The hum­ble al­mond has pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dant and mois­tur­is­ing prop­er­ties. By Suzanne Wang­mann

Sunday Mail - Body and Soul - - BEAUTY -

In the Vic­to­rian era, ladies pinned a sprig of al­mond blos­som to their blouse to rep­re­sent hope. In China, the al­mond is a sym­bol of both beauty and sad­ness. In cos­met­ics, al­monds mean beau­ti­ful skin.

Al­mond oil is one of the most com­monly used nat­u­ral oils in the cos­met­ics world be­cause it is sus­tain­able (the oil comes from the nuts, so the tree is not dam­aged to ob­tain it) and ev­ery nut con­tains a com­bi­na­tion of two es­sen­tial fatty acids, which help to cre­ate healthy, sup­ple skin. Al­monds are also packed with an­tiox­i­dants, in­clud­ing vi­ta­min E and a va­ri­ety of pro­tec­tive plant chem­i­cals.

Al­mond oil is ideal for use in cos­met­ics be­cause it is very light. 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.

You can buy sweet al­mond oil from phar­ma­cies or health-food stores. Cos­metic com­pa­nies have also found hun­dreds of uses for this ver­sa­tile nut, from skin­cleans­ing pastes to mas­cara.

What is in an al­mond?

+ An­tiox­i­dants: When plants are left out in the el­e­ments, they have to pro­tect them­selves, so they pro­duce phe­nols, pro­tec­tive chem­i­cals that serve as an­tiox­i­dants to re­pair sun dam­age or pro­duce a bit­ter taste to dis­suade bugs from eat­ing them. These plant phe­nols also help pro­tect peo­ple against dis­eases in­clud­ing heart disease and cer­tain can­cers. They also of­fer pro­tec­tion when ap­plied to skin. + Omega-3 fatty acids: In the diet, omega-3 acids help reg­u­late blood sug­ars, re­duce blood pres­sure, help re­duce body fat, main­tain mus­cle mass, sup­port the im­mune sys­tem and in­crease en­ergy lev­els and skin ra­di­ance.

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