SPONSORED FEATUREIf there has been one major trend in 2015, then it's the trend of 'beauty from within'. Superfoods, supplements and beauty drinks have never been more popular, as we look to enrich and boost the effects of that expensive face cream with a little something from Mother Nature. Research indicates that consuming natural antioxidants from foods may have significant beauty benefits, working from the inside to help nourish and protect skin*. At the same time, more and more beauty products are harnessing the natural, nutritious benefits from ingredients including berries, almonds and greens; it seems we understand the positive impact eating right can have on our bodies, so we're turning to the same sources to look after our skin too. But rather than overcomplicating and diluting the potential impact, why not turn to a simple and easy approach to wellbeing? Eating a handful of almonds on a daily basis will not only keep your waistline in check this New Year, but offer up a whole host of skincare benefits too.
Almonds are incredibly versatile and the snacking combinations are endless; nibbling on a few instead of that chocolate bar is a much healthier alternative, while crushing a handful and sprinkling over yogurt, salads or soups will give any meal a little boost. Just a handful (approximately 28g or 23 almonds) of these nutritious nuts is all you need to up your daily nutrient intake, so having a packet on your desk is a great way to form a new habit. It apparently takes only three weeks for a new habit to stick, so try integrating almonds into your daily regime for 21 days and see how much of a difference it could make to you! I'm a big advocate of superfoods, nuts and pulses; one of my favourite things to make is this super healthy 'chocolate nutty balls' recipe that involves lots of goodness (i.e. almonds!) and no rubbish, all blended up to create a tasty treat that's much better for you than a lump of actual chocolate. Similarly, steeping almonds overnight to create my own almond milk is fun and healthy - plus you can add the leftovers into your muesli. (There are loads of other recipe suggestions here, including spiced almonds and energy bars.) My cupboards are full of nuts for a reason!
So what about the nutritional benefits of these little bundles of tastiness? Almonds are an excellent source of the skin-loving antioxidant Vitamin E, with each serving providing 65% percent of your recommended daily intake. Almonds are also a naturally rich source of protein (the building block of both our skin and hair) and zinc; this mineral is essential for maintaining healthy skin, as well as protecting our bodies from oxidative stress (which speeds up the ageing process.) Not only are they also rich in fibre and magnesium (a mineral involved in more than 300 bodily processes,) but up to 15% of an almond’s calories are not absorbed by the body because the fat is too difficult to break down - bonus. Almonds are also thought to help reduce hunger by keeping you fuller for longer, making them a perfect treat to start integrating into your routine come January.
As someone who already had a stash of almonds in my kitchen to use in snack bars, granola, curries and more, I'm delighted to fully understand the nutritional power these nuts contain. It makes total sense to make a concerted effort to add a handful into your day - whether that's as a snack (just pop them in a little tub and chuck it in your bag for when you're feeling peckish,) within a specific recipe or sprinkled over your breakfast. What's even better is that you can use these food powerhouses within your beauty routine too! For a light, rejuvenating and moisturising face mask, just mix a tablespoon of almond oil with honey and lemon juice and apply directly to skin to help heal dry, flaky skin. To make a homemade exfoliating scrub, soak a handful of almonds overnight in a mixture of milk and rose water; grind the mixture in a food processor to the size of rough sand particles, strain and rub gently on the face. Almond oil also works brilliantly as a deep conditioner: apply it throughout the hair from roots to ends, leave on for twenty minutes before washing and styling as usual. Who needs fancy pants formulas when you can rely on Mother Nature?
Have we converted you into an almond addict? Will you be reaping the benefits this new year?
You can buy California Almonds in supermarkets and health food stores; just look for "from California/USA" on the back of the packet. Check out California Almonds on Facebook for tips, recipes and further info on the benefits of almonds in your diet.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of California Almonds; however, all opinions are my own.
*Myriam, R. et al. 2006. Skin bioavailability of dietary vitamin E, carotenoids, polyphenols, vitamin C, zinc and selenium.
British J of Nutr; 96(2):227-238.
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