Almond oil has been used in traditional healing and medicinal practices for centuries.
There are many reasons why it is still being used today.
Almonds produce an oil that is rich in nutrients, phytochemicals and other healing properties.
This makes it an excellent treatment for many health issues.
You can use almond oil to treat everything from skin problems to high cholesterol.
It can even help lower your risk of heart disease.
This oil has many amazing benefits that can help both the outside and inside of your body stay healthy.
This guide discusses the latest medical research on the effects and benefits of almond oil, including how you can use it to improve your health.
Keep reading to learn more about this healthy oil.
Understanding Almond Oil
Almonds are a common nut that is native to many warm regions throughout the world.
The almond tree originates from the Middle East, where it flourished in the Mediterranean climate of current-day Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and Syria in ancient times.
The tree was then spread by humans into southern Europe, Northern Africa, and later, North America.
In early cultures, almonds were used traditionally to treat skin problems.
This food has long been a part of many healing traditions, including Ayurvedic medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
There are two varieties of domesticated almonds, which are what are mainly grow today.
There is the bitter almond, which is primarily used in the making of oils, extracts, and almond fragrances, and the sweet almond, which is most often used for snacking or cooking.
Almond oil is extracted from the almond seed.
The almond kernel is comprised of about 50 percent fat, including high concentrations of monounsaturated oleic acid, linoleic acid, and other saturated fatty acids (1).
It is also rich in Vitamin E (2).
It is generally believed that eating whole almonds and equivalent amounts of almond oil produce the same health benefits, supporting the claim that the primary benefits of the almond lie in the oil itself (3).
Among the components of almond oil are healthy omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids, as well as other sources of healthy fats.
The phytosterols in almonds are good for your heart (4).
Almonds also are an excellent source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, copper, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, calcium, B vitamins and protein, especially the amino acid arginine (5).
The nutritional value of almonds depends mainly on the area in which they were grown, the weather and growing conditions and other factors that affect the health of the plant.
Almond oil is extracted using expeller pressing, which breaks down the seeds under mechanical pressure to release the fats that are contained within.
Cold-pressed oil is darker in color and retains more of its healing properties than oils that are refined using higher temperatures.
You may be concerned about eating almonds based a misconception about their high concentrations of cyanide, but this concern is unfounded.
Sweet almonds, which are the type most commonly eaten, are completely safe and do not contain this harmful element.
Bitter almonds are known to contain cyanogenic glycoside, which can produce cyanide.
For this reason, these almonds must be heat-treated to remove the compound (6).
Once roasted or heat-processed, bitter almonds are then safe to eat and have no traces of cyanide.
That is why it is essential to know how your bitter almond oil is treated, to ensure that all traces of this harmful element have been removed.
Uses for The Two Types of Almond Oil
Sweet and bitter almonds are two different varieties of the same plant. Each type of oil is used differently, based on its properties.
Sweet almond oil is most often used to dilute essential oils or to treat the skin.
Almond oil is readily absorbed by the skin and does not evaporate quickly.
This makes it perfect for uses in aromatherapy, skin rejuvenation and other applications involving skin care.
Due to its sweet taste and mild aroma, sweet almond oil is also often used to flavor foods or ingested on its own.
Bitter almond oil has a stronger almond taste and scent.
Therefore, it is more often used in cooking, when you are looking for more almond flavor, such as in Amaretto or marzipan.
Bitter almonds are used to make extracts, flavoring syrups and other almond-flavored food products.
It is also sometimes used to create almond essential oil, because of its strong almond scent.
When conducting research studies, scientists almost always use sweet almond oil in their research, unless they are specifically studying bitter almond oil.
When using almond oil to treat various health conditions, it is essential to read the label and follow it carefully.
Using it for skin and hair treatments usually requires just a few drops (skin) or tablespoons (hair).
When taking almond oil internally, the typical dose is one to two teaspoons.
You should not ingest large quantities of almond oil since this type of application has not been thoroughly studied.
If you are planning to ingest bitter almond oil, it is recommended that you consult a medical professional to help you determine dosage.
There is insufficient evidence on the safety of this oil for long-term use in significant quantities.
Almond Oil’s Many Health Benefits
Almond oil has many benefits for your skin, as well as your heart health and other medical needs.
We explore those uses that have been scientifically studied and documented, to help you understand the advantages of using this oil to promote better health.
Enhances Skin Health and Moisturization
Almond oil has been traditionally used for hundreds of years to treat disorders associated with dry skin, including eczema and psoriasis.
This oil is a highly effective moisturizer.
It is gentle and safe to use on sensitive skin, including on infants (7).
The properties that contribute to almond oil’s effectiveness at moisturizing skin include its high concentration of Vitamins B and E and zinc, which all play a role in helping you to maintain healthy, supple skin (8).
Protects Your Skin from Sun Damage
Skin aging and several types of skin cancers are caused by or made worse by the harmful UV rays of the sun.
Excessive exposure to the sun can damage your skin.
Therefore, it is important to protect this sensitive organ, whenever possible.
In one animal study, topical treatment of almond oil was shown to prevent the skin damage caused by UV radiation (9).
If you want to protect your skin from harmful sun rays, you can make your own skin-protecting oil using almond oil.
By combining four parts of almond oil with one part beeswax and two parts of zinc oxide, you can enjoy the benefits of a natural sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 (10).
This mixture can help you enjoy a cost-effective and natural sunscreen, without the harsh chemicals of other products.
Reduces the Appearance of Stretch Marks
Another important benefit that almond oil can offer to your skin, is to help prevent stretch marks from forming during pregnancy.
The development of stretch marks is a common occurrence during pregnancy for many women.
Several studies have shown that using almond oil can prevent them from forming.
In a 2000 clinical study, participants who used almond oil showed a significantly lower rate of developing stretch marks (24 percent), compared to the control group (79 percent) (11).
While some research suggests that the almond oil is what causes the decrease in stretch marks (12), other studies seem to support the idea that it is massage rather than the type of oil that actually inhibits the formation of stretch marks (13).
While preventing them from forming, almond oil may also be able to reduce the itchiness of stretch marks, while also stopping the worsening of those you already have (14).
These studies support the practice of regularly massaging your skin with almond oil during pregnancy, even if you have existing stretch marks, to increase your skin comfort and prevent further marks from developing.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
In addition to the numerous benefits to your skin, almond oil can also help improve your heart health, including reducing your triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
These two forms of lipids are critical factors that contribute to your risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease, so keeping them at manageable and low levels is important to your overall health.
When discussing cholesterol, it is important to note that you have many different ways to measure these fats in your body.
You have total cholesterol, as well as HDL and LDL cholesterol.
You want your LDL levels to be lower since this is a type of unhealthy fat in your blood.
By contrast, you want your HDL to be higher since it is an indicator of levels of healthier fats your body needs to function.
The primary source of cholesterol for most people is their diet.
Replacing just half of your daily fat intake with healthy oil, like almond oil, can have a significant influence on your cholesterol oils.
One study noted a decrease in total and LDL cholesterol, as well as an increase in HDL levels for participants, in just six weeks of treatment (15).
Another vital part of your risk of heart disease is your triglyceride levels.
These fatty acids are present in the foods you eat and contribute to how much fat is in your blood.
When your levels are too high, you are at increased risk for having a stroke (16).
Using almond oil has been shown to decrease triglyceride levels in study participants (17).
While almond oil is an excellent treatment for high cholesterol, you may receive added benefits by eating whole almonds, instead of just consuming the oil.
Recent research indicates that participants who ate whole almonds showed a decrease in overall fat levels that exceeded those noted in oil-only participants (18).
Lowers Levels of Inflammation
One of the many benefits of almond oil for your heart and overall health is its ability to protect against oxidative stress.
This is a leading cause of heart disease, as well as chronic inflammation.
Antioxidants are effective for lowering inflammation, slowing the aging process and helping your body’s natural defenses protect you from chronic and acute illnesses, such as cancer (20).
Chronic stress affects all areas of your body, including your liver.
Almond oil has been shown in animal studies to protect the liver from this inflammatory response and reduce the damage caused by toxic damage to the liver (21).
Reduces Your Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes
Your risk for chronic disorders, like heart disease and diabetes, are increased when you have elevated levels of blood glucose.
Researchers are consistently searching for ways that food can be used to lower blood sugar levels to keep them within safe and healthy ranges, and almonds present a possible opportunity for accomplishing this goal (22).
Almond oil has been shown to reduce the concentration of blood glucose after eating (23).
This same effect was not found when other almond products were consumed.
It could be that the unique combination of essential fatty acids and other nutrients in almond oil could play a significant role in controlling blood sugar and preventing diabetes.
More research is needed on this topic to confirm this finding.
Lowers Your Colon Cancer Risk
Almond oil may represent a treatment that could prevent aberrant crypt foci or ACF, which are precursors to colon cancer.
ACE are tiny lesions on your colon that could become host to cancerous tumors.
Their presence raises your risk of eventually developing this cancer over time (24).
In animal trials, researchers have found that a diet high in almonds reduces the presence of these lesions, which would suggest that including almond oil in your diet could reduce your risk of developing this disease (25).
Similar results were found in cell studies in which almond oil was seen to inhibit the growth of tumor cells for colon cancer (26).
It is believed that the elevated levels of essential fatty acids found in almond oil are the contributing factor in this effect.
Treats Rectal Prolapse
Rectal prolapse occurs when part of the rectum, which is the lowest part of the large intestine, protrudes outside of the body through the anus.
When this part of your colon becomes unattached to the inside of your body, it can come out through the anus opening, turning itself inside out in the process.
This condition can be extremely dangerous and life-threatening.
Doctors are now using injections of almond oil to stimulate the growth of scar tissue to cure prolapse in some patients.
When injected into the body, almond oil produces an inflammatory response that causes the formation of scar tissue.
This effect, which is known as sclerosing, can help to hold the rectal muscle in place and prevent future prolapse.
It is important to note that this procedure should only be performed by a medical professional, as injecting almond oil yourself could be extremely dangerous.
Injecting fats into the wrong areas of your body can result in an embolism, which can become life-threatening.
Therefore, never perform this procedure yourself (29).
Relieves Ear Pain
Children and adults can suffer from earaches for a wide variety of reasons, and sweet almond oil can be used as an effective treatment for this common ailment.
Earaches are often caused by the blockage of the ventilation tubes in your ears by ear wax.
Using almond oil can help to soften and remove this wax buildup, leading to less pain and discomfort.
Sweet almond oil is considered safe to use inside the ear canal (30).
The best use of sweet almond oil to treat earaches is to warm it slightly and place a few drops into the ear canal while laying down.
Enhances Weight Loss Efforts
When you are trying to lose weight, it is essential that you eat a variety of healthy foods.
A healthy diet includes small amounts of the right kinds of fat, especially essential fatty acids.
Eating the right amounts and types of fats can help you to lose weight more effectively.
Researchers have confirmed that diets that contain monounsaturated fats can improve weight loss among obese people trying to lose weight (31).
This contrasts with eating a low-fat diet, which has been shown to impede weight loss efforts in many people.
Using Almond Oil
Almond oil is a versatile product that has many uses for your health and beauty.
Because it is a food product with a pleasant flavor, you can use it in your cooking.
Be sure to select refined sweet almond oil, since unrefined varieties degrade quickly with the application of heat.
You can also use almond oil in place of other oils, in dishes like salad dressings or drizzled over foods.
Using almond oil as a part of your skin and hair care routines is also an excellent idea.
Applying almond oil to your skin keeps it moisturized and hydrated.
It can also be added to your hair care products, such as your conditioner, to improve hair texture and reduce frizz.
If you have a nut allergy, almond oil may trigger an allergic response.
Therefore, use caution when consuming almond oil, since various processing methods can lead to different results each time you use the oil.
Those with allergies specifically to tree nuts, should not use almond oil at all.
If you overconsume almonds or almond oil, you may gain weight.
The healthy fats in this nut have many health benefits, but moderation is essential with any fatty food.
Pregnant women should use almond oil sparingly since heavy use of this food does increase your chances of preterm birth (32).
Because sweet almond oil has been shown to lower blood glucose levels, it is important that you monitor your blood sugar, if you have hypoglycemia while using almond oil.
If you take medications for diabetes, talk with your doctor about ingesting almond oil.
Using almond oil topically can affect certain types of medications, especially those that are delivered through a dermal patch.
The use of almond oil on the skin can enhance the absorption rate for some medications, which could cause problems with your dosage or lead to side effects (33).
If you are using almond oil on your skin regularly, talk with your doctor about potential interactions for all medications, even those that are inhaled or sprayed through nasal passages.
Finally, almond oil has a high concentration of manganese, which your body needs, but only in small amounts.
Long-term use of almond oil could lead to manganese buildup in your system.
This mineral concentration can interfere with certain medications, especially blood pressure drugs and antipsychotics.
If you are concerned, ask your doctor about testing your manganese levels or whether your medicines may be affected by almond oil use (34).
Almonds have been used in traditional medicine for centuries because even the earliest people could see that this seed had many benefits for our bodies.
While traditional healing used almonds and their oil to treat dry skin conditions, we now know that the power of almond oil extends beyond the exterior of our bodies.
Almond oil has many benefits to our health, including improving the skin, protecting us from sun damage and reducing the appearance of stretch marks.
More importantly, however, almond oil can help to improve our heart health, lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels and even help prevent diseases, such as colon cancer.
This powerful yet tasty food is the perfect addition to your diet.
It is high in healthy fats and antioxidants, it tastes great and it can be used in a variety of ways in your kitchen, as well as your beauty regimen.
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