The oils you stock in your pantry fill a variety of cooking needs. Whether you are sautéing onions in olive oil or adding almond oil to cookies, oil is an indispensable kitchen staple. Olive and nut oils are versatile and neutral, making them a common choice for everyday use. However you use oil in your kitchen, you likely understand its importance and feel its absence when you run out.
What you may not realize are the amazing health benefits some of these oils have. Almond oil, in particular, packs a collection of health benefits when incorporated into your diet and beauty routine. If you have yet to try almond oil, there are quite a few reasons to consider switching.
What Is Almond Oil?
As its name suggests, almond oil is extracted from almond nuts. The characteristics of an almond oil vary depending on the way it is extracted, processed and the type of almonds used.
Almond Oil Extraction
There are two common methods used to make almond oil: chemical extraction or expeller pressed. Though chemical extraction produces the highest oil yield, it does so at the sacrifice of the almond oil's taste, quality and nutrients. Expeller-pressed methods produce higher quality products because they allow the oils to maintain their physical and chemical properties better. As a consumer, choosing an expeller-pressed oil can help ensure you are making the most of the nutritional and quality benefits available.
Making an expeller-pressed almond oil involves the following steps:
- In cast-iron kettles, almonds are thoroughly ground and roasted to the desired temperature.
- The almonds are then fed through the expeller and lightly filtered, making a warm paste.
- The paste is then placed in a press to extract the oil.
- The resulting oil is filtered and poured into containers.
- The leftover nut cake is sold and used by bakers or turned into cattle feed, reducing waste.
Almond Oil Processing
After extraction, some almond oils undergo additional processing to make them "refined." These steps utilize high temperatures, high pressures, chemicals and deodorization measures to give the almond oil several advantages, including the following:
- The oil is tasteless.
- The oil has a higher smoke point than unrefined oils.
- The oil maintains its nutrient content.
Unrefined oils, like a roasted almond oil, do not undergo these processing steps. As a result, they maintain lower smoke points and more full-bodied flavors. Both refined and unrefined almond oil can be beneficial for health applications depending on the taste and smoke point you need.
Sweet vs. Bitter Almond Oil
It is important to note that almond oils made for consumption are considered sweet almond oils. A type of oil known as bitter almond oil can be made from a different type of almond. Bitter almond oil is sometimes used in soap and massage therapy, but it has toxic properties when ingested. All of the almond oil benefits we describe are based on sweet almond oil.
Health Benefits of Almond Oil
Almond oil offers health benefits, both internally with a healthy diet and externally with a topical beauty routine. Whether you cook with almond oil or use it on your hair and skin, here are some the benefits you may see:
1. Increased Heart Health
Your heart works hard to spread oxygen and nutrients throughout your body via your bloodstream. The condition of your heart directly impacts how efficiently your body functions, which makes heart health a high-stakes topic. Fortunately, consuming almond oil has been linked to increased heart health.
The driving factor between this connection is monounsaturated fats. Some types of fats — like saturated and trans fat — negatively impact your overall health. However, monounsaturated fat is considered a good fat that positively influences your health in moderate quantities. A majority of the fat in almond oil is monounsaturated fat, meaning it is better for your heart than other cooking alternatives. In fact, 1 serving size (1Tbsp.) of Almond oil provides 10g of monounsaturated fat.
Studies have shown that in a healthy diet, substituting carbs with monounsaturated fats can lower blood pressure, improve lipid levels and reduce your risk of cardiovascular issues. Monounsaturated fats can also decrease harmful LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol. These almond oil benefits contribute to a healthy heart when paired with a healthy lifestyle.
2. Good Source of Vitamin E
Your body needs a variety of vitamins and minerals to carry out daily tasks, including vitamin E, which refers to a group of fat-soluble compounds with antioxidant properties. As an antioxidant, vitamin E helps to protect your cells on the molecular level by fighting "free radicals."
Free radical molecules cause damage to cells and may contribute to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Antioxidants stop free radicals from inflicting this damage, which may help prevent or delay chronic diseases. In addition, antioxidants like vitamin E support immune function.
Vitamin E is essential to help your body function well, and almond oil is a great way to add it to your diet. In fact, just one tablespoon of almond oil contains 27 percent of your recommended daily vitamin E intake. When you utilize almond oil in your cooking, you can help protect and nourish your body with powerful vitamin E.
3. Blood Sugar Control
The term "blood sugar" refers to the glucose in your bloodstream that helps supply energy to your cells. Keeping your blood sugar levels in check is crucial to help your body function well and to prevent your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Healthy blood sugar levels are especially important for individuals with diabetes.
Studies show that the monounsaturated fats in almond oil can help stabilize blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. Making simple diet changes like adding almond oil to your cooking, can help keep your blood sugar stable and healthy.
4. Healthy Weight Maintenance
When it comes to weight loss, it seems counterintuitive to add fats to your diet. While it is true that a diet high in unhealthy fats is linked to weight gain, healthy fats have the opposite effect. One study showed that a diet high in monounsaturated fats promotes benefits in weight loss and body composition.
Monounsaturated fats like those in almond oil support several important functions, including:
- Providing energy for your body.
- Providing crucial fatty acids your body cannot make on its own.
- Building cell walls.
- Helping your body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K.
- Insulating your body and protecting your organs.
Weight loss is multifaceted, and diet changes alone often are not as effective. However, substituting almond oil for other saturated and trans fats in your diet can play a part in overall weight loss, weight maintenance and wellness.
5. Moisturizing Properties
When applied to the skin, almond oil has emollient properties. These properties allow almond oil to soften and smooth skin over time. Accordingly, many bath oil, lipstick and skin cleansing products include almond oil to help moisturize your skin. Using products with almond oil as an ingredient or applying the oil directly to your skin can support smooth and supple skin.
Because of its moisturizing properties, almond oil has also been used to treat dry skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis for centuries. Common topical treatments for these conditions include steroid creams, which have concerning long-term side effects. Many have turned to almond oil as a natural supplemental solution. The fatty acids in almond oil help to repair the skin's natural barrier, lock in more moisture and reduce irritation. Regardless of your skin type, incorporating almond oil into your skin routine can help increase moisture and improve your skin's appearance.
Here are some simple ways to use almond oil for your skin:
- Sweet almond oil scrub: Combine two tablespoons of sweet almond oil with one tablespoon of white sugar to make a quick and simple exfoliating scrub. To use, massage the scrub into your skin with some warm water and rinse.
- Sweet almond massage oil: Mix sweet almond oil with a few drops of lavender essential oil and massage into the skin.
- Sweet almond lotion boost: To enhance your lotion's moisturizing properties, add a few drops of almond oil to the bottle and use normally.
- Sweet almond under-eye treatment: Gently massage a few drops of sweet almond oil underneath your eyes to help soften and moisturize the area.
6. Increased Hair Health
Using almond oil for your hair provides advantages for both hair appearance and hair health. When incorporated into a shampoo, almond oil helps give hair a natural sheen. At a cellular level, almond oil works to fill gaps in your hair, which contributes to smoother and softer hair over time.
Though scientific studies have not confirmed that you can use almond oil for hair growth, it may still help your hair grow longer and stronger. Nut oils like almond oil help to lubricate your hair and protect it from breakage or split ends. In addition to this, the Mayo Clinic reports your diet and vitamin intake are major contributing factors to healthy hair.
Consuming almond oil and incorporating it into your hair care can provide several of the necessary ingredients for hair growth. In more ways than one, almond oil can help you set yourself up for healthy hair growth success.
7. Sun Damage and Aging Prevention
When you enjoy time outdoors under the sun, your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays. Prolonged exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause damage to your cell's DNA and lead to skin damage or skin cancer.
Some of the other concerning effects of UV radiation include:
- Immune changes
- Impaired wound healing
The combination of these effects adds up to accelerated skin aging. According to one study, UV rays may account for up to 80 percent of visible aging. This includes skin dryness, wrinkling and impaired pigmentation. Clearly, UV rays pose a dangerous threat to your skin. Applying sunscreen is one way to fight against these rays, but you can also use almond oil.
Studies have shown that topical almond oil application can help prevent skin damage caused by UV radiation and help slow the aging process. Almond oil can help protect your cells by reducing DNA damage from UV rays and prevent the chemical and structural changes they can make. Applying almond oil to your face and body in tandem with sunscreen can help prevent sun damage and premature aging to keep your skin looking its best.
8. Stretch Mark Prevention
Stretch marks are a natural part of life. When your body experiences rapid periods of growth — like that in pregnancy — the abrupt change can cause your skin's collagen and elastin to rupture. As the skin heals, stretch marks can form and leave scars.
Almond oil can aid with stretch marks in more than one way. Studies have shown that almond oil can both prevent stretch marks in pregnant women as well as reduce itching experienced from stretch marks. Applying almond oil topically can help improve your skin's elasticity and keep it well-hydrated. This can be especially helpful in preventing stretch marks during the rapid growth in the later trimesters of pregnancy.
Though no treatment can fully prevent stretch marks, almond oil can provide vital moisture to help your skin adapt through major changes.
9. Help With Earwax Removal
Earwax plays a vital role in protecting your ears and keeping them clean. However, some older individuals or younger children may experience earwax build-up beyond what is normal. If left untreated, excess build-up can mute hearing by 10 decibels. Though this may not seem like much, the difference between a quiet whisper and a normal conversation is a mere 20 decibels.
Almond oil can be a safe and simple solution to help remove excess earwax build-up. Warm up a few drops of almond oil to help soften earwax and dislodge it from the ear.
10. Acne Benefits
Acne can be frustrating and difficult to treat. While numerous acne-specific products exist, every individual's acne responds to different treatments. This is because acne is rooted in a variety of interrelated factors.
One of the factors behind acne is inflammation. Inflammatory molecules appear at all stages of an acne lesion's development. In addition, the redness and soreness associated with most acne lesions comes from inflammation. Another factor that may be linked to acne is vitamin deficiency. A lack of antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E can impair skin's ability to fight inflammation.
While there are other influential factors behind acne, almond oil is equipped to fight both inflammation and vitamin deficiency. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may help reduce inflammation, boost antioxidant levels and address scarring. Using almond oil for acne may provide a natural remedy to help calm and smooth your skin.
Find Exceptional Quality With La Tourangelle Artisan Oils
Incorporating almond oil into your diet and beauty regime can provide numerous health benefits. When it comes to maximizing benefits, not all almond oils are the same. The production process used and ingredient quality can make all the difference.
La Tourangelle takes care to find and use the highest quality ingredients and processes wherever possible. Our expeller-pressed oils are produced completely naturally, with no added chemicals. We care about sourcing quality, non-GMO ingredients for all of our oils and committing to healthy and sustainable business partnerships.
Whether you use your oil for cooking or beauty, you can trust that every La Tourangelle's artisan oil is created with care. For an all-around versatile oil, try our sweet almond oil. To cook with a bolder almond flavor, try our roasted almond oil. If you are looking for authentic, delicious and healthy artisan oils, look no further than La Tourangelle's collection of high-quality products. Shop our full line today or contact us for more information.