It is a vegetable oil extracted from the fruits of almonds (almond seeds), and there are two types of it: sweet almond oil and bitter almond oil, which differ from each other in terms of components, properties and uses:
Sweet almond oil:
It has a non-pungent smell and a light yellow color, and is extracted from almond trees that are characterized by white flowers, and in which almond fruits are usually more elongated, it is widely used in cosmetic uses, such as hair and skin care, because it contains important vitamins and minerals and a high source It is rich in vitamin E, as well as an important source of magnesium, calcium and fatty acids.
Bitter almond oil:
we get it from almond trees whose flowers are pink, and whose almond fruits are shorter and more rounded. It is a concentrated oil, and despite its medicinal properties, it may contain some toxic substances, especially if not properly processed, and is not widely available for use.
Almond oil in particular, and almond fruits in general, have many benefits that many overlooks, as some believe that the benefits of almond oil are limited to its cosmetic uses and for skin and hair care. In this article, we will learn about almond oil, how to extract it, it’s known types, and its multiple advantages and benefits
Physical properties of almond oil:
|Specific Density (15° – 25°)||0.913 – 0.916|
|Refractive Index 40°||1.463 – 1.466|
|The Iodine Number||93 – 106|
|Saponification Number||188 – 197|
Composition of fatty acids in almond oil:
|Myristic acid C14:0||1|
|Palmitic acid C16:0||4.5|
|Stearic Acid C18:0||–|
|Oleic Acid C18:1||77|
|Linoleic Acid C18:2||17|
Almond seeds contain about 50% oil
It is one of the trees of the Mediterranean basin. It is a small deciduous tree with a height of 3-4 meters. It is of the genus of peach of the pink family. It is also cultivated in many places around the world, including North African countries, Spain, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The almond tree has pink-colored flowers that bloom at the beginning of spring before the leaves appear, and when these flowers are pollinated, each one of them turns into a fruit that grows inside a soft and thin crust that later turns into a dry woody crust when the inner fruit, which is the almond grain intended here, matures. The almond fruit is a woody seed when it dries, and the fruit may sometimes contain two seeds. Most of the world’s production today is from the United States, followed by Spain and Morocco.
Almond trees produce two types of fruits, sweet fruits and bitter fruits. Almond oil is extracted from both types. Sweet almonds are considered a special food, the fruits of which can be eaten after lifting the woody shell that envelops it. It can also be eaten fresh in the spring with its green peel at the beginning of its maturity and before its peel becomes hardened, and the fruits and peel in that period are rich in cellulose. As for the fruits of bitter almonds, it is advised not to eat them, and only use their oil and after consulting a nutritionist as well.
Almonds nutritional value
Almond fruits contain in their compound’s elements of high nutritional value, which have given them distinctive therapeutic and health properties. The following are the compounds, elements and minerals that are available in almonds: – (carbohydrates, starch, sugar, lactose, dietary fiber, total protein, fats, saturated fats, water Protein, Vitamin A, Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vit. B3), Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid, Choline, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid Salt (Vitamin B9), Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc.)
Extracting oil from almond fruits
Refined almond oil can be obtained from the fruits of almonds, using high heat treatment and chemicals, this method negatively affects the nutritional value of the oil, as many of the nutrients present in raw almond oil are destroyed during high heat treatment or chemical processing, while these result Method Less nutritious oil, refined almond oil can withstand much higher temperatures and is less expensive than the unrefined type, making it a more cost-effective option for consumers.
To obtain unrefined almond oil, raw almonds are squeezed without the use of high heat or chemical agents. This (low-temperature) process helps almond oil retain much of its nutritional content, making unrefined almond oil a better choice for culinary uses, and because its benefits are worth trying, the steps to obtain unrefined almond oil can be summarized with tools available in every home: –
Before starting the steps, the sweet almonds should be selected fresh (seasonal production) and not roasted.
- Pour one and a half cups of boiling water over a cup of sweet almonds in a jar, and close the jar well.
- Leave the almonds soaked for 2-3 days, the water must be replaced with a clean and boiled one during that period,
- After the period has elapsed, the almonds have been well soaked, drained of water.
- Then the almonds are laid out well under the sun in a tray for two days, until they are completely dry.
- The completely dry almonds are placed in a blender, then chopped more than once, and then kneaded by hand using a clean cloth.
- Finally, to extract the pure almond oil, the dough is filtered to get rid of the sediment using a narrow-slit strainer, or using a piece of gauze.
- The oil is ready for use. It must be stored in an airtight container, so that it retains its nutritional values.
The health benefits of sweet almond oil:
When we talk about the benefits of almond oil, we are mostly talking about sweet almond oil, as the fruits of sweet almonds help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels and help in weight loss. And almond oil may be good for your health, too.
Almond oil is associated with a wide range of potential health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, stabilizing blood sugar levels and aiding in weight loss. Here are some of the health benefits of sweet almond oil:-
Maintaining a healthy heart: Almond oil is made up of 70% monounsaturated fats, and monounsaturated fats have been shown to increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. HDL is a type of protein that transports cholesterol away from the arteries and transports it to the liver, where it is broken down and excreted from the body. Healthy levels of HDL cholesterol have been shown to help protect against heart disease.
- It has also been proven that both almonds and almond oil reduce levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.
- Adding almond oil to your diet may help keep your blood sugar stable. Peanut oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, both of which have been shown to help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. In one study, participants who ate breakfast with added almond oil had lower blood sugar levels, both after the meal and throughout the day, compared to participants who didn’t eat almond oil.
- It may help lose weight when paired with a low-calorie diet. It has been proven that a diet containing a healthy amount of whole almonds helps people lose excess weight. Similarly, adding almond oil to your diet may help you lose fat.
- It contains vitamin D, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium, making it important in strengthening bones, especially in children.
Benefits of sweet almond oil, for cosmetic and personal care uses:
Almond oil (unrefined) is a popular ingredient in natural beauty products. Especially those concerned with skin and hair care.
- Moisturizing properties, which means that it helps prevent water loss from the skin.
These properties give almond oil an excellent quality to maintain skin and hair. This feature is especially beneficial for those with dry sensitive skin.
- Because it contains vitamin E, sweet almond oil is used to lighten the body in general and unify the color of the skin, as it helps to remove dark spots from them, get rid of the effects of sunburn and pigmentation, and reduce redness of the skin.
Furthermore, sweet almond oil (unrefined) may help prevent the spread of stretch marks.
- In some studies of 160 women, it was found that topical application of Aloevera and sweet almond oil creams reduce the itching of striae and prevent their progression. (1)
- It reduces the risk of heart disease due to the presence of unsaturated amino acids in it, which helps regulate blood pressure and maintain a normal cholesterol level.
Benefits of bitter almond oil
Despite the possibility of containing toxic substances, the benefits of bitter almond oil cannot be denied, as it is used to reduce the fever that affects the body. It is also used to kill stomach worms, by drinking a small amount of it (a specialist should be consulted). It reduces the incidence of cancer by slowing the growth of malignant cancer cells,
In addition to being one of the best types of oils used for diuresis.
Warnings when using or ingesting almond oil
The use of natural oils is beneficial to the body, but excessive consumption has its disadvantages; Therefore, the use or consumption of oils should be moderate and deliberate, and it is also preferable to consult a nutritionist before using any oil.
When using oils, whether for health or cosmetic reasons, one should beware of the following:
- Make sure that you are consuming sweet almond oil; Because bitter almond oil is poisonous.
- It is preferable not to take it if your meals contain large proportions of magnesium.
- Almond oil contains vitamin E, so eating it in excess leads to its accumulation in a large proportion, which leads to diarrhea, blurred vision, dizziness, and general weakness.
- Do not use it if you are allergic to almond oil.