Almonds are nutritional powerhouses. They’re full of healthy fats, fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals.
Almonds were originally grown in the Middle East. Today, California is the largest producer of almonds in the world. California’s almond production has doubled in the past 20 years. That’s because more and more people are becoming aware of the health benefits.
What is almond oil?
Nearly half of a dried almond’s weight is oil. Ripe almonds are pressed to extract the oil with minimal heat.
This unrefined almond oil protects the nutrients and the flavor of the oil. High heat and sometimes chemicals are used to create refined almond oil.
While refined almond oil is more heat-tolerant, it may lack the nutritional value of unrefined varieties. Almond oil, which is also called sweet almond oil, is not the same as bitter almond oil.
Bitter almond oil is made from a different variety of almonds. It is refined to remove toxins that are naturally present in the skin of the almonds.
Almond oil is full of vitamin E, and it’s a great source of magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. The antioxidant-rich oil is known for its free radical fighting abilities. It’s also anti-inflammatory and boosts immunity.
Containing omega-3 fatty acids, almond oil might help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels and improve your memory. It may help lower your risk for diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Benefits of almond oil for skin
Almond oil has been used for centuries to soothe the skin and treat minor wounds and cuts. It has been used in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic practices to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
More than soothing dry skin, almond oil can improve complexion and skin tone. It’s highly emollient, which means it helps to balance the absorption of moisture and water loss. Because it is antibacterial and full of vitamin A, almond oil can be used to treat acne. Its concentration of vitamin E can also help to heal sun damage, reduce the signs of aging, and fade scars.
Almond oil soaks in quickly and is a powerful moisturizer, so it can be used on the face or body. You can apply it straight, or mix it with essential oils to get its benefits. Beyond moisturizing your skin, almond oil is a great massage oil or skin treatment.
It also has powerful antifungal properties. Rub it on your feet to prevent athlete’s foot or to help remove other fungal infections like ringworm. You can use almond oil as a cleanser or to gently remove makeup as well.
Benefits of almond oil for hair
Your skin isn’t the only thing that can benefit from almond oil. The nourishing oil can soften and strengthen your hair. It’s rich in vitamin B-7, or biotin, so almond oil helps to keep hair and nails healthy and strong. It can also help protect your hair from sun damage, with a natural SPF 5.
You can use almond oil as a scalp treatment. Its antibacterial and fungicidal properties make it effective at balancing the yeast that causes dandruff. It easily soaks into the skin, so almond oil works well at hydrating the scalp and cleansing the hair follicles.
You can also smooth frizz and heal damaged hair with almond oil. Apply a dime-sized amount or less to the ends of your hair before drying to hydrate and decrease frizz.
Should you cook with almond oil?
Your heart will thank you for eating almond oil. Full of monounsaturated fatty acids, almond oil can elevate the levels of “good” cholesterol, or high-density lipoproteins (HDL). It can also lower levels of “bad” cholesterol, or low-density lipoproteins (LDL), when it replaces saturated and trans fats.
Almond oil can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease because of its high levels of antioxidants, its ability to decrease inflammation in the body, and its effect on cholesterol.
When cooking with almond oil, remember to keep unrefined or virgin oils at low heat to prevent burning the oil and destroying the nutritional value. Almond oil is best used for salad dressing, low-heat baking, or as finishing oil on top of a dish to add extra flavor and nutrition.
Its mild flavor makes it perfect for slipping into dishes. Refined oil can be used for roasting or sautéing because it has been processed to tolerate a much higher heat, up to 420°F (215°C).
Though whole almonds will provide the most nutrition, almond oil can be a healthy addition to your diet.
Whether you’re putting it on your body or on your salad, look for unrefined or virgin almond oil. Unrefined oil retains more of the nutrients that are beneficial for your skin, hair, and health.