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Almond health benefits: Sweet, sweet almond joy

Almonds make an appearance in the Old Testament, leading historians to concur that this nut (which is actually a seed!) was one of the earliest foods harvested by humans. Discover almond's health benefits.

April 01, 2019 8:37 pm

Almond health benefits have been known for centuries. The almond is thought to have originated in China – although some do say it was born in the Middle East – and may have been introduced to other countries along the Silk Road by traders. We know that it was present in the Mediterranean and the Middle East before Christ; they were fed to Egyptian pharaohs. In the folklore of some Asian cultures, almonds are a charm against memory loss when you soak them in water before eating.   

The almond tree flowers at the end of the winter, and its fruit is harvested twice a year. Standing at 20 to 30 feet tall, almond trees are sturdy giants even if almonds themselves are potent miniatures.

In ancient Rome, almonds were known as Greek nuts because they came to Rome via that part of the world. Their flavour was so esteemed that sugared almonds were gifted to great men on special occasions. Thought to nourish fertility, almonds were also showered over happy new couples at Roman weddings; people savoured them with honey in ancient Greece.

cold-pressed almond oil

 

Before Hollywood and before Californian cuisine, El Camino Real (The Royal Road) extended north from San Diego to Sonoma by the Pacific Ocean. In the mid-1700s, Spanish priests, the Franciscan Padres, built grand missions along the road. Almond trees were cultivated outside these elegant buildings – the ancestors of today’s Californian almond trees, which yield 80% of the world’s almonds.

The stream of almond joy has kept on flowing right into the present day. Almond milks, flours, and butters are staples in contemporary refrigerators. And, almonds feature in any number of wonderfully naughty chocolate bars – including, of course, Hershey’s Almond Joy. However, wisdom on almonds is one of the few times we encourage you to disregard the words of the French novelist Colette, who said, “Don’t eat too many almonds, they add weight to the breasts.”

Bitter or sweet?

There are two varieties of almond oil – bitter and sweet – which come from different types of almond trees. Bitter almond oil, an essential oil, is ideal for scent, while sweet almond oil is a fixed oil; coconut oil and olive oil also belong to this group, which many use as carrier or base oils.

Sweet almond oil, or Prunus amygdalus dulcis, is made from pressed almonds. Ayurvedic, Ancient Chinese, and Greco-Persian medicine featured almond’s health benefits; today, different cultures enjoy it in food or apply directly onto the skin and hair for deep nourishment. Sweet almond oil also nurtures with its unsaturated fatty acids including olein glyceride linoleic acid. Moreover, it contains phytosterols, vitamin E and vitamin A. Quickly absorbed into the skin, this natural oil will not leave a greasy residue and is present in many cosmetics.

Sweet almond oil health benefits

Firstly, sweet almond oil can fight off free radical damage. With the increasingly toxic environment of our world, it is ever more important to supply your skin with antioxidants to fight off free radicals. Free radicals contribute to overall ill health as well as weakening of the collagen of the skin, which acts as a pillow or cushion for supporting and smoothing the skin. You could think of a spoonful of sweet almond oil, abundant in Vitamin E and other antioxidants, doing for your face what plumping up the pillows on your bed does – only this is much tastier!(1) Research shows that sweet almond oil can also help repair damage to your skin from UV radiation by lessening the harm done to your DNA by the sun.(2) One tablespoon of sweet almond oil a day equals about a quarter of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E.(3)

Working right in tandem with the Vitamin E in this oil are the monounsaturated fatty acids, (MUFAs) which lock in precious moisture and help to keep your skin properly irrigated. MUFAs are also incredibly beneficial for heart health, because they elevate good cholesterol (HDL, high-density lipoproteins) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL, low-density lipoproteins). The fatty acids in sweet almond oil also make it anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting.

"A study has also shown that sweet almond oil helps reduce stretch marks on the stomach and lessens irritation."

Almond oil is excellent to apply on the skin

Sweet almond oil is a medium-light oil which is non-comedogenic, so it does not block sensitive pores and the vitamin A in it will indeed clear your pores of nasty dirt and excess oil, which blackheads, whiteheads, and acne feed hungrily on.(4) Also, sweet almond oil will help even out your skin tone and complexion.

What else?

That’s far from everything! Sweet almond oil will help with those deep shadows under your eyes and can act as a wonderfully natural makeup remover. Indulge your lips, nails, cuticle, scalp, and hair with this oil, which heals and strengthens as it rehydrates. Use sweet almond oil as a night oil to heighten the effects of the Vitamin E that it contains.

A study has also shown that sweet almond oil helps reduce stretch marks on the stomach and lessens irritation. It may be able to act in the same way on other discolourations across your body, thanks to its emollient and sclerosant properties.

We know that sweet almond oil can also act as a mild disinfectant on minor wounds, and most definitely that it is lovely massage oil. It also works extremely well as carrier oil for essential oils. If that wasn’t enough, you can use almond oil as an overall body butter, shaving oil, or as a facial scrub!

Up for discussion…..

Miraculously, as long as almonds have been around – remember, we’re talking the exoticism of ancient Rome, the Old Testament, and the Silk Road – we are still discovering more about what sweet almond oil can do for us. Studies have shown that it can help combat colonic cancer, but further work is needed before conclusive results can be cited.(5) Researchers are looking into its possible uses after surgery to help heal scars. The jury is still out on that one, but it’s an exciting likelihood. Another use of sweet almond oil that researchers are currently investigating is its laxative properties.

Is refined almond oil better?

Words can be quite confusing! Refined almond oil may sound purer, but it’s actually produced by machines, sometimes via a process involving chemicals, and has less flavour. It is more suitable for use as cooking oil because it can withstand higher temperatures than cold-pressed oils can.

Cold-pressed almond oil – like the one that Erbology makes – is artisan oil that retains all flavour. Because the way that this oil is processed is not as harsh, all the valuable nutritional advantages are left intact.

Erbology also uses only organic almonds, grown without herbicides or pesticides sprayed onto the trees. This means that the almond passes the health benefits directly onto you with much less toxic interference. According to the US Department of Agriculture, non-organic almonds are often sprayed with chemicals including neurotoxins, hormone disruptors, and carcinogens.(6)

 

almond health benefits

Cooking with sweet almond oil

Sweet almond oil is extremely delicate in flavour, almost neutral with just a hint of nuttiness to it. We suggest showcasing its essence by using it in marinades, vinaigrettes, and dressings. Or, you can use it as finishing oil on salads, pastas, and soups. You could also use it to accentuate fruits and seeds or in healthy puddings, where it will subtly indulge and satisfy your sweet tooth.  

If you normally make your morning smoothie with ingredients rich in pro-vitamin A, like carrots and apricots, or vitamin K, like kale and spinach, almond oil would be an excellent addition. Pro-vitamin A and vitamin K are fat-soluble nutrients. This means that you can best reap their benefits when digesting with healthy fats like these found in almond oil.

Key sweet almond oil health benefits

  1. The particular sweetness of sweet almond oil deeply nourishes skin and hair, including cuticle, scalp, nails, and lips
  2. Non-comedogenic and helps with acne
  3. Rich in vitamin A and E and nutrients that help fight the cell damage caused by free radicals
  4. Helps combat damage done to your skin by the sun
  5. Use as a natural makeup remover
  6. Combat dark under-eye circles
  7. Supports a healthy heart
  8. Anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting
  9. A subtle, light oil that is lovely on a wide variety of dishes

Erbology Sweet Almond Oil

Erbology Sweet Almond Oil is organic and cold-pressed. This preparation method means that valuable chemical compounds native to the oil will remain wholly intact. Erbology Sweet Almond Oil is vegan, gluten-free and clean of any preservatives or genetic modifications.

Recipes featuring sweet almond oil

Very few things are more homey than baking – especially when there’s a chill in the air. There is nothing like entering a room full of sweet, warm scents that wrap around you more indulgently than the finest cashmere. They whet the appetite for rich flavours. It’s these sensual memories that often scare people off becoming fully vegan – but delicious vegan baking is more than possible! Let us prove it to you with this recipe for Apple bread with sweet almond oil. Depending on your dietary needs, you can substitute different types of flour. We do not even need honey to sweeten the bread – just apple sauce, coconut sugar, and enlivening turmeric, lemon zest, and apple cider vinegar. The subtlety of the almond oil adds a succulent depth to this recipe.

Appropriately enough, dates accompany almonds in the Old Testament. They make for an elegant pair in the garnish to this bread, together providing just the right balance of honeyed stickiness and clean crunch.

 

almond oil health benefits

Erbology Origins

Did you enjoy reading the article about almond health benefits? At Erbology, we love discovering and bringing you nature’s marvels that can help you lead a wholesome and happy life. Learn more about some of the plants that different cultures have enjoyed and used in traditional healing for centuries.

The incredible benefits of aronia berries

Many American first nations used aronia berries as a food staple. They usually ate the berry itself raw or dried and mixed with pemmican. The Jicarilla particularly, dried the fruit and pressed them into cakes which they stockpiled for the winter months. The fresh berries could be mashed and made into a jam, or simply left to ferment and used as cherry wine. Every single part of the plant had a use and even its bark and roots can be boiled to produce a form of medicinal tea. Continue reading

Forget Red Bull, sea buckthorn’s what really gives you wings

Said to be a symbol of dignity and power, legend has it that Pegasus grazed through the day on common forage while holding a special place for the sea buckthorn plant whose tart orange berries sustained arduous flights around the empire and Mount Olympus. It’s obvious that the ancient Greeks were familiar with and amazed by sea buckthorn’s potential. Probably because it played a large part in the diet of Greece’s best racehorses, some scholars have referred to it humorously as ‘the Pegasus plant’. Continue reading

Aloe vera, from Alexander the Great to the 21st century

Legend has it that acting upon the advice of Aristotle, Alexander the Great besieged and conquered the aloe vera capital of the ancient world. Lying roughly 150 miles east of the Cape Guardafui coast, the Island of Socotra produced a large portion of the Mediterranean’s aloe vera. In doing so, Alexander secured a steady stream of the healing plant to his army. Continue reading

Amaranth, a symbol of Aztec power and a staple in the modern kitchen

For the people of Mesoamerica, gods and nature where not distinctly separate as they are in Judaeo-Christian faiths. People projected character traits of nature into the personalities of different gods and conversely, they saw parts of these gods in natural objects found throughout the region. One significant crossover lay in the amaranth plant. So important was this tall plant, with its broad green leaves, that during the festivities of Huitzilopochtli people built a divine statue from its seeds. Continue reading

 

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References

(1) Abid Keen, Mohammad and Hassa, Iffat, “Vitamin E in dermatology”, Indian Dermatology Online, 2016, https://bit.ly/2HJauCj.

(2) Sultana et al, “Effect of pre-treatment of almond oil on ultraviolet B-induced cutaneous photoaging in mice.” J Cosmet Dermatology, 2007, https://bit.ly/2HNzvMP.

(3) Kubala, Jillian, MS, RD, “Health Benefits and Uses of Almond Oil,” 2017,https://bit.ly/2x6evJY.

(4) Kotori, Merita Grajqevci, “Low-dose Vitamin “A” Tablets–treatment of Acne Vulgaris,” Med Arch, 2015, https://bit.ly/2FwgISx.

(5) Ahmad, Zeeshan, “The uses and properties of almond oil,” Complementary therapies in clinical practices, 2010, https://bit.ly/2OsOiwB.

(6) “9 Pesticide Residues Found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program”, https://bit.ly/2Txvspa.

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