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The benefits of almonds are the reason why the soaked and peeled nuts were pushed into our palms every morning when we were kids. Its zinc content makes it a superfood for brain development. And when applied topically—whether it’s in the form of oil, paste or extracts—it is an elixir for skin and hair. We looked up all the benefits of almonds to tell you why they deserve a spot in your daily intake.
Benefits of almonds and almond oil for hair
Almonds are rich in fatty acids and help considerably in improving the tensile strength and texture of the hair. “Medical research has proven that the application of almond extracts before undergoing any chemical hair treatment is beneficial, as it restricts the penetration of the chemicals to the inner shaft of the strand, thereby minimising lasting damage,” states Dr Satish Bhatia, Mumbai-based celebrity dermatologist and cutaneous surgeon. “A lesser permeability of products into the hair fibre increases the overall lustre of your tresses. Even otherwise, almond oil for hair is great if you looking to improve shine and strengthen roots, for both treated and virgin strands.”
Almonds are also rich in magnesium, which in turn is an essential mineral responsible for hair health. That’s why patients suffering from hair loss are recommended almond oil supplements. Almond oil is a thicker oil, making it a popular choice when it comes to hair blends.
Minash Bablani, director of Ellement Co, a line of natural, chemical-free beauty products, swears by the benefits of almonds when it comes to hair. “It is one of the most fortifying base oils. Application on the scalp keeps hair stronger from the roots, leading to lesser hair fall and a sleek, healthy shine. In our range, we add Vitamin E to increase its efficacy further,” she says.
Almond oil benefits for skin
The almond nut, which grows protected in a soft and green velvet shell, is renowned for its ability to soften and smoothen the skin. Almond oil is recommended for extremely dry skin conditions like atopic eczema, while bitter almond oil is proven to be superbly effective in reducing pregnancy-induced stretch marks.
“When used on the face, it reduces the formation of wrinkles and slows down the photo-ageing process, thus leading to lesser sun spots and pigmentation,” adds Dr Bhatia. The fact that it is an excellent lubricant and possesses exfoliating benefits at the same time, justifies its presence in many skincare ranges. International brands such as L’Occitane, Bobbi Brown, Burt’s Bees and Laura Mercier, as well as homegrown ones like Forest Essentials, Kama Ayurveda and Just Herbs utilise the benefits of almonds and have it as their hero ingredient often.
Benefits of almonds for your health
“Almonds contain Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA), which help to improve insulin sensitivity and cholesterol,” informs Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, founder and medical director at ISAAC.
“Almonds are rich in fibre and antioxidants that help an individual fight skin cancer, and eliminate the harmful effects of stress on the body.” Almonds are not only rich in Vitamin E, but are also enriched with riboflavin and trace minerals such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, copper, selenium and iron. To derive maximum benefits, it’s recommended to have a handful of these nuts every day. “Around 23 almonds is a good serving size. Ideally, you can have ten as a mid-morning snack and another ten in the evening. However, if you are watching your weight, limit this number to around 12 a day to manage your calorie intake. It’s great for those looking to lose weight as it gives a feeling of satiety,” suggests Dr Gupta.
Experts unanimously vouch for peeled and soaked almonds. Soaked almonds release enzymes that are beneficial for digestion. Nutrition consultant Sangeeta Khanna explains, “Small ones, called the gulbandi badam, are therapeutic according to Ayurveda, and were used to make the strengthening doodh badam. The popular California ones have great taste and texture. Almond powdered with nutmeg and pepper is also good for headaches. And pound them together with some dates to make truffle balls along with cacao nibs to help lower blood pressure.”
Khanna leaves us with a magic detox recipe. “Almonds soaked with raisins are good for cleansing the system, and toning up the internal organs.”
Besides the benefits, this nut also comes with a word of caution. Overdosage of supplements or an excess consumption of almonds can cause side effects like dizziness, nausea and headaches. It can also cause trouble in the gall bladder and with kidney patients due to crystallisation, warns Dr Gupta.