As the natural food and oil industry continues to become more popular, so has almond oil. Almond oil has several uses–the first being as a substitute for olive oil. It is also used by massage therapists as it is a considered an effective emollient. It is a mild oil, rich in essential fats and fatty acids that are easily absorbed into the skin. It is also used to make skin care products as it is very high in omega-3. Finally, some use almond oil as a conditioner for wood and certain woodwind instruments such as the oboe.
Where Does It Originate?
Almond oil comes from the dried kernel of the almond plant. It is actually warm-pressed, which gives it its oil-like consistency. The sweet in the sweet almond oil comes from the plant named amygdalus communis–as opposed to the bitter type of poisonous almond, which comes from a different plant.
As a Massage Oil
Probably the most popular use of almond oil is as a massage oil. It can be purchased at the cosmetics counter or in specialty natural products stores. Because of its sweet smell, many massage therapist like to use this oil as it also provides an aromatherapy benefit. In addition, it is full of vitamins such as A, E, B1, B2 and B6, so it has a softening and nourishing effect on the skin.
Dues to the fact that it leaves skin so soft, almond oil also is used in cosmetic applications such as face creams and scrubs. It absorbs into the skin without leaving a greasy layer, which is proffered by most skin care experts. It is also often added to soap for the same reason, as it does not have a drying effect.
Cooking With Almond Oil
It has become quite popular to cook with almond oil as it is cholesterol free and can be used just like olive oil–for stir-fry cooking or as a substitute in some recipes. Many recommend using it as a finishing oil, added just before a meal is served. It is also popular in baked items such as carrot cake, cookies and spiced muffins.
Almond oil is also very beneficial to those with a variety of health issues and dietary restrictions. It is often recommended for those on a gluten-free diet and with wheat allergies. The fact that it is rich in mono-saturated fats, makes it a good fat for lowering LDL cholesterol.
Buying Almond Oil
When purchasing almond oil, be sure to look for virgin cold-pressed products as you would for olive oil. When an oil is cold-pressed it preserves the delicate oil and organic compounds that would otherwise diminish over heat. By buying a virgin product you are ensuring that it was from the first pressing, and thus is higher in nutrients.
How to Store It
In terms of keeping almond oil fresh, it is best to store it in a cool, dry place. Because of its high vitamin E content, it can go bad if exposed to heat.