Almond

The almond (Prunus dulcis, syn. Prunus amygdalus) is a species of tree native to Mediterranean climate regions of the Middle East, from Syria and Turkey to India and Pakistan, although it has been introduced elsewhere.

Almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree. Within the genus Prunus, it is classified with the peach in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by corrugations on the shell (endocarp) surrounding the seed.

The fruit of the almond is a drupe, consisting of an outer hull and a hard shell with the seed, which is not a true nut, inside. Shelling almonds refers to removing the shell to reveal the seed. Almonds are sold shelled or unshelled. Blanched almonds are shelled almonds that have been treated with hot water to soften the seedcoat, which is then removed to reveal the white embryo.

The almond is a deciduous tree, growing 4–10 m (13–33 ft) in height, with a trunk of up to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter. The young twigs are green at first, becoming purplish where exposed to sunlight, then grey in their second year. The leaves are 8–13 cm (3–5 in) long, with a serrated margin and a 2.5 cm (1 in) petiole. The flowers are white to pale pink, 3–5 cm (1–2 in) diameter with five petals, produced singly or in pairs and appearing before the leaves in early spring. Almond grows best in Mediterranean climates with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The optimal temperature for their growth is between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F) and the tree buds have a chilling requirement of 300 to 600 hours below 7.2 °C (45.0 °F) to break dormancy.

Almonds begin bearing an economic crop in the third year after planting. Trees reach full bearing five to six years after planting. The fruit matures in the autumn, 7–8 months after flowering.

History

The almond is native to the Mediterranean climate region of the Middle East, from Syria and Turkey eastward to Pakistan and India. It was spread by humans in ancient times along the shores of the Mediterranean into northern Africa and southern Europe, and more recently transported to other parts of the world, notably California, United States. The wild form of domesticated almond grows in parts of the Levant.

Selection of the sweet type from the many bitter types in the wild marked the beginning of almond domestication. It is unclear as to which wild ancestor of the almond created the domesticated species. The species Prunus fenzliana may be the most likely wild ancestor of the almond in part because it is native of Armenia and western Azerbaijan where it was apparently domesticated. Wild almond species were grown by early farmers, “at first unintentionally in the garbage heaps, and later intentionally in their orchards”.

Almonds were one of the earliest domesticated fruit trees due to “the ability of the grower to raise attractive almonds from seed. Thus, in spite of the fact that this plant does not lend itself to propagation from suckers or from cuttings, it could have been domesticated even before the introduction of grafting”. Domesticated almonds appear in the Early Bronze Age (3000–2000 BC) such as the archaeological sites of Numeria (Jordan), or possibly earlier. Another well-known archaeological example of the almond is the fruit found in Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt (c. 1325 BC), probably imported from the Levant. Of the European countries that the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh reported as cultivating almonds, Germany is the northernmost, though the domesticated form can be found as far north as Iceland.

Nutrition Facts of Almond

39 Amazing Benefits

  1. Lower Your Cholesterol

Almonds are a good resource of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which facilitate in lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol. Eating almonds as part of our regular diet can help raise HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, levels. According to a research done by David Jenkins MD, people who consumed a handful of almonds every day lowered their bad cholesterol level by 4.4%, and those who ate two handfuls every day reduced their bad cholesterol by 9.4%.

  1. Prevent Cancer

The fiber present in almonds helps in detoxifying the body. It enables food to move through the digestive system more efficiently. This process cleanses the digestive system. The National Cancer Institute has released a study stating that high-fiber diets lower the risk of colon cancer. Therefore, almonds can be listed under foods that prevent colon cancer as they have high fiber content. Almonds are also an excellent reserve of vitamin E, Phytochemicals, and flavonoids, which controls the progression of breast cancer cells.

  1. Protect Against Diabetes

Almonds have a stumpy glycemic index (GI). Studies demonstrate that almonds have the ability to decrease the after-meal escalation in blood sugar. Therefore, they assist in stabilizing blood sugar levels and offer protection from diabetes.

  1. Boost Your Energy

Almonds are rich in manganese, riboflavin, and copper, all of which aid in manufacturing energy. If you are always on the go, try making your own almond energy bar, and take your power source with you.

  1. Prevent Birth Defects

Almonds contain folic acid, a confirmed defense against birth defects. Folic acid plays a big function in healthy cell growth and tissue configuration, and therefore, it is very important for the healthy growth of the fetus. Women who intake folic acid – by eating almonds – during their pregnancies are likely to give birth to babies without NTDs (Neural tube defects).

  1. Improve Your Brain Power

Scientific readings for almond benefits showed that they contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, nutrients that help in the growth of the brain cells. Almonds also contain phenylalanine, a brain-boosting chemical that aids our cognitive functions. Ayurveda advises having five almonds soaked in water first thing in the morning every day for maximum brain strength.

  1. Strengthen Bones And Teeth

Almonds are a good source of micronutrients such as calcium and phosphorus, which avert osteoporosis and strengthen our bones and teeth. Almonds also provide other nutrients that improve bone mineral density and strengthen the skeletal system.

  1. Remedy For Anemia

Anemia is caused when red blood cells carry less quantities of oxygen. Almonds contain copper, iron and vitamins, which work as a catalyst in the synthesizing of hemoglobin. Therefore, almonds can be used as a preventive measure for anemia.

  1. Weight Maintenance

The calorie filled almond butter does not contribute to weight gain. On the contrary, it contributed to weight loss as the healthy fiber and high protein helped to make the stomach feel full. There is even a suggestion that these calories may not be absorbed and cannot turn into extra pounds. However, the fullness from eating almond butter, combined with its nutritional profile, was found to make people consume less unhealthy food later in the day.

  1. Heart Healthy Protein

Those looking to put on muscle mass can choose almond butter as it is a healthy source of proteins. The unsaturated fat in almond butter lowers cholesterol and helps keep heart disease at bay. A healthy adult should consume at least 25% of their daily calories from fat, and a heart-healthy fat with protein is the best path to take.

  1. Nerves And Muscles

The magnesium present in almond butter offers a host of benefits to the nervous system and muscle contraction, as the mineral plays a role in both functions. It also contributes to healthy metabolism and bone tissue. This is something that peanut butter cannot offer.

  1. Antioxidants

This is another advantage that almond butter has over peanut butter. Almond butter, with its Vitamin E, has significant antioxidant properties that protect the tissues from oxidative damage. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals. A single spoon of almond butter will take care of nearly 30% of your daily Vitamin E requirement.

  1. Increase Digestion And Metabolism

Almond milk contains secret traces of fiber. fiber is known for its digestion-enhancing benefits. Thus, almond milk eases the problem of indigestion largely. Increased digestion flushes unwanted and unhealthy toxins out of the human body system. This further increases the metabolic rate of the human body.

  1. Increase Physical Alertness

Almond milk is rich in muscle building proteins. Proteins improve muscle health by repairing damaged ligaments and tissues. Thus, it is also a very valuable and nutritional drink for athletes. Improved muscle health reduces body fatigue to a large extent. Thus, almond milk increases the physical alertness of human body.

  1. Increases Mental Alertness

Almond milk is rich in potassium. Potassium is one of the minerals that constitute electrolytes in the human body. These electrolytes are charges that boost memory. Thus, almond milk is a natural way to sharpen your memory.

  1. Reduce Fever

If you are suffering from high body temperature, then applying bitter almond oil essentials on the body can decrease the temperature quite a bit. The reason? Bitter almond is said to contain alkaline elements that have toxicity in them. This nature puts an obstacle in front of the fungus, viruses or bacteria to spread out fever in a human body. But the deeper reason has not been discovered so far.

  1. As An Anesthetic

When it comes to a minor stitching on your skin or plucking tooth, bitter almond oil can be used as an anesthetic compound. The toxic component called glycoside amygdalin, which is present in essential bitter almond oil, has the capacity to turn the nerves insensitive temporarily so that you will be numb to the sense of pain. But, it must also be noted that you can use bitter almond oil as an anesthetic compound only externally. Consuming it internally can bring upon a gamut of health hazards.

  1. Natural Detoxifier

Detoxification is a crucial process, especially if you have recently gone through a binge-eating and partying phase. These events will definitely lead to a toxic formation in your body at an excessive rate, thus leading to a dwindling mood, stress, dull skin, lackluster hair and so on. As stated above, the toxic compounds of bitter almond oil will relieve your inner system from toxins. So, injecting bitter almond oil in a small dosage can bring greater results.

  1. Heal Specific Cancer Types

The existence of hydrogen cyanide in bitter almond oil is said to have healing properties in specific cancer types. This fact has been published recently in a medical study. Though in-depth research is still the call of the hour in this area, but there is no doubt that it has added another laurel to the cap of bitter almond oil.

So get started with almonds and add them to your daily diet – as a snack, in a refining smoothie, or in your baking. You can also substitute your regular milk with almond milk and flour with almond flour and enjoy the immense benefits. We’ve all heard that almonds have lots of beautifying qualities and nutritional benefits. But, what can they do to improve our skin? Very few people are aware of its skin enhancing benefits. We hope that learning more about it will encourage you to apply it regularly as a part of your beauty regimen and consume it as a part of your diet.

  1. Skin Care

Have you ever used almond oil for skin? Almond oil is a brilliant moisturizer as it contains olein glyceride linoleic acid. It works to prevent acne, blackheads, as well as arid and prickly skin. It also provides vitamin E needed for healthy skin. It helps to bring a glow to your skin and also acts as a mild disinfectant for wounds. It is also used as a massage oil for growing children to aid in their muscle growth.

  1. Protect Skin From Sun Exposure

Almonds contain ample amount of vitamin E, which is labeled as a skin-friendly nutrient. Foods rich in vitamin E act as a shield against sun exposure and minimize skin damage. Almond milk can be used to effectively treat sun burns and other skin problems.

  1. Aromatherapy Massage Oil

The oil extracted from almonds is also used as an aromatherapy oil for massaging the body. Almond oil is suitable for all skin types as it gets easily absorbed into the skin and gives off a wonderful and calming aroma. It nourishes the skin and makes it healthy from within.

  1. Natural Moisturizer

Almond is considered as a natural moisturizer and can easily give chemical laden moisturizers and serums a run for its money. Cleanse your face thoroughly and apply a few drops of oil to your face. Massage your skin in upward strokes including the eye area. Applying it daily will result in smoother and softer skin. Almond oil does not have a greasy effect and gets quickly absorbed into the skin. It also does not clog the pores.

  1. Treat Acne, Blackheads, & Whiteheads

Skin problems like acne, blackhead and whiteheads are often caused by dirt and oil trapped in the pores of the skin. The essential fatty acids found in almonds control the amount of oil secreted by the sebaceous glands and prevent breakouts. When applied regularly, you will definitely notice a reduction in your acne. Almond oil applied on skin soothes inflammation and reduces rashes.

  1. Reduce Dark Circles & Puffy Eyes

Almond oil and paste are very effective for treating under eye dark circles. Soak almonds in water and grind it to make a smooth paste. Apply it around the eyes and leave it overnight. Almond’s moisturizing properties will soften the pesky line and reduce dark circles and puffy eyes. This will surely work better than your readymade eye creams.

  1. Age-Defying Nature

Almond is believed to have age-defying properties. Massaging face with almond oil fights the signs of aging to keep the skin supple and youthful. Make a face mask by combining honey, almond oil and lemon juice in equal quantities. Use this simple face mask twice a week to reduce wrinkles and revitalize your skin.

  1. Clear Skin From Impurities

Exfoliation is very essential to maintain a proper skin care regime. You can use almonds to make an amazing exfoliating scrub. Grind soaked almond and add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of yogurt to it. Use this as an exfoliator to massage your skin. This will make the skin even toned and will clear the skin of the impurities.

  1. Remove Makeup & Reduce Eye Wrinkles

Almond oil works as a natural makeup remover. Pour a few drops of almond oil on a cotton pad and swipe it gently across the face and eyes to remove your makeup. It also works as an excellent eye wrinkle serum.

  1. Treat Stretch Marks

The emollient qualities of almond oil make it very effective for treating stretch marks. It strengthens and nourishes the skin by creating a natural resistance to tearing. Heat the oil slightly and apply it on the stretch marks. Massage the area using your hands in a circular motion for a few minutes. Apply it twice a day to observe optimum benefits.

  1. Rich In Antioxidants

Almonds are rich in antioxidants and protective plant chemicals that are artificially added to several hand creams. Apply almond paste or almond oil to moisturize hands, nails and cuticles.

Therefore, both almond paste and almond oil are amazing natural skin and hair care products. Start applying on your face and hair to notice the difference.

  1. Strengthen & Nourish Hair

Almonds contain hair-friendly nutrients like polyunsaturated and mono fatty acids as well as vitamin A, D, B1, B2, and B6. These nutrients penetrate into the hair strands and make the hair healthy and beautiful. The combination of fatty acids and fats in almond softens, strengthens and nourishes the hair.

  1. Promote Hair Growth

Almonds contain high amount of magnesium, which is an essential mineral for having healthy strands. Deficiency in magnesium is often linked to hair loss; therefore, consuming magnesium through almonds not only helps to maintain proper functioning of the body but also enables hair growth.

  1. Treat Dandruff

Suffering from dandruff problem? Mix almond oil and neem oil in equal quantities and massage it onto your scalp. Leave it overnight and then wash it off the next morning to get rid of dandruff. Almond oil nourishes and moisturizes the scalp to remove flakiness, while neem oil’s antibacterial properties treat dandruff and inflammation.

  1. Reduce Hairfall

Massage your scalp with almond oil mixed with rosemary and lavender essential oils to reduce hair fall. Apply a few drops of oil on the roots of the hair and massage your scalp in circular motions. Leave it on for 2 hours and then shampoo as usual.

  1. For Thick & Long Hair

Combine 3 tablespoons of almond oil with 2 tablespoons of castor oil and 1 hibiscus flower. Heat it for a while and leave it aside to let it cool. Massage your scalp with it for 10 minutes. Wrap your head with a towel and allow it to sit for an hour. Then wash it off with shampoo, and condition your hair. Apply this every week to get thick and long hair

  1. To Control Frizzy Hair

Take a few drops of almond oil and apply it lightly over the hair. Vitamin E in almond oil conditions the hair follicles and smoothes uncontrollable frizz without making the hair greasy.

  1. For Soft & Silky Hair

To get silky soft hair, mix henna powder with water, an egg and 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil and leave it overnight. Apply it on the hair and leave it on for 4 hours. Wash it off and dry your hair. This will make your hair soft and silky and give it a red tint.

  1. Treat Scalp Inflammation

Regular exposure to dust, heat, pollution and application of hair styling products like hair gel and styling tools takes a toll on our hair, leaving it damaged and brittle. Almond oil penetrates deep into the hair shaft and softens scalp tissue to treat scalp inflammation.

  1. Prevents Graying Of Hair

Almond oil is also very useful in treating all kinds of hair troubles. It helps to curb hair fall and dandruff and prevents graying of hair. It makes your hair silky and shiny too.