The Almond tree was initially grown in parts of western Asia and of North Africa and also cultivated in all the countries bordering the Mediterranean. The almond has a green covering when growing, and looks a lot like an unripe apricot. When fully ripe, the green covering dries and splits, and the almond drops out. It has a brownish seed coat and is fibrous in nature. The almond which we call a nut is actually the seed of the fruit of the almond tree. It is one of the most nutritious natural food known to man and has amazing health benefits. The presence of manganese, copper, and riboflavin in almonds helps in energy production and metabolic rate. A handful of almonds can fill you with energy and get you going through the day.
Botanical name – Prunus dulcis, Amygdalus communis
Hindi – Badam
Common Name – Almonds, Sweet Almonds
Health Benefits of Almonds
Almonds are an excellent source of manganese and vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, which protects our cells from damage and helps to maintain a healthy heart and blood vessels. Just a small handful of almonds (30g) provides over half of the daily vitamin E requirements. Almonds are also low in sugar, gluten-free and are a low GI food. The outer brown skin may sometimes cause irritation of the alimentary canal. To avoid this, almonds are sometimes blanched, and the skin is removed. They should be properly chewed to increase absorption and digestion. Almonds are a good source of magnesium, potassium, and protein. They are also low in sodium which may help lower blood pressure. The antioxidants in almond skins and the vitamin E in almonds work together to make a powerful antioxidant.
Almonds Health Benefits for the Heart
Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats may help lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, which means that a diet with enough monounsaturated fat will help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Research also shows that this type of fat may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which is helpful in type 2 diabetes. This type of fat is the same type of fats that are found in olive oil, which has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Almonds also contain phytosterols, which are plant compounds that help support heart health.
Eating nuts reduces the risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack. Nuts also improve the health of the lining of your arteries. Almonds help reduce the presence and impact of C-reactive proteins which cause artery-damaging inflammation. Click here for more Almonds are also a great source of folic acid. They help to reduce the level of homocysteine, which causes fatty plaque buildup in arteries. Evidence shows that low blood levels of folic acid are linked with a higher risk of fatal coronary heart disease and stroke. The flavonoids in the skin of almonds combine with Vitamin E to form a powerful shield against artery wall damage.
Take 4-5 almonds and soak them overnight. Peel off the skin and eat them in the morning on an empty stomach.
Almonds Health Benefits for Weight Loss
The mono-unsaturated fat and dietary fibre in almonds give a feeling of being full, satisfies appetite and prevent over-eating. A very small amount of almonds can achieve this. Studies show that a diet rich in almonds and low in calories is good for obese people and helps them in losing weight. Studies have also shown that people who eat almonds at least twice a week are more likely to remain at their ideal weight, rather than those who rarely or never consume almonds and suffer from weight fluctuations. The fibre in the almond helps to have an easy bowel movement, which helps to lose weight and eliminate toxins.
Alomonds Health Benefits for the Skin
Almond oil is a great skin moisturizer. It nourishes the skin and keeps it soft and supple. It helps soothe inflammation of the skin as well as skin irritations, burns, and rashes. Almond oil helps to cure chapped lips. It has emollient (A preparation that softens the skin. ) properties, which is why it is able to rejuvenate and soften the skin. It helps to even out the skin tone and improves complexion. Almond oil is said to reduce scarring that occurs with surgery and could be considered as a possible post-operative treatment. Applying almond oil to your skin protects you from the sun’s harmful rays and slows down the skin’s aging process.
Almonds remedy for hyperpigmentation
Take a tsp of almond paste. Add a tsp of milk and mix well. Apply on the face and neck and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse after 10 minutes. You can do this around 3 times a week to reduce hyperpigmentation.
Almond remedy for glowing skin
Take a tsp of almond paste or powder. Add a tsp of honey to it as required. Mix well. Apply on the face and neck and let it sit for 10 minutes and then rinse your face and neck. Do this 2-3 times a week for glowing skin.
Remove dark circles
Take a few drops of almond oil and massage it around your eyes gently in a circular motion every day to remove dark circles around your eyes. You should apply it at night preferably so that you can leave it on overnight.
Almonds health benefits for the hair
Almond oil is rich in vitamin E which when applied to your scalp can make your hair smooth and healthy. It nourishes your hair. Regular massage of Almond oil increases the bloodflow to the scalp and hair follicles, thus improving the strength of the hair and promoting natural hair growth.
Take the required amount of almond oil and massage it well into your scalp. Leave it overnight for maximum benefits, or at least for 30 minutes minimum. Wash with a mild shampoo
Almonds Health Benefits for the Brain
Almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, which is said to help in ADHD. Riboflavin plays an important role in the production of energy for the brain. People can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by including almonds in their diet because they have a positive effect on neural activity. Studies have shown that almonds don an important role in the health and functioning of the nervous system. Two or three soaked almonds (soaked overnight) and consumed in the morning are said to provide energy for the brain.
There are sweet almonds and bitter almonds. Sweet almonds are what we generally eat and add to food, or eat raw. Bitter Almonds are the bitter form of almonds, which contain a toxic amount of prussic acid, which when further refined changes into a poison called cyanide. Consuming a handful of unprocessed, raw ones can lead to death from this poison. Bitter almonds have commercial importance as they are used for producing almond oil, perfume, and cosmetics.
The best way to incorporate almonds for the brain, heart, skin and hair would be to soak a few (4-5) almonds overnight, peel the skin in the morning and eat it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. You can eat up to 6-8 almonds a day.
Almond butter is said to be good for the brain and liver. The best way to use almonds is to have them in the form of butter. It is very easily assimilated and digested, especially in the case of older people who are in need of protein in their diet.
How to make almond butter? Making almond butter at home is very easy. View the video below to know more
Almond milk is rich in vitamins. It has certain advantages over dairy milk, as it is more easily digested and is useful for children who cannot take the normal milk, as it is gluten-free. Almond milk can be prepared by soaking the almonds and removing the skin. Then grind the almonds to a smooth paste. Add boiled and cooled water to it, to bring it to the consistency of milk. Add sugar and drink it. This can also be converted to curd.
Almond Oil Health Benefits
Sweet almond oil is a clear, pale yellow, odourless liquid, with a bland, nutty taste. It is similar in composition to Olive Oil. Sweet almond oil is beneficial for the skin and hair. It is used for aromatherapy and as a massage oil as well.
Home remedies with Almond Oil
Remedies for the skin
- When applied on the hands, it softens the skin and cleanses it. It is a good home remedy for chapped hands.
- The newly pressed out oil of Sweet Almonds, helps cure aches and pains in the body and is effective for pleurisy and colic.
- Almond oil moisturizes and cleans the skin. It helps get rid of pimples and spots.
- Sweet almond oil is an excellent massage oil that relieves stress and nourishes the skin.
- The almond and its oil are used as a healing agent for the skin. When applied to the skin, it heals chapping and itching.
- Apply almond oil on the skin in case of inflammation. It cools and eases the pain.
- Other Remedies
- An emulsion of almonds is useful for hoarseness, tickling cough and bronchial disease. Powder the nuts and mix it with orange or lemon juice and eat it.
- Blanch the almonds and grind it. Make an emulsion with barley-water, This emulsion is of great use in the case of stone, gravel, strangury and other disorders of the kidneys, bladder and biliary ducts.
- Unsweetened almond milk can be used if you are attempting to lose weight.
- Make a paste of almonds with milk cream and fresh rose bud’s paste. Apply this paste daily over the face. It softens and bleaches the skin and nourishes it. This is an effective home remedy for dryness of skin, pimples and black heads.
- For hair fall, take a tsp of almond oil, and mix it with a tsp of amla juice. Massage this on the scalp. This is a home remedy for dandruff and greying of hair too.
- Almonds are very good laxatives. 10 – 15 almonds taken at night will help to get rid of constipation.
Caution: Almonds contain oxalates, and since excess oxalate causes crystallization, it may not be good for people with kidney and gallbladder problems.