You will find thousands of old wives’ tales about almonds in India as they are considered magical ingredients in restoring vitality and beauty. Grandmom would insist that they be soaked overnight and softened, then ground into almond paste on the sides of a terracotta pot – this paste could be eaten, applied on the skin or mixed into milk for a nightcap. Even today, these delectable nuts are urged as important food during pregnancy as they are believed to ensure the unborn child’s fair complexion!
The reason these recipes have persevered for thousands of years is that they actually do work – that’s because almonds are tremendously rich in calcium and minerals, which make them extremely nourishing. Almond oil and paste literally ‘feeds’ the skin, smoothening and softening it without leaving a greasy residue. They are especially high in calcium, besides being rich in minerals, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. And the mono-unsaturated fat in almonds helps to lower cholesterol, especially 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 on is therefore more vital in terms of beauty than peeled almonds, though the latter may be much yummier!
Almond oil and paste literally ‘feeds’ the skin, smoothening and softening it without leaving a greasy residue
Even if one were not to go to the extreme lengths of the almond paste on the side of a pot, this ancient belief in almonds is something we can 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 for facial skin. Buy a small bottle and simply alternate with your regular night cream.
- Eating almonds on an empty stomach helps the body to absorb the calcium they contain, leading to strong and glossy nails.
- To make a potent deep cleansing face mask, soak a half 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 rubbed 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 it off 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.
Pure almond oil is a great moisturiser for facial skin. Buy a small bottle and simply alternate with your night cream