Healthy and beautiful with almond oil
Almond oil has been used as a food and care product for more than 4000 years. The high content of oleic acid ensures a smooth and supple skin, which is why many skin creams contain almond oil even today. However, the golden-yellow oil is also a valuable addition to the diet and, due to its many positive properties, is also increasingly used in the medical field.
The history of the almond tree
The almond tree, whose botanical name is Prunus dulcis rosaceae, belongs to the rose family and originates from the Central and West Asian region, but is now also at home in large parts of the Mediterranean as well as in the USA – and there mainly in California. More than half of the world’s almond demand comes from California, now the world’s largest production site. In Europe, Spain and Italy each supply around 100,000 tons of almonds. Already in antiquity the value of the almond tree was known. According to Greek legend, the goddess Kybele was injured while walking on her foot. The blood seeped into the ground, from which the first almond tree is said to have grown. The almond tree is also mentioned in the Old Testament and the ancient Egyptians are said to have put almonds in their bread dough. This gives an idea of how important and valuable almonds were to humans even then. Romans, Greeks and Arabs took almonds with them on their journeys and so the almond tree became native to Europe. By the way, the almond tree came to California through Spanish Franciscan monks. Charlemagne is said to have ordered the cultivation of almond trees. The tree was first mentioned in the 12th century. In the Middle Ages, almonds were still among the expensive, sometimes almost unaffordable foods. But even then they were processed into porridge and almond milk. Since almond trees bloom very early in the year, they used to be a symbol of strength and vitality. Even today, as the first harbingers of spring, they delight holidaymakers visiting the Mediterranean in February and March with their pink flowers.
How is almond oil produced?
Almonds are available in a sweet and a bitter version. The bitter almonds usually do not grow on the sweet almond trees. However, it is also possible that sweet almond trees carry a small proportion of bitter almonds. In commercial cultivation, almost exclusively sweet almonds are used. When producing almond oil, it is very important that the proportion of bitter almonds is as small as possible, otherwise the oil is not edible. First, the hard shell is removed from the ripe almonds. The edible core is then cold-pressed in a very gentle process. This creates a rather cloudy oil at first. Multiple filtering gives the almond oil its typical clear, golden yellow colour. The cold pressing ensures that the valuable ingredients of the almond oil are preserved. The oil content is between 36 and 46%. As a by-product of pressing, almond bran is produced, which can also be used for facial care, for example for packs. The retail trade also offers refined and hot-pressed oils, but a large part of the ingredients are lost. If you want to use almond oil as a care product or in the kitchen, you should be careful to buy only pure, cold-pressed oil.
Bitter almond oil
As a rule, the bitter almonds grow on the bitter almond tree with the botanical name Prunus dulcis var amaris. Although the consumption of a small amount of bitter almonds is considered harmless, one should exercise the utmost caution with bitter almonds. Bitter almond oil is a toxic essential oil extracted from the cores of the bitter almonds. It is initially colourless, later it takes on a yellowish hue. The uncleaned oil consists of 95% benzaldehyde and 2 to 4% of hydrogen cyanide and almond nitrite. By shaking with iron sulphate and lime milk, it is freed from the hydrogen cyanide, then distilled with water vapor. Hydrogen cyanide-free bitter almond oil consists of almost 99% benzaldehyde and is mainly used for the production of perfumes. Bakeries and pastry shops use it as spice oil, and it is also used in the production of liqueurs.
What’s in almond oil?
Almond oil is a true power package full of valuable acids and minerals as well as a vitamin cocktail. These valuable ingredients make almond oil a high-quality natural product. In particular, almond oil contains
Saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in almond oil
These fatty acids are similar to the fat found in the skin, which is why they are so well tolerated. When taken as food, they settle in the cell walls of the skin, act as a natural barrier and strengthen the vessel walls. They can also lower cholesterol levels. The main proportion of unsaturated fatty acids is oleic acid, at 86%. Their nature makes them extremely mobile. In this way, it can also penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and build up effective protection. Furthermore, almond oil contains 19% linoleic acid, an essentially unsaturated fatty acid. It is important for the human organism as it is needed for metabolism. It is also part of the skin. Linoleic acid moisturizes, increases the skin’s own UV protection and makes the skin more resistant to irritation and infection. Palmitic acid is a saturated fatty acid that protects the skin from external influences by strengthening the acid protective mantle. Their share in almond oil is 5%.
Minerals in almond oil
Minerals ensure a firmer skin image through their involvement in metabolism and fluid exchange. In addition to potassium, which regulates blood pressure and cholesterol levels, almond oil also contains magnesium, which supports digestion and stability of cell walls, as well as calcium. The latter ensures a healthy skin, has a positive influence on minor inflammation and helps with sun allergy.
The vitamin mix contained in almond oil is aimed at cell renewal and metabolism. The most important ally in cell renewal is vitamin A, which is also involved in the reparation of the cell walls and protects the skin cells from DNA damage. The family of B vitamins is completely represented in almond oil. They have a positive effect on the nervous system and blood metabolism and enhance the effect of vitamin E, of which around 32 mg are contained in 100 ml of almond oil. Vitamin E is found in the cell walls, where it protects against free radicals. In addition, it helps the skin to store moisture and works with vitamin A in cell renewal.
Healing effect of almond oil scientifically confirmed
For many thousands of years, people have known about the positive properties of almond oil,which have now been confirmed by numerous studies. A team of researchers from the Hamdad University of New Delhi looked at the positive effect of almond oil on the skin under sunlight. It was found that: Almond oil can prevent damage to the structure of the skin cells by building up a protection against the dangerous UV rays. The scientists also found that almond oil can slow down the aging process of the skin. Cold-pressed Almond oil contains about 20% high-quality protein and thus covers a large part of the human protein requirement.
Since almond oil has a positive effect on metabolism, it can also help with weight loss. In an article read that people who have tonsils or tonsils during a diet almond oil, have been shown to have lost more weight than those who adhered to an identical diet but on the consumption of almonds/Almond oil. Many dietitians think they have to give up fats altogether to get rid of their superfluous pounds. In the short term, this may be true, but at the latest after the return to the usual diet, the dreaded yo-yo effect arises. A balanced diet combined with exercise (or even more exercise) is the better option in the long run.
Your heart will also thank you for integrating almond oil into your daily diet. Almond oil has the ability to increase the “good” HDL cholesterol and lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol. Oxygen and nutrients enter the blood directly and thus also to the heart. According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Medical Sciences, regular consumption of almond oil can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease because of its anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Es has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes. Participants in a Purdue University study with diabetes risk who ate almond products for breakfast (almonds, almond oil or almond butter), felt full and had low blood sugar levels. The study confirmed that almond oil had stimulated insulin production most effectively after breakfast.
Almond oil has a positive effect on bone densityas it reduces the formation of osteoclasts (bone-building cells) and reduces the TRAP enzyme (tarrate-resistant acid phosphatase). This enzyme allows conclusions to be drawn about bone density. In addition, less calcium is released from the bones. This has been demonstrated in a study.
Almond oil also plays a very important role in intestinal health. It lowers the risk of colorectal cancer and should also be able to relieve an irritable bowel. However, investigations into this are still ongoing. However, it has been proven that almond oilinjections freed subjects from their annoying ailments in a study by the University of Cairo who suffered from an inexplicable itching in the area. Almond oil is also a mild but effective laxative.
Ear pain can be combated in a natural and very effective way by adding two to three drops of almond oil to a hot tablespoon and then carefully dripping into the affected ear. In addition, almond oil can soften the earwax and eliminate blockages in the ear canal.
Good for skin and hair
As already mentioned, almond oil is full of valuable ingredients that nourish and protect the skin. You can use almond oil as a massage oil, although it is most pleasant if you first heat the almond oil to body temperature before applying it to the skin. Pregnant women can use almond oil to prevent the dreaded stretch marks. Almond oil, by the way, is also an excellent bath additive. The saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in combination with the minerals and vitamins protect the skin from UV rays and can even mitigate the damage somewhat if the sunburn is already present, according to a 2007 study. Those who are prone to impure skin, acne or eczema should also care for the skin with almond oil. Due to its anti-inflammatory effect and the vitamin A contained, almond oilhelps to fight and prevent acne. Almond oil is also a valuable ally in neurodermatitis or psoriasis (psoriasis). Almond oil is so mild that it has proven very well with dry skin and is well tolerated even by babies and toddlers.
You can get to the bottom of the eye rings by applying a few drops of almond oil under the lower lash wreath before bedtime.
If you look at the list of ingredients of anti-aging products, you will see that many of them contain almond oil. Vitamin E and B vitamins make almond oil an effective weapon in the fight against skin aging. However, you can also add almond oil to your usual care cream or apply it directly to the skin. Then, however, you should be careful not to take too much to avoid a greasy glow of the skin.
Mixed with a little sugar, almond oil is a mild exfoliation that even people with sensitive skin can apply without hesitation. By the way, almond oil is also well suited as a make-up remover.
What is good for the skin is of course also good for the hair. The cocktail of vitamins, minerals and saturated and unsaturated fatty acids contained in almond oil provides the hair with all important nutrients and can help to prevent due hair loss due to deficiency. In addition, almond oil ensures a healthy scalp and can thus stimulate hair growth. After washing, simply massage some almond oil onto the scalp and into towel-dried hair to provide it with moisture and nutrients. As a pleasant side effect, splices are tamed and brittle, brittle hair is strengthened. The fatty acids contained in the almond oil lie around each individual strand like a protective film, protect it from environmental influences and make it wonderfully silky and shiny. To enhance the effect, you can also add a few drops of almond oil to your shampoo.
What works with the hair splendor also works, of course, with eyelashes and eyebrows. For long, silky-shiny lashes and denser eyebrows, it’s best to put some almond oil on an eyelash in the evening before bedtime and apply it to lashes and brows. You will soon notice a difference.
Almond oil is also an excellent carrier oil that can be used to dilute essential oils such as tea tree oil, which should not reach the skin directly.
Almond oil in the kitchen
Almond oil is still rather unknown in this country as cooking oil. Its mild, nutty taste makes it more refined salad dressings and raw food dishes and also makes itself good in cereals and desserts. However, you should be careful not to heat the almond oil too much during cooking, otherwise the valuable ingredients will evaporate. You can also add almond oil to protein shakes or eat two to three tablespoons of pure almond oil every day.
What to look out for
In order to enjoy all the valuable ingredients, you should definitely use pure, high-quality, cold-pressed almond oil from organic farming. In retail, and even in pharmacies, there is often also refined almond oil to buy. But as a result of refining, many of the most valuable ingredients are lost. Therefore, this oil is rather not recommended. Almond oil is clear and has a bright, golden yellow colour. It is odourless and thin. To maintain these properties, it must be stored in a cool and dark place. If it is too warm and exposed to a lot of light, it can become rancid very quickly. Once you notice that the almond oil has become cloudy and smells rancid, you should stop using it.
Other important points
Although almond oil is generally very beneficial to health, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to include almond oil in your daily routine. First, make sure you don’t suffer from a nut allergy. If you need to take medication, you should talk to your doctor before using almond oil, as almond oil may interact with certain medications – especially for blood pressure and cholesterol lowering as well as diabetes medications. Also, bitter almond oil, if at all, should only be used under medical supervision.
Almond oil is a true all-round talent. The combination of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and vitamins makes almond oil a valuable natural product that provides excellent services in both the kitchen and the cosmetics. Almond oil nourishes the skin, fights impurities and acne and is an effective anti-aging agent. Damage caused by UV rays is also mitigated. Almond oil makes the hair healthy and shiny and allows eyelashes and eyebrows to grow. Scientifically proven, almond oil supports weight loss and can prevent cardiovascular disease as well as lower diabetes and cholesterol. However, this only applies to pure, cold-pressed almond oil in organic quality. There are many reasons for the daily use of almond oil.