You will find thousands of old wives’ tales about the beauty benefits of almonds. I have, personally, grown up on almonds soaked overnight, then made into almond paste by rubbing them on the sides of a terracotta pot. This paste could be eaten, applied on the skin or mixed into milk for a nightcap. Usually, we did all three things in the course of a single day. For a reason. And the reason is that these almond-based recipes have persevered for thousands of years because they actually do work – a fact that science has also proven time and again.
To begin with, almonds are tremendously rich in calcium and minerals, which make them extremely nourishing. Almond oil and paste literally ‘feed’ the skin, smoothening and softening it without leaving a greasy residue. Plus, they contain hefty doses of mono-unsaturated fat, which helps lower the bad cholesterol (LDL). Even the brown peel of this nut is considered valuable as it possesses anti-oxidant properties… eating almonds with the peel is, therefore, far more nutritious than peeled almonds, though the latter may be much yummier!
Today, hardly any of us has time to make almond paste the ancient way. However, this ancient belief in almonds is something we can easily adapt to modern lifestyles. Here are some ways in which you can make these delicious nuts work for you.
- Pure almond oil is a great moisturiser. It’s also ideal for skincare as it’s extremely light and won’t clog your pores. You can wipe it over eyes to remove make-up without leaving an oil slick behind or massage it into skin as a moisturiser without it leaving a greasy residue. Buy a small bottle and simply alternate with your regular night cream.
- Eating almonds on an empty stomach helps the body to absorb their calcium, leading to strong and glossy nails.
- To make a potent deep cleansing face mask, soak half a cup of almonds overnight and next morning rub them on a clear, rough surface moistened with a little water. This will create a creamy paste that should be applied on the face and left to dry thoroughly (you can add a pinch of saffron to the paste for an added glow). When it is dry, rub in gentle circular motions with damp fingertips. This will not only remove all the dirt and dry skin but also leave you soft and sweet smelling.
- To strengthen hair and prevent slit ends, massage almond oil directly into the scalp and strands; leave it for about 20 minutes then wash. Your hair will emerge looking shiny, silky and healthy.