Those who know me well, know I am absolutely obsessed with raw nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and berries! In fact, I always keep pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and a variety of nuts in the house, and pack them in my bag daily for easy work snacks. And don't get me started on airport food - it's just the worst! I'm on an airplane every weekend for work, so eating healthy can be challenging. This is why bringing my own snacks has become a habit, in my book.
Almonds are one of the most easily accessible type of nuts - you can find raw almonds in any local grocery store, at gas stations, and convenience stores, but don't let that fool you - they are a super-food! Almonds contain Vitamins B2, E, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Manganese, and Copper. Most importantly, a ¼ cup serving contains 49% of your recommended daily allowance of biotin! What's Biotin? Biotin, is also known as B7, is vital for the proper functioning of the nervous system and musculature and in maintaining cellular processes like growth, metabolism and energy. It is frequently referred to as the "beauty vitamin" because of its restoring properties on the skin. When we lack Biotin, our skin is the first to show the signs of deficiency. According to the Dermal Institute, these are the symptoms of B7 deficiency:
- Red, scaly rash around the nose, mouth and eyes.
- Thinning hair, sometimes with shedding and loss of pigment (graying hair).
- Possible depression, fatigue, hallucinations.
- Tingling sensations in the arms and legs.
- Muscle cramps after exercise.
- Possible high cholesterol and heart problems.
- Cradle cap, a type of seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp, head and eyebrows. In babies, crusty yellowish-whitish patches appear in these areas and may or may not be itchy.
- Increased risk for developing other health issues
Sounds like we want to keep healthy, and avoid any skin problems like this, right? I bet you didn't know this, but you can incorporate almonds into both your meals, and your skincare routine. I will show you 4 ways to do this, today!
1. Incorporate Almonds Into Your Diet
Don't be confused by uneducated people telling you that consuming nuts will make you gain weight. Numerous studies have shown that incorporating unsaturated fats (such as nuts and avocado) actually helps stabilize weight.
A 28-month study involving 8,865 adult men and women in Spain, found that participants who ate nuts at least two times per week were 31% less likely to gain weight than participants who never ate nuts. Among the participants who gained weight, those who never ate nuts gained an average of 424g more than those who ate nuts at least twice a week.
A serving of almonds has 162 calories, 14 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and 6 grams of protein. Remember, one serving of almonds is 23 almonds, which equals 1 ounce, ¼ cup or about 1 handful. Portion control is key. I also highly encourage you to stay away from processed nuts - I, personally, avoid any roasted, salted, flavored nuts at all costs. The best way to eat them is to sprout them.
Sprouting or soaking nuts removes the outer shell, which contains phytic acid. Phytic acid is a naturally occurring botanical substance, it a strong chelator to the most essential minerals such as zinc, calcium, and iron. Whenever you consume nuts with phytic acid present (with the shell on, essentially), those nutrients will be removed, and not used by your body as they were intended to. When you soak and sprout the almonds, not only will you remove the outer shell, and the physic acid, but you will also increase the amount of active enzymes in the nuts - making it more easily digestible for those who experience stomach issues during digestion.
2. Use An Almond Scrub
Have you heard about microbeads? If not, I'd like to educate you on these little plastic culprits, and make sure you stay away from face and body scrubs which list them as an active ingredient. Microbeads are tiny round plastic beads that are found in some exfoliating products, and they are causing quite a stir in the environmental world. The plastic waste caused by these microbeads, which are not filtered out during sewage treatment, is damaging water ecosystems and killing marine life.
A 2013 research at the University of Wisconsin-Superior showed that there were 1,500 to 1.7 million plastic particles per square mile in the Great Lakes! Not only are the beads damaging to fish, they are also bad for your face - microbeads can cause eye irritation, and promote rosacea and couperose. It’s no wonder that Illinois was the first state to ban the use of microbeads in June of 2014, and I sincerely hope all other states will quickly follow.
Instead of using these plastic beads, I suggest natural options like scrubs with ground up almonds, seeds and stone pits from apricots/peaches, crushed walnut husks, oats, coffee grinds, salt, and sugar. I especially recommend sugar for those dealing with eczema since it’s non irritating on broken skin, and sea salt for psoriasis sufferers, but not more than once a week. All other scrubs can be used 3 times a week, but not more - our skin needs adequate time to amass dry dead cells, and you definitely don’t want to over-exfoliate!
3. Use Almond Oil as A Body Moisturizer
Did you know that different vegetable oils rank differently against each other when it comes to how much they clog the pores? Oils rank from 0-5, a 0 being least comedogenic, and 5 as most comedogenic. ("Comedogenic" means tending to cause blackheads by blocking the pores of the skin.) Almond oil is an amazing 2 (moderately low) while Coconut oil is a high 4, rendering it a bad choice for skincare. Almond oil can be used as a hair moisturizer, a body moisturizer, and a wonderful massage oil.
4. Use Almond Milk as An Activator For Powder Masks
Who says you can't play with your food? I love the idea of incorporating almonds in every step of the beauty routine. Almond milk is gentle and soothing on the skin, which makes it a perfect activator for powder enzyme masks. Simply mix the powder with a bit of warm almond milk, and apply to the face for 7-10 minutes. The result is a bright, supple completion! Using this mask helps to pull out oils, exfoliate, and reduce the appearance of sun damage, wrinkles, cellulite and even stretch marks. It's perfect for blemished skin, blackheads and even cystic acne, and excellent for soothing skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, rashes, psoriasis, and acne.
Did you like these cool suggestions? I had a blast putting these ideas on paper for you, and I hope I inspired you to start something healthy today!