lowering qualities of almond oil can be attributed to its high content of monounsaturated fatty acid. Some of the fatty acids that almond oil contains include oleic acid and linoleic acid.
What are the Health Benefits of Almond Oil?
Two of the essential ingredients of almond oil are unsaturated fatty acid and vitamin E. The healthy fat improves heart health and also helps in managing diabetes. Vitamin E promotes skin health as well as the condition of hair and scalp.
1. Almond Oil Protects Your Heart
The monounsaturated fat content in the almond oil helps in lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). This process helps almond oil in maintaining a healthy heart.
The monounsaturated acid content can lower blood pressure levels, especially in obese individuals. A combination of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in almond oil. These two acids aid in cardiovascular health. Monounsaturated acid can also prevent arteriosclerosis, a condition which hardens the arterial walls.
Apart from adding almond oil to your diet, you should avoid eating foods like fatty beef, lamb, pork, butter, and cheese.
2. May Promote Weight Loss
Monounsaturated acid-rich diet can promote weight loss. It has also been known to improve lipid profiles in overweight individuals. These fats moderate energy distribution, which might come in handy when maintaining weight.
Nevertheless, almond oil does not contain fiber as almonds do. Therefore, it is important to intake the oil with a balanced diet and exercise for healthy weight loss.
3. May Promote Rectal and Digestive Health
Almond oil has several uses when it comes to digestive health. One of them is almond oil injections–which is used to treat rectal prolapse in children.
According to a study, almond oil can also be used to treat idiopathic pruritus in adult patients. The oil can treat 93 percent of the patients in the very first trial, while the remaining were completely cured after a second treatment.
The oil also improves bowel management, helping you prevent irritable bowel syndrome. Almond oil contains fatty acid, which also works as prebiotics. This helps in improving the health of the human gut bacteria.
4. Can Aid in Managing Diabetes
In a study, it was found that the participants who had breakfast with added almond oil had lower blood sugar levels. This change was observed both after meals and throughout the day.
Almond oil has been known to be better than almond itself in keeping postprandial blood glucose levels low.
5. Treats Ear Infection
Almond oil work great in removing earwax. If you are inflicted with earwax problems, you can pour warm almond oil, and it would soften the earwax, making it easy to remove. The oil can also work to appease tympanic perforation (the case of a ruptured eardrum). While more studies are required, research states that almond oil does not cause any toxicity.
Since a ruptured eardrum can make your ear prone to infections, almond oil can also come in handy in solving ear infection.
6. Helps Treat Cradle Cap in Infants
While there is very little research to back this, according to anecdotal evidence, almond oil treats cradle cap in infants. Cradle cap is a greasy, yellowish, scaly rash that appears on the scalp of infants. It is caused when sebum is secreted extensively. The key is to hydrate the scalp.
Some people also believe that almond oil nourishes the scalp. You can try it yourself by applying almond oil on the scalp of the infant, gently massaging it, and leaving it for 15 minutes to be soaked by the skin. After this, you can wash out the oil with gentle baby shampoo.
7. Promotes Skin Health
Almond oil is known to rejuvenate the skin and even out an uneven complexion. Its properties can also help in removing acne scars.
The vitamin E content of the oil work wonders for your skin. Almond oil prevents lipid per-oxidation that is caused by acne-causing bacteria, thus healing acne and reducing inflammation.
Vitamin E is also known to protect the skin from photoaging and skin cancer. Almond oil works on all kinds of skin, rendering them soft and silky.
Some research also suggests that almond oil can be beneficial for psoriasis and eczema.
This can be attributed to the moisturising properties of almond oil. Moreover, almond oil is also used to remove dark circles and soothe sunburns. Almond oil is also very effective in removing stretch marks, although bitter almond oil was found to be more effective in this aspect.
8. Improves Hair and Scalp Health
Many people can vouch for the efficacy of almond oil in enhancing hair and scalp health. However, sufficient research backing up these claims is absent.
Using almond oil on your skin can make it smoother to touch. Using it on your hair can make you comb easily and style through it. The vitamin E contents of almond oil can rejuvenate your scalp, reduce oxidative stress, cut down the risk of alopecia, and boost hair growth. The moisturising properties of the oil can also treat dandruff and a dry scalp.
How to Include Almond Oil in Your Diet
When thinking of including almond oil in your diet, go for the unrefined one and do not use it in cooking. Unrefined oils have low smoke points and cooking them at high temperature may rob them of their nutrients.
Use unrefined almond oil as a finishing oil by adding it to dishes once the cooking is completed.
You can use refined oil for cooking as it has a higher smoke point. However, beware as refined almond oil contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, and according to studies, refined vegetable oils rich in omega-4 fatty acid can cause atherosclerosis and diabetes.
How to Incorporate Almond Oil Into Your Skincare and Haircare Routine
1. Use almond oil as a moisturiser
Sweet almond oil, with all its nutrients and nourishing properties, can replace your everyday moisturiser. It is going to keep your face hydrated and provide your skin with Vitamin E and fatty acids.
2. Use it instead of a body lotion
Not just your face, your body needs hydration and nourishment as well. Use sweet almond oil to moisturise your body, especially during the winters. Your skin is going to love it.
3. Use it to combat stretch marks
In case you have those stubborn stretch marks, this oil packed with vitamin E is the answer. Regular massage of the affected area with sweet almond oil can reduce stretch marks over a period of time.
4. Use it as a night repair oil
With all the essential fatty acids and vitamin E, almond oil is the perfect repair oil that your skin is going to love. Take a few drops in your fingers and apply it all over your face and neck before going to bed. You will wake up with a soft and hydrated face.
5. Use it as a hair oil
Almond oil is known for its nourishing properties. It moisturises the scalp and also prevents hair fall. With all the essential fatty acids and antioxidants, it promotes hair growth and keeps the scalp well nourished.
What Should I Keep in Mind Before Buying Sweet Almond Oil
There is a lot of almond oil in the market that is diluted with mineral oil and palm oil. Make it a habit to read the ingredient label. See that it contains nothing other than sweet almond oil. There should not be any added fragrance, colour pigments and preservatives as well. Also try to find a cold pressed, unrefined, extra virgin Sweet Almond Oil.